My trip to India...
San Francisco, California
The company I work for asked me to visit our supplier in Hyderabad, India. My away-from-home duration would be 11-days, from April 7th through April 17th, 2014.
After waking to an unseasonably warm and sunny day here in San Francisco, and having an early lunch with my wonderful family, we headed off to San Francisco International Airport.
I booked my tickets on Emirates since they have the most modern fleet, as well as only one stop to Hyderabad. Rather than flying to the East Coast then the EU, and then to India, this flight left San Francisco, California, with a short 1.5-hour lay-over in Dubai, and then a final flight directly into Hyderabad. Total time from gate to gate was about 23-hours.
Checked in, kissed my family good-bye, and boarded the 777-300ER aircraft for my very long journey to the other side of the world.
All photos were taken with a Samsung Note III mobile phone with post-production. And a special note to my buddy Travis for the photo of me.
A few hours after take-off we reached the border between the United States and Canada, the sunset was absolutely beautiful and calming. The air was as smooth as silk and the hum of the jet engines provided a soothing white noise.
After a few more hours we started approaching deep into the enormous Canadian territory - and I noticed at this time the sun never really set. It just lingered. And not more than 20-minutes later, the sun came back up and by this time we were approaching the North Pole. And yes, the real North Pole.
The North Pole...
After entering the Arctic Circle we were now officially flying to the furthest regions of Earth. As the sun did its best to rear over the horizon, I opened the window shade to take a quick peek. Mind you at this point most of the passengers were sleeping, I was two-movies into the flight, and couldn't sleep for the life of me. When I opened the window shade, the light poured into the cabin like shards of glass. The guy sleeping next to me opened one eye, didn't say a word, and I knew the shade had to be closed after taking a real quick photo.
What was incredible about the topography in this region, before it turned to sheets of ice, was how high the snow drifts were. You can't really see it in this photo - but the snow drifts were as high as any major mountain peaks you'd see from 37,000 feet. Some snow drifts softened the sharp mountain peaks as if a soft wool blanket was put on top of them and they stretched for as far as the eyes could see.
When we finally approached the icecaps, the ice sheets looked like broken eggs shells... massive cracks spanning 50-plus miles, a web only a modern artist could think up ---- or even better --- James Cameron, please take note for your next Alien movie.
At this point the air temperature at 37,000 feet dropped to -54 Celsius. That's Celsius! I kept thinking, if this plane ever needed to make an emergency landing, where would it go? There are no airports or towns in this region. Nothing but ice and snow. And maybe a few Polar Bears. And if a plane could land on ice, then what? A human being wouldn't last for more than an hour. I think rather than put life-vests on this plane, they should make sure there are warm blankets stowed away somewhere... just in case.
I showed my Son this photo and explained to him that this was the North Pole. He curiously looked up and asked the question that any child would ask, "Where is Santa's workshop?" I explained that Santa's workshop is there, but it's very hard to see for very good reasons. And that Santa must keep his exact location a secret and if all the children of the world knew where all the toys were, then it wouldn't give Santa anything to do on Christmas Eve. Not sure if he completely bought that excuse, it was the best I could do at that moment.
As mentioned earlier the plane I was on was a fairly new Boeing 777-300ER, it had the latest technology. You could choose between hundreds of movies or thousands of songs and the monitors were large and widescreen. For a movie buff like myself it fit the bill perfectly. I actually watched four movies on my way to Dubai. The Hobbit being one of them - which in my opinion was the best movie out of the franchise so far. It was awesome! Also watched a terrible movie called Pacific Rim, and without a doubt, it is the worst movie I've ever watched in my life.
What was most impressive about the jet I was flying on was the interior mood-lighting... which simulated dusk, sunset, night, dawn and morning sunrise. When the sun was going down, the lighting went from white to orange, then to a soft red, then to a starry night sky... the area above, between the overhead storage bays, displayed clusters of stars using LED lighting. It was pretty cool.