Having seen the troubles in Bangkok I suggested that I will go to Finland to sort out my Indian visa and vacation. The office agreed to it and on a short notice I arranged tickets and guarantee letters to get my visa sorted out.
On the 28th I disembarked and spent the evening in Saini's flat where we had some farewell Kingfisher and a late dinner. On 29th when my visa expired I went by taxi to the airport at abt 2am as my flight was leaving at 5am via Istanbul to Helsinki.
The airport was busy even-though it was the early morning. The security was tight and boarding pass and passport had to be shown at many check points. Everybody was scanned and patted down for dangerous objects. Immigration was efficient as I was leaving, bam-bam and I was done.
I was flying Turkish Airlines. I had flown this airline before and I can say they take you from A to B but don't expect much more than that. As a perk you get a complimentary pair of socks & eye covers. I must admit that the in-flight food was quite edible considering the difficulties in getting something to taste good 10km up in the air for hundreds of people. The service was very robotic, everything went on rote. The in flight entertainment system was broken at my seat an when I asked a stewardess, she replied "there is a problem". Yes, I could see that. Fortunately I had a book to entertain me until I fell into a short slumber.
Apparently the holiday season in Turkey is not attracting many Indians and as the rain season in India discouraged Turkish tourists I think as result the airplane was only half full so I could spread out comfortably not needing to worry about elbowing my neighbor. We arrived Istanbul a bit late after the 5 odd hours flight and I had to hurry to catch my connection to Helsinki. In Istanbul there was of course another security check (sic!) where laptops had to be ripped out of the bag, belts removed etc.
Once arrived in Helsinki after the 3 hours flight I noticed in the immigration queue that there was actually more people in the non-EU line than the EU citizen line. Oh well, the guy hardly looked at my passport and I was back home in Finland after a 6 years interval. Then it was the usual waiting for the baggage, which eventually arrived quite quickly. After that I headed for the Custom green line, all I saw was an Officer with a drug sniffing dog and that was all, finally I had passed the last hurdle in entering Finland.
I was met by Jari, my long time friend some 24years back. He lived in Espoo, close to Helsinki, where I was going to do my Indian visa so I had agreed to crash at his place until then. The weather was at 15 deg centigrade and, not surprisingly, I was feeling very cold.