The trouble with arriving early for any flight is the chance it may be delayed. As was my long haul flight to Doha, Qatar, every 1/2 hour adds to the 10+ soon to be in the air. Terminal gates 16 and 17 are packed, a small city congregating in anticipation of flights to Doha UAE & São Paulo Brazil. My only wish is that all the children crying out loud will sleep sleep sleep once they are on the plane. The crowd is mixed a cross-section of races and nationalities, mostly male and almost everyone is connected to one device or another: smartphone, cell phone, laptop, tablet.
Daybreak in the afternoon. Eight hours in on the long haul journey to India. my body aches, my mind fuzzy. Not knowing what to expect with meals and bathroom breaks, water replenishment, I opted to not take the ambien, it seemed less important to take one if I was already sleepy. I am most grateful for having the foresight to take a hatha yoga class earlier today, the stretching certainly helped with the scrunched up wear and tear.
Seated on an aisle in a center three-seater row my seat companion, Kanish, and I are lucky to share the absent middle seat which offers more stowage and a little more leg room (although on an angle). We have 3 hours left before landing on the Qatar peninsula, at Doha International Airport. All that planning and research on the latest movie releases is lost, and instead I crack open 1 of the 4 books (plus my Kindle) that I brought with me: The Yard (Alex Grecian). Ambitious challenge I realize but two weeks is a lot of time for the brain to still itself, I must feed it a little as well.
When I first boarded the plane I had passed the luxe seating in first and business class, one of which had Jetson like pods to sleep in. I wonder if those passengers feel as uncomfortable as I do? The worst part is my backside, airplane seating does little to support the lower back, sacrum and rear--when seated for extended hours the pressure can result in the absence of feeling, a numb sleeping body. I have high hopes that I will have enough time in Doha to stretch. Breakfast is served with a side of turbulence, as we begin our descent.
We arrive at dusk into a waking dream of midnight skies and starlight. It is Saturday evening of the quickest weekend ever. I step outside onto the portable staircase and my mind races back to the first time I visited Siracusa as an adult: the balmy weather, the easy transfer from tarmac to terminal, the simplicity of moving from runway to walkway. The terminal is a pristine structure of white marble, granite and glass. The duty free shopping area lies just outside the security checkpoint, it is the size of a small mall--I catch a glimpse before dashing off to gate 17 and my transfer to Bangalore. Another full flight, again a lot of men, some in traditional dress others in modern wear. There is a woman in full burqua and perjida (sp?) with just a slit for her eyes, even her hands are covered in black gloves. She is with a gentleman in white robes straight out of a history book.
For this route I am on the aisle of a two seater, next to a young woman returning home to Bangalore. There is time for a movie (The Great & Powerful Oz) and more reading, and a nap or two or three before we make our great way into Bengalaru.