Chennai Journal
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Back together
We are all safely in Chennai. We (Marty, Dad, J.D. and I) flew out of Detroit on Tuesday night, arriving about 24 hours later in Chennai. It was a tiring trip but by having a wheelchair for Dad at Madras airport we were able to clear customs through the diplomatic/disabled line which took a fraction of the normal time. Dad did not sleep on the trip and got a bit confused toward the end (he said to me at one point on the Frankfurt-Chennai leg, "well, I guess I'll go upstairs to bed") and has taken a few days to get oriented and get over jet lag. But as of this morning he seems fine and is enjoying watching many of his favorite TV programs which are available here as well.

We had a brief scare at Metro Airport when Lufthansa almost refused to let us board with J.D. because she wasn't microchipped. They pulled out the regulations that stated "to enter the EU all animals must have a microchip or a tatto". But, as I pointed out, we weren't entering the EU--we were in transit and neither we nor J.D. would be clearing customs in Frankfurt. Finally they called Germany and my interpretation was correct. We had brought J.D. in a shipping container to go into climate controlled baggage hold (along with two other cats and a dog that were travelling on the same flight) as checked baggage---thinking that she would be more comfortable that way and be able to be let out in the veterinary area of Frankfurt airport. But I had also brought her Sherpa bag just in case. Once we got past the microchip controversy, the lady at the ticket counter persuaded me that it would be better to take her on board. So quickly we made the switch.

J.D. was a real trouper throughout the trip and barely made a sound even when riding in the van to the airport. I let her out briefly in the bathroom in the business class lounge in Frankfurt, but she was frightened enough by the strange surroundings to almost immediately crawl back into the Sherpa bag. Now she and Junior are reunited and seem to be doing well together. J.D. has found a new hiding spot---under our mattress where the lining has developed a hole to allow her to get in between the mattress and the lining. We looked all over for her one evening and Leela discovered a large lump hanging from the mattress when she looked under the bed. (I suspect this is actually not a new spot for her, but one that she might have discovered when the bed was in Detroit).

We hope to get internet this week. It was supposed to be hooked up on Thursday but they were oversubscribed and had to expand the equipment or something so they are now promising us by the end of this coming week. So Marty and are both still using the internet cafe. Marty did get a cell phone earlier in the week so at least he can stay connected, since we also don't have international call out capability on our land line (the previous tenant did not pay the bill and despite the property management company trying to resolve the issue by paying the bill and contacting them many times, the government bureaucrat at the phone company hasn't budged).

Marty also attended a Rotary meeting yesterday but this particular one doesn't seem to do a lot of volunteer activities. There are over 20 different ones in Madras, so he's going to sample a few more. The Rotary name is attached to lots of different community activities here, so it's probably just a matter of finding the right one.


It was nice to read your blog about moving from DC to Chennai. My wife and I are moving from Dallas to Chennai along with our dog next week. We are flying Lufthansa through Frankfurt just like you did. We would appreciate any tips you can provide about taking your dog along with you. Here a few details

1) Our dog is 55 pounds and obviously has to travel in a crate in the cargo area.
2) We have him microchipped and have also secured a USDA certificate.

Specifically, I would like to find out if any other documents are necessary. Also, will they let him out at the Frankfurt airport?

I am sorry to hit you with all these questions out of the blue. I appreciate your help in this regard.

Please do email me if you can at ravi_venka@hotmail.com.

Thanks again for your help
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