“It’s been a while since my last post…”
When I started this little blog, I truly intended to write at least once weekly, and to never ever have to utter these utterly lame and lazy words. Alas, I tend not to follow through on most promises and resolutions, and thus here we are.
Still, it’s a new year, and time to get back on the wagon.
Let’s sum up the last month in a sentence or two: Work for the semester ended with a whimper. My plan to visit Istanbul was 100% a ruse to throw my mom of my trail. In fact, I actually went back to the States–surprising mom, which was the plan–and spent Christmas, New Year’s and the early part of my sister-in-law’s labor with family and friends. I now have a gorgeous nephew who is very, very far away.
I’m typing (though not posting) this entry en route to Cairo. Have you ever flown to Cairo? If so, you might know that flights to Cairo are unfailingly chaotic. 50% of the passengers (me included) rush to check in, rush to crowd the airport bus, and fling themselves onto the plane, often disregarding the system of assigned seats. The other 50% arrive late, check-in late, crowd the bus late, and fling themselves onto the plane late, often disregarding the system assigned seats. Too many people take their shoes off on board, people talk loud, everyone smiles and coos at all babies, and no airline employees can speak any form of Arabic. All that’s just part for the course. Today’s flight, though, has been a true piece of work.
-starting the trip with a 12-minute bus ride to the plane (apparently they’ve started parking planes at Doha’s new airport, but passengers still enter at the old airport, necessitating a cramped bus ride across half of Doha to board.
-taking off in a sandstorm
-Absence of ANY Arabic-speaking staff on board a flight between two Arab countries on which 90% of the passengers are Arabic speakers, perhaps 30% of whom are monolingual Arabic speakers. It’s like failing to have English-speaking staff on a flight from the UK to India or something.
-a plump 60-something monolingual Arabic speaker refusing to take her assigned seat, and instead stealing the bulkhead area from a mom traveling alone with 3 kids under age 5. Classy. She eventually abandoned her bulkhead bunker, under intense pressure, and then stole a different seat and pretended to lose her boarding card so they wouldn’t move her. Again, classy. I think the guy she stole that final seat from eventually got moved to business class. Hope so anyway.
-a fellow economy passenger making a scene about being unable to use the business class bathroom and sit with his business class friend, despite not having purchased a business class ticket.
-a total bitch shoving and kicking the seat of the teenager in front of her when the girl had the gall to lean her seat back. It took 3 flight attendants to calm the situation. The woman was screaming (in front of her two young kids) “I will not sit like this!!!” while refusing to lean her own seat back, or to just swap seats with one of her kids to get more space. After several minutes of punching and kicking the seat in front of her, the teen got tired of being abused and put her seat partway up.
-the dreaded call “is there a medical practitioner on board?” going out while we float over northern Saudi.
I swear I’m not making this stuff up.
Lesson to be learned: QA, please HIRE ARABIC SPEAKERS! I am quite sure many of these situations could have been calmed more quickly had even one staff member been an Arabic speaker with the cultural and linguistic knowledge to jump in before things got heated.
I seriously hope this plane doesn’t make an emergency landing, because I dare say the flight staff would not be risking their skins for any of us. I wouldn’t blame them.
I’m very glad to have purchased a mini bottle of Bailey’s at duty free–I will need it to calm my nerves after this flight, the fun awaiting me at the Cairo airport, and the hour-long taxi ride to Zamalek tonight.
Can’t wait for the return flight!