The job was finished and feeling emotionally drained with our intense three day exposure to some of the world’s worst poverty and living conditions we had to leave the relative luxury of our hotel at 5 am to get to the airport for the flight home.
The new airport is impressive by the standards of any large modern flight hub and belies the disorder and state of the public areas of the city we were leaving.
Getting to the airport was the easy bit. Getting into the terminal was not quite so easy.
In these days of electronic tickets and paperless travel the police guards at the doors of the terminal building would not let anyone in until they showed both their passport and either a flight ticket or a piece of paper that had the flight details on it.
The sergeant at the door I was trying to go through would not accept the details on iPhone he wanted a hard copy and was most insistent that I was not going to get in.
Ian was having a similar problem at the other door. His policeman was a little more accepting of the details on his Blackberry.
As he had all our flight details to show we all congregated and went through that door.
The next hurdle to clear was the carnet stamping. It had been a breeze on the way in. Would it be as easy on the way out?
We had to get all our stuff checked in at the BA desk, but not sent down to the aircraft.
One of the nice ladies at the check in area then came with us to the customs office to check that it was ok to load the bags and boxes.
The process of explaining the carnet to the check in people and the possibility that customs might want to look at the equipment so it could not be sent straight down the belt took a little time and patience on all our parts.
I think that both the good humour and courtesy that Glenn and I extended paid off.
We asked for aisle seats but were told there were none available.
Would one window and an aisle be acceptable if we were upgraded to World Traveller Plus?
We gratefully accepted.
It had been two good results for me on the upgrade front getting bumped up on the way out and on the way back.
Feeling quite chuffed that we now had big seats but a little bit guilty that Ian and Grainne were still stuck up the back we headed to customs.
The outgoing stamping took a bit longer than the incoming process.
The customs officer was giving a couple of rather cowed looking baggage handlers a bit of a dressing down for not doing something correctly on some paper work when he motioned us to enter the small office.
It was quite amusing to hear part of the conversation in Hindi with the odd “sorry sir” and “we do it right next time” in English.
I thought it did not bode well for us if he was in a bad mood but it was quite the opposite he was quite jolly as he meticulously filled in the forms and gently with precision stamped the documents.
An little over an hour had passed since we arrived at the airport. There was still plenty of time to get breakfast before the flight.
All we had to do was go through security.
Easier said than done.
The queue was not very long but almost every passenger was having the full works.
Bags were searched after they had gone through the x-ray machine and people were given a good old frisk search.
Had we not been tired and jaded It would have been a joy to behold, the moment the security search team saw our kit, more specifically Glenn’s.
They had all his sound equipment out, looking at it scanning it, turning it upside down and shaking it.
One of the guys was particularly interested in the fluffy microphone when it emerged like an overgrown hamster poking through the black rubber flaps of the x-ray machine.
It took a little while but once they had played with every possible bit of the sound kit and anything that remotely looked electronic or shiny we were free to join Ian and Grainne in the departure lounge.
They had experienced a similar lingering time going through security before us.
I told them about our happy time at the check in desk and our big seats.
They both said well done but i am sure with a slight degree of envy. Certainly that would have been my reaction had I been in their position.
Out of the three hours we had spent in the airport before the departure of the plane we had under twenty minutes to grab what must be said was a very nice swift breakfast.
Onboard I tried to get some sleep as soon as possible. I scoffed the meal, donned my headphones, eye mask and settled down to get some slumber if not full blown sleep.
I decided to emerge from my sensory isolation nearly six hours later after drifting in and out of a welcome yet unsatisfactory sleep.
I was surprised to see Grainne not Glenn happily finishing off breakfast in the seat next to me.
A couple of hours into the flight Glenn, ever the gentleman had gone back to see how Ian and Grainne were getting on.
Ian was in a state if in-flight dribbling sleep whereas poor Grainne was having to suffer the girl behind her repeatedly putting her tray table up and down very violently.
Even though both Grainne and the chap next to her had asked the girl to stop she persisted so preventing Grainne getting any sleep.
Glenn told her to take his seat and he would sit there.
Thankfully for Glenn the girl behind got bored with her game and nearer the front beside my dribbling mass Grainne got a little bit of badly needed rest if not sleep.
She would to be up very early on Saturday morning to start recording an Irish talent show similar to X-Factor.
At Heathrow we all said our farewells. It had been, as ever, a hectic eventful and interesting trip.
Ian and Glenn headed to their London homes, Grainne went to terminal 3 to wait for her flight to Dublin and I stayed at T5 to get the flight home to Edinburgh.