We left Heathrow at 9 pm flying overnight with British Airways to Mumbai where we were to change planes for the flight to Goa. India was five and a half hours ahead of the UK and it was already mid morning when we touched down in a hot Mumbai.
We were in possession of a visitors’ visas but the immigration process still took far too long. Each passenger had to be photographed and then their finger prints scanned – the four fingers of one hand, then the other and then the two thumbs. More often than not, one of the three scans failed to register and the whole process had to be restarted. We must have been at the desk for fifteen minutes before they finally gave up trying to record Tony’s sausage fingers and we were finally waved through Passport Control.
We took the airport transfer bus from the international airport to the domestic terminal ten minutes drive away. The domestic airport was not air conditioned and was extremely busy – and our flight to Goa was delayed; so we found a crowded bar and had a couple of beers.
It was a short 45 minute flight to Goa where we were met by a handsome young man holding a board with our names on. We were soon heading towards our hotel, the Taj Exotica in the quieter south of the country. It was dark by the time we arrived forty minutes later. We were shown to comfortable seats in the huge foyer from where the reception staff carried out the check in procedure. We were given cool hand towels, a fruit cocktail, a flower and a necklace of tiny shells before we were whisked away to our room.