When I finally got to the counter, I told the agent I’d lost my ticket.
“What’s your name?” he asked, bored.
I told him, and he handed me my original boarding pass. Someone must have found it and turned it in.
“Try and hold on to it this time,” he told me without inflection.
I took it without further comment.
I was out of excuses. Nepal was back on.
[This is a chapter from my travel book. There are lots more chapters posted on the blog, but if you’d prefer to read them all at once, sign up for my e-mail newsletter and I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re available in a condensed form!]
With my ticket woes resolved, it suddenly occurred to me that I was ravenously hungry. I had eaten on the plane ride to Delhi, but the last real meal I’d had was a bowl of Pho in Hong Kong, the night before Holly and I stayed up all night wondering about our future. Boarding pass firmly clenched in my fist, I wandered up to the food court, where I was greeted with a most welcome sight.
A Domino’s Pizza!
Anyone who’s traveled knows the feeling of homesickness. Anyone’s who’s traveled for an extended period of time knows the odd feeling of experiencing homesickness for something totally ordinary— or maybe even feeling nostalgic for something you hate.
I’d been craving Domino’s Pizza for the past two months. Although we ate our way through Taipei, the city of food, dumplings just aren’t comfort food for me. Pizza is. And the buttery, garlic crust of Domino’s Pizza in particular had been calling my name for a while. Taipei has Pizza Huts (which sell some truly abominable creations), but I had yet to see a Domino’s in five months of travel. Which explains why I felt elated to find one in the Delhi airport.
Something, finally, was going right.
I walked up to the abandoned counter. I had to make a little noise and do some waving to get the attention of the clerk, who was hanging out in the back kitchen. Surly, he came out and took my order for a personal pan pizza. I handed him a $20 bill, and he gave me back 200 rupees (about $3). I looked at the two measly bills, Ghandi’s face smiling up at me. I knew I had been shortchanged. It made me angry. I looked up at the clerk, who met my questioning glance with a perfectly impassive mask. I thought about arguing, but quickly realized I didn’t have it in me. I took my receipt and walked away.
I examined it closely: he had shortchanged me. I should have gotten 400 rupees back, if not more.
Been in India for two hours, already been ripped off, I thought to myself. How stereotypical.
I chuckled, and sent that message to my friend Vinay, back home. His family is straight from India, but Vinay’s about as American as they come. Still, I thought he might get a laugh out of it. Plus, I could really have used a friend. Being that it was the middle of the night in Colorado, he didn’t answer. India is 12 hours removed from Colorado— I was literally on the other side of the world; about as far as I could get from home.
When the pizza finally came, it was terrible. Nothing at all like home.