The flight from New York to Dohar, Qatar was mildly arduous. The plane was packed to the gills but we boarded at 11 p.m., which meant most of us were to ready to sleep. And the number one sleeper was sweet David. Upon finding his little travel kit supplied by Qatar Airways–complete with socks, a toothbrush and an eye shade–he declared this “the best trip ever” and nodded off for 10 hours of the 12-hour journey.
While he slept, I vacillated between terror and awe. Our flight’s route took us over Tehran, Bagdad, Kuwait, Basra–this particular air space corridor symbolically chock full of major turbulence. Meanwhile, passengers inside the plane took turns laying out mats and praying toward to Mecca (when the seatbelt light wasn’t illuminated.) Their calm and peaceful act at odds with the history of war down below.
We arrived in Abu Dhabi at 11 p.m., which meant that somehow we had traveled for two nights but very little day. The inflight travel map showed how night came and went and came again.
One of the flight attendants, on the short 40-minute hop from Doha to Abu Dhabi uttered the following phrase: “If you need light in the middle of the long dark night, please use the button above you seat.”
Poetic and appropriately histrionic after two nights’ travel.
A driver was waiting for us, after the easiest immigration passing I’ve ever experienced. And sans traffic we arrived at the Royal Ramee (heretofore to be known as the Hotel Abu Dhabi) at midnight exactly. Everyone knew Allan, of course, and greeted him with joy. David and I sat on the lobby couch feeling fairly stunned by the trip and midnight heat.
Imagine you exist in the air that your blow dyer emits.
Unsure if we were overtired or underutilized, we watched TV and ate potato chips. Our little suite is pretty tiny–with all of us in the same bedroom and a couch that only fits half of me. As you may or may not know, I write laying down. So my legs are currently sticking out from the couch into the dinning area. I would venture to say that we may very well need an apartment, and I shall embrace this as the first task on my Abu Dhabi To Do list.
I woke up this morning–first upon hearing the call to prayer at sunrise–and then again at 8 a.m. to catch my first light of day in two days. Here’s what the view outside my hotel window looks like: minarets and magnificence; dust and dreamscape. The scene is reminiscent of sites and sights I’ve seen in Mombassa, Malaysia, India, Khartoum, Cairo.
And oddly, inexplicably, I feel right at home.
You know when you turn on your computer for the first time each day and it makes that welcoming sound? Something like “BOIIIIAANN!!!” A sound that seems to say, “Let us begin.”
When mine that did that this morning, I thought the sound represented exactly how I feel on Wednesday, August 27, 2014.
NSB in the UAE