Sunday, February 20, 2011

Vaccinations and Fly American!

This past week saw us take yet another step to bring us closer to Dhaka--we went for the first round of our required vaccinations. We got shots for rabbies, Japanese encephalitis and a bouquet of hepatitis. I was practically excited as the vaccination brought some much needed diversion in our Bangla obsessed lives. The problem with them is that your arms' muscles hurt like mad the following couple of days. Right next to the Health Clinic at FSI is also the travel center, so while wrapped in my excitement, I decided to pop in and inquire about possible routes to Dhaka.
Now, if you must know, governmental employees must "fly American" which means that we can fly only on a US carrier as long as the government is paying for the ticket. Clearly, plenty of exceptions exist since I am not entirely sure any American airline flies to Burundi or Gyuana. Or Bangladesh. It is just not THAT much of a popular route, you know. For that reason, our flying options are a tad restricted. We were told the exciting news that since our total flying time exceeds 14 hours (for a total of 18!), we are allowed a one-night stopover with a choice of London, Frankfurt or Abu Dhabi. For personal reasons, we chose London. And then we got the slightly underwhelming news that from London through Dubai and then through Sylhet (Bangladesh) we would fly Biman Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi airline. Our immersion then begins in London. I must admit, I was hoping for something like British Airways or Lufthansa or Swiss Air for a connection. My consolation is that first class is only $500 more expensive from coach and I think as a parting gift to myself, I might purchase us an upgrade as (oddly enough) none of our credit card miles work with Biman. All I could find on the Internet regarding Biman is that "at least the food good." So, at least the food is good!

This is a busy weekend, filled with entertaining at home and running in the park for both Son and the Diplomat. I am engulfed in Bangla as my exam is fast approaching. Ack!!!!

11 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. u will be treated royally at BIMAN, as a bengali speaking american!

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  3. I recommend taking a mini-vacation while in Britain. We have had to do long flight after long flight with kids and sitting hours in an airport between stinks. Taking the one layover night helps, but since you are there, consider taking another night or two and get out and about and enjoy. Walk, walk, walk, move, let the little one get out and wiggle -- get in some sight seeing and give yourself the mental break to get rested, and excited about the next step in your adventures. Once we started making the trip a bit of a vacation too it made the travel to and from post quite enjoyable.

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  4. Hey you

    I hope I will get to bump into you at FSI on Tue, as I got a brand new notebook and a sharpened pencil of course - ready to jump both feet into Tamil pandemonium - Masha

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  5. I hope y'all have enough time to venture out around London. There is so much to do and see here. Get a "Hop on Hop off" tour bus and it will take you to all the sights.

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  6. Why are you flying into Sylhet? Also, make sure you check on that routing through Dubai, some people here in Dhaka have had problems routing through there due to a recent change in Dubai's visa regulations for transiting diplomats.

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  7. According to its website, United flies to Dhaka....

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  8. @Nomads: we will actually send Son to mom's for a month--she will pick him up from London during the layover. So, at least that will be OK.
    @Bryn--we are planning a couple of days layover in London. I used to live there for some time, and would love to show it around to the Diplomat!
    @Adventures: who knows why through Sylhet--that's Biman's schedule...And we will get visas for Dubai, right after the Bengali one.
    @Mo: um, they fly up to a point like London or Abu Dhabi, I think. And btw, I'd tale United over American any day!

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  9. You can fly a United partner to Dhaka (we did). Emirates, for example, though there's that issue with the visas in Dubai, so they have decided not to run routes through there. You can come via Qatar also.

    Anyway, we racked up about 12,000 miles on United by using partners in the Star Alliance. If you find a routing yourself, usually the travel office will buy it for you, even if they came up with a nutty routing originally. eg, the one they've sent you already.

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  10. And Biman's planes are HORRID. (we're allowed to fly them internationally, but they're absolute crap. Completely uncomfortable.)

    I don't know who thinks the food is good, it's pretty abysmal. Unless you like crackers. (The "snack box" is a slice of pound cake, a pack of crackers, a cookie, and a packet of "breath freshener" which is whole spices and licorice).

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  11. You can totally tell the travel office the routing you'd like to take, particularly from London. Kuwait, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar all run flights from London to Dhaka - and if you were oddly insistent on Biman, there _is_ a direct flight. I'd recommend Emirates. All you have to do is either use your tourist passport at the airport (no visa required) or get a dip visa in your dip passport. And that's only in theory. In reality, in transit at Dubai, they don't check.

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