Honestly, it actually felt a little bit strange to be back at home after the first three world cups being so closely packed together on consecutive weekends, three countries, two continents and not many days between them! Well, I say 'home', I was at least in my home country. Anyway, after being back for just less than a week I was totally ready for more travelling ...
When we actually got round to packing the car with our baggage to head Manchester airport I felt really excited to be going to the next round of the world cup. It felt a bit unusual, that is was only Shauna and myself travelling, we've had Mark with us at every round so far and generally one or two other team members.
Arriving at the airport, the excitement grew even more. "I AM GOING TO INDIA!". It was a 'pinch myself' moment, I had only just come back from Tokyo and China. This was travelling at it's craziest. Everything was going smoothly, we were at the airport in good time, then things started to go wrong.
We went to check in only to be told that we didn't have the correct paperwork ... to cut a long story short, we would not be flying to India. Or at least not that day anyway. Nightmare. Our connecting flight to Mumbai was at London Heathrow so we decided to fly that leg of the trip at least. In our minds we would be one step closer to India.
Travelling with Shauna is easy for me. Apart from us both having a few quirks when we're tired, cold, needing a wee or hungry, we're both laid back and are good at travelling together. I can imagine some people going into total meltdown mode when they are told that they can't travel ... especially when there is so much at stake with the world cup only a few days ahead of us. Shauna stayed positive the whole time we were waiting for correct paperwork to come through. Personally, I opted for a more pragmatic approach, accepting that there was a high chance that we wouldn't make it to India at all. We had less than 24 hours for the correct paperwork to arrive, for the tickets to be rebooked and for us to get to India in time for registration at the competition. We were going to need a bit of luck for everything to fall into place how we needed it to.
Stepping out of the airport in India was like walking into a brick wall of heat and humidity, like no other I've felt before. I've travelled in the far east quite a few times now, Thailand, Vietnam, China, ... I always thought China was the worst you could get for heat and humidity. This ... ? It was on another level. I could actually feel the moisture condensing on my skin and by the time we got in the air-conditioned taxi, I was almost shivering from the cold air blasting over my sweat. Pretty grim, huh?!
So now all we had to do was get to our hotel and that meant a taxi drive. Shauna had manage to use one of her contacts to arrange us a car and so that part was easy. Prior to leaving for India I had been warned by several people that the poverty, especially around the city, was heartbreakingly severe. I prepared myself before we travelled and did my best to get in to the mindset of being there to compete, game face, as it were.
My first impressions are that this country is really beautiful and seems to be full of cultural gems. I would love to discover more about it's personality, identity and people. It's another one to add to the list with Japan! It's a shame that this is not the time. We are here for a grand total of 3 nights before flying back to Europe for the Innsbruck round of the World Cup! I have included some snapshots of what we have seen so far in the slideshow at the bottom.
I'll do my best to post some more thoughts and feelings from the trip between now and Innsbruck, but right now I have got some climbing to do. Wish me luck ... I am so psyched to see what this round of the World Cup has in store for us. LC x