Welcome to Kovalam, Kerala Province, India!

We made it to India almost without incident! I’m writing from the balcony of our hotel in Kovalam, the Arabian Sea Palace, complete with ocean view and palm trees.

Kovalam ocean view
Two thumbs up from the Chica!

I never thought to ask myself what sea or ocean we were looking at until I saw the hotel name… Fancy that, the Arabian Sea! Another new body of water to dip our toes in; in Sri Lanka we got the Bay of Bengal and the Laccadive Sea.

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So, I said almost without incident. I did a fair amount of research and preparation prior to applying for our Indian e-Visa. In a couple of places I read that the visa requirement of an onward or return ticket is seldom enforced. I rolled the dice thinking that, worse case scenario, we could buy some cheap flight out of Delhi at the last minute. If we had to, we could buy tickets to a transport hub in Europe and then go from there.

That did not work.

At check-in for Sri Lankan Airlines they asked for our onward ticket from India, which we did not have. In the Negombo airport the public internet is not good enough to book 4 flights, with all the information required. Looking back, I could maybe have shared my cellular data connection with the laptop and booked that way. We were pretty low on data at that point, so that might have been a dead end.

The Workaround

The nice lady at the check-in counter suggested that we buy one-way tickets from India back to Sri Lanka. After the visa requirements were satisfied we could then have the tickets refunded. Off I ran, literally (we then had 1 hour until boarding) to find the Sri Lankan Airlines ticket counter. They told me “Go back out through security, ticket office is in the lobby.”

I went out through security, saw a sign for Airline offices and went up the elevator to the 2nd floor. The office was closed, and not a ticket counter. Getting a little frantic, I ran back downstairs and asked someone. They said “Go outside”. Hmmm, outside? Doesn’t sound like a lobby to me. Outside I went, muttering insults under my breath at whoever designed the airport.

The ticket office is indeed outside on the sidewalk, right where you’d catch a taxi. There I bought 4 one-way tickets from Chennai to Colombo ( the cheapest fare) for $579 CAD. The nice lady there explained that there is a $22 CAD cancellation fee, but sometimes they waive the fee. I need to write a very, very nice email explaining our plight and maybe they’ll have mercy.

A quick jog back through security and we were all set!

We made it!
Off we go to India!

We made it with a big 20 minutes to spare and a lesson learned. Hopefully one that won’t cost us $88 CAD, but if so it’s not the end of the world.

The flight was an uneventful up-and-down 35 minutes to Trivandrum. The little fella fell asleep ( we woke up at 4:45 to get to the airport) before take-off and woke up at landing. Interestingly, I was the only man on the flight with no mustache. Now that we’re safe and sound in Kovalam, I guess my razor and I have some serious thinking to do.

 

 

Ian

I am a world-travelling, long distance runner previously disguised as a high-voltage engineer and now masquerading as a travel blogger.