Doha oh Dear – Twenty Hours in a Very Boring Airport.
Leaving Mumbai could not have been more straight forward. Taxi, check in and off, arriving in Doha less than four hours later. Being aware that i had an eleven hour stop over in-between flights i took myself off to a darkened room, lay on a moon- lounger and slept. Now only nine hours to wait. I move from bed to chair. From chair to bed and back again. Six hours left. Another visit to the smoking room.
Meal tokens from Qatar airways were intended to provide some entertainment but didn’t. Duty free was expensive and the warm desert sun beating through the glass onto my frozen air con skin frustrating. ” There is no way i am eating that as my last meal of eight months travel “.
A small bottle of vodka sets me back the five euro’s i find deep in my money belt. I find a cup, some ice and soda. Half a bottle later and three hours left to wait. Another cigarette.
Arabs swishing around in their beautiful robes, head wear and shades…..for me, one accessory too many, but for them not. So many looking so cool, funky, stylish. Men in shades, beards, head scarfs and dresses….such a good look. 2:55 minutes left.
I settle back onto the moon- lounger for another hour, wander, smoke, check the signs and head to the gate. Only one hour and twenty-three minutes left to wait. Boarding London Heathrow.
Finally i am seated on the craft, prepared to land in London at 10 PM and check into a warm, cosy hotel with a bath tub. Before taking the train to Durham, a further four hours from London.
The craft revs up. The safety/security video finishes and cabin crew take seats for take off. Shokran.
The craft circles the runway three times, the pilot announces a small safety issue with a speaker and we are instructed to stay seated until the engineer has fixed the reason for our delay. Almost two hours later we are instructed to disembark. Without a bloody mary or a hot face towel.
Aeroplane broken and there is no way we would make it to Heathrow before their midnight landing curfew. Another visit to the smoking room.
The options are this. More meal vouchers and a flight in eight hours time OR more meal vouchers and a flight in eight hours time. I opt for the second option…..NOT.
By this time i was disappointed and exhausted. There was nothing to do in the airport but sit. I head off to find the manager of the Qatar Airways ground staff. I find her.
“Please madam can you help me; i was due to fly to London on the postponed craft and i have already been sitting in the airport for over eleven hours. I have a maggot infestation in my left knee and i really need to get home” I cry.
The kind and understanding lady leads me to the first class lounge where i am able to rest until the flight arrives. REST??!! How can one rest in a first class lounge?
I find a seat before being approached by a member of staff. ” Good evening sir, may i get you anything”? “Two glasses of your finest red wine please, and may i help myself to the buffet and free internet service” The answer is YES.
Hummus, olives, a heady herby salad of parsley, coriander and lemon. Pitta. All the delicious treats you would expect from the middle east away from an economy meal ticket transit voucher counter. It’s so surprising how a bottle of red wine and waiting in a luxurious environment can make the time fly faster. Another cigarette, but this time i use a crystal ash tray. All of a sudden i am called to the gate, board and fly. Later than expected, drunker than expected but finally i am out of stationary transit, the UK fast approaching, nine hours later than expected.
HA! great count down. This post makes me laugh (i have been there) & sad that your travels are over. What now?
Hope you got out sooner than 20 hours?? Putting together exhibitions of my images of Burma and some photography projects. I should return to my lecturing post in September….eeeeeeek
Oh yes I’ve had some twenty hour trips. Hey traveling ain’t easy. My favorite (as in stupid) airport story is after 17 hours of travel and only a 2 1/2 flight left to get home i fell asleep at my gate. Woke up to bongo drums of all things, that nasty panicked awaking heart racing where am I, kind of waking. Oh yeah! ran to the counter ‘can we stop the plane?’. A shaking head and a hand that points to my plane wheeling toward the runway. Next flight….in 8 hours. 🙂
Where were you? How did you fill the eight hours? First class blag?
LAx. No i didnt know i could cry and get into first class. !!! how’d i fill my eight hours? no more sleeping that’s for sure; bad food, dazed wandering things like that.
Try crying….it’s a sure winner!!!
THANKs to you i now KNOW!!
Absolutely brilliant when you find a loophole that gets you into the first class lounge. In your case it was crying. Hey, whatever works. And you deserved it after getting booted from your aircraft. Drinking wine in that lounge sure beat the prior bottle of vodka that you had to drink uncomfortably amongst the masses of economy class. 🙂
No bar in Doha!!! Drank the vodka in a waiting room among non-drinkers!!!!!! First class was a major step up!!!
Hiyah!!! Not sure as I type wether your flying still or home but am guessing from your blog you is probably passed out! Nice plus you got first class after all that waiting-you could have wrote a book if mind transferrance was possible. 😉
Anyway as much as coming home has mixed blessing, I just want to welcome you back and hope you find a new ‘elevation’ in your walk and your mind(mm I refrain from discussing the other kind as my mind wanders to evoluted Ants!!) LOL!
So welcome back and I look forward to seeing your exhibition
Love Shelly xxx