Peering out of the international terminal window, I gaped at the colossal Boeing-747 plane standing in front of me, with not just one floor but two floors of seats. All buzzed up in excitement, I bombarded my father with questions about my first real trip to India. I say my first real trip because the first time I had been there was when I was an infant, probably being passed around and adored by countless relatives. "When are we leaving? When will we get there? Where are we staying?" I pestered my father, which got the usual response of "I'll tell you in a bit." This was the mark of my first summer vacation as a teenager, and what better place to go than to Madras, India to visit my relatives and catch a glimpse of a staggering large and different culture? I did not know what to expect traveling to my parent's home country but I knew it would be an experience that would be hard to forget. What really stood out in my mind were the overpopulation and the poverty levels.
As we boarded the plane the Lufthansa flight I was struck with the hard to miss smell of an airplane which, surprisingly, as a kid I thoroughly enjoyed. The first leg of the trip was to Frankfurt, Germany, and then we connected to a flight to Madras, India, the latter plane flight taking thirteen of the twenty-four hours of flying. As we prepared for landing I felt like I had traveled to the other side of the world, and I truly did figuratively and literally. Nearly the second my foot stopped out of the plane into to the gate I was suffocating. The temperature had to be at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and what made it worse was the humidity. I literally had sweated off a pound by the time we reached the excruciatingly long immigration and customs line. This line was so crowded that it would probably be more fitting to refer to it as an enormous glob of people rather than a line. What made it frightening was that my brother and I nearly lost sight of my parents numerous times.... [continues]
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