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Airport Adventures: Cochin Airport

by tim166

But this is a not a normal trip to the toilet. Go in. Make sure no one sees you go into a cubicle. Have 10 USD of Rupees to bribe a cleaner in case they really want to clean it. Then enjoy your new home for the night.

After a preceding visa mix up (not highly relevant to this story, but a major cause of my problems (hint: Indian visa restrictions are 'unique' to say the least)), I was due to arrive in Cochin Airport at the fine hour of 2330 India time, with my rather important flight back to London departing the next morning at 0840. Because these flights were booked separately with different airlines, I wouldn't be allowed to transit.

In other airports in other parts of the world, one would quite happily be able to find an area to lie down somewhere past the airport entrance, however, this is India, and in India they have a very special rule whereby one is not allowed to enter the airport unless their flight is departing within 2.5 hours. This is enforced by policemen with big sticks.

I was in a quandary, where to sleep? Near the airport - a rip off. Outside the airport - mosquitoes and scary people. In Cochin town - too far and not worth the time/expense. Persuade a policeman - no chance! Buy your way into a lounge - I don't think there are any / not worth the risk.

The solution, look as 'normal' as possible. Do not leave the airport. Peruse the very small duty free shop. Buy supplies. The peanuts were delicious and made for an excellent midnight snack. Water. Then, make sure the policemen with big sticks aren't watching, and take a normal trip to the toilet next to the duty free.

But this is a not a normal trip to the toilet. Go in. Make sure no one sees you go into a cubicle. Have 10 USD of Rupees to bribe a cleaner in case they really want to clean it. Then enjoy your new home for the night. The door goes all the way to the floor. The marble floor really is second to none. Lovely, clean and cooling. A folded towel makes for an excellent pillow and there is just about enough space to stretch out if you go diagonally. An old t-shirt makes for an effective eye mask to cover your eyes from the bright lights. People/cleaners will at times during the night knock on the door but remain silent and they will soon go away. Just keep very quiet at all times. Or, if a situation occurs, make it sound like you are having a very 'difficult' time in there, they will probably think this is quite normal (this is India).

I had a very pleasant sleep here. And it was convenient sleeping right next to your very own toilet. The next day, I woke up at half 6, had a curry, and checked in for my flight. Relative luxury.

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