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Airports and more airports…

Airports and more airports…

And finally the time has come to take off. After the last few days full of goodbyes, emotions (and a great joy thanks to the Pozuelo Initiative Awards and the offer from the Madrid Science Park, not only is it a recognition of the work I have dedicated body and soul to in the last few months but it will be a huge push for Tumaini to become a reality), I cross the boarding gate with all my feelings in a cocktail shaker. On the one hand, it will be the first time that I travel for so long alone and it is something that imposes me but on the other hand, the desire overcomes any fear I may have, desire to face something I have always wanted to do and desire to begin to shape Tumaini, really shape it, walking around the places, looking for collaborations, visiting the projects, chatting with the coordinators and beneficiaries, exchanging cultures and above all learning a little bit more every day.

Flights are surprisingly good for me, they don't lose my backpack, there are no delays, I am able to catch all the connections... despite the fact that the Indians insist on putting a thousand obstacles in my way. I have never seen so many controls in an airport in my life! You go through one after another checkpoints that check exactly the same thing, I have gone through up to 3 checkpoints only a few minutes apart and only a few metres apart: they check your backpack, they frisk you... it is incomprehensible and incoherent and above all very frustrating if you are just in time because they take it with real parsimony. So here's my first piece of advice: if you have to make a stopover at an Indian airport and change terminals, allow at least 3 hours between flights. 

From Mumbai International Airport to the domestic airport there is a free shuttle bus that runs between all terminals.
From Delhi International Airport to the domestic airport (also called Palam) you need to leave the airport and take bus 10 or 18 which costs 25INR. It is important to know that if you want to change money you have to do it in the International Terminal. Also if you want to buy a SIM card (in case you have an unlocked mobile phone), a highly recommended option if you are going to make a few calls, they cost very little (about 150 INR and calls at 1INR per minute) but to buy one they ask you to provide a criminal record report. To get the card you have to bring: a photocopy of your passport, a photocopy of your visa, a photo and the full details of a contact (in India) who can verify your identity. Once everything is processed and the person confirms your verification you have to call a pre-determined number and they do a short interrogation, if everything is ok then they activate your card. I got it after almost 5-6 days although the normal period is 2-3 days.

Dharamsala can be reached in four ways but obviously the fastest way is by plane (or rather light aircraft). Gaggal airport is about 20km from McLeod Ganj and the taxi fare is Rs 700.

Here I will visit a project that works with Tibetan refugees, giving them the necessary tools for their empowerment.

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