It was 5:17 am when we landed in Arland International Airport (AIA). Contrary to my expectation, Arland appeared to be a small, beautiful and well managed airport. The only difference between Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) is that AIA is well managed. In rest of the qualities that I have mentioned above, Kathmandu surpasses Uppsala i.e. Kathmandu is beautiful than Uppsala when it comes to natural beauty.
One of the things that I like the most about AIA is its security system. In AIA, there were very few cops ‘present’ inside the airport and most importantly, our luggage was not checked. It has two implications, basically. One, they don’t worry a lot about terrorism and have faith in their abilities to check terrorist activities even inside the country. Two, they respect peoples a lot and probably, they don’t think that all the people who travel are terrorist. Airport security in India, Nepal and in Qatar, to some extent, appears so frightening that even people like me who have no wrong intentions fell afraid of it. The frightening feeling comes from the attitude of the officials in the airport when they either don’t greet us properly, say, with a smile or when they speak rudely to us when we commit some mistake, say, when it takes some time for us to produce some document as and when they demand it. Incase of TIA, non-importance to time is also one more additional ‘frightening’ aspect. For example, there was no official to check our passport and boarding pass even when we were already being late for the flight. When inquired about him, one of the officials explained that he had gone for dinner, even when it was not even 8 pm. Even if it was his dinner time, how can one leave his work for his dinner even without mentioning anything about his absence? We had to wait more than 1 hour to pass that ‘hurdle’. However, in case of AIA, there were around 150 passengers queuing while we reached the immigration. All of them were cleared within 20 minutes. Such high efficiency seen in AIA surely has a lot of reasons behind it. High-tech system, well managed airport, well trained officials, etc are some of the reasons. However, I my view, there is one more reason which is probably more influential than most of the reasons stated earlier. The officials in AIA were a lot younger than that of TIA. Since TIA is one of the most lucrative places for earning extra money through corruption, the officials in TIA looked like they are they have waited for long time to get an entry in TIA. Anyway, there were not efficient!!
In Uppsala, from the student contact office (also called student nation) we had to go find our hotel ourselves. We knew that our hotel named Hotel Uppsala is in Kungsgatan27. To find the place we were staying; I, Kamal and Leo started talking to peoples we find in the street. By now, we had a new friend with us. Leo is from Hongkong and has come to Uppsala as an exchange student, like us. But, he is not paid. He has to manage his whole stay by himself. The only thing that makes him an exchange student is the scholarship that he has received for his education. Not many people we found in the street knew about Uppsala. We simply continued walking according to the gut feeling of Kamal. Finally, a man, who was drunk, helped us find the way named Kungsgatan27 on which we found our hotel. In between, Kamal’s bag stared tearing apart. First, the bag lost its wheel, than the handle came out. By the time we reached our room nothing except a ‘bag’ was left. Kamal had a hard time carrying it on his shoulders and he was complaining about the weight time and again; and even today, he is doing the same. Moreover, it also looked strange and some locals were looking at the way Kamal was carrying his back.
In the hotel we paid our deposit, 600 each. At first, the guy in the reception was asking SEK 2800 from both of us including the rent of August but we had to ask for some more time to pay the rent because we didn’t have that much amount of money with us.
Room; it is beautiful. It has maple floor. Both Kamal and I are on the same big room. The room has been dived into two. We have our own cupboards, tables, bookcase, table lamps, room heater, etc. The kitchen is in the part where Kamal is staying. It has oven, heater, fridge, cases, etc and seems well equipped. We have thought of cooking food on our own. Everything is very expensive in here and we can’t go to restaurant for daily food. We were in a supermarket yesterday where 350 gm of tomatoes cost Rs. 350. So, we have thought of living moderately. However, because of different plug-in system, the head cost me Rs. 1200. That’s too much of money for a small head that will help me charge my mobile and computer.
Yesterday, we were very tired because of jet-lag and also because we had to walk around the city to find our hotel. So, we slept around 5 pm thinking to wake up after few hours for dinner. But, when my eyes opened it was already 4 in the morning. One of the wired thing about this part of the world is that, it looks like mid-day even when it’s already evening. Sun is not a good indictor to determine day and night here.
Today I woke up early and took a shower. We have both - hot and cold water facilities. I am sure, I will exploit the water and electricity facilities in the hotel. We are thinking of touring the University today and meet with peoples in international office and student nation. Hope everything goes well.
25th August, 2013