I went to Barbados from Kuwait and let me tell you it was a journey for real. It basically took about 36 hours of total travel time. I had two long layovers and 1 long flight. With a journey like this, of course, I have stories.
First, I’m going to start with the fact that the employees at Doha Hamad Airport in Qatar are the most pleasant people I have ever come across at an airport. There is a huge difference between Kuwait’s Airport and Qatar. Besides the actual set up and feel, Qatar is just better by a long shot.
The biggest problem at Kuwait Airport is that they allow people to come anytime they want. While I was waiting in line to check my bags, the airport’s attendants were pulling people out of line whose flight was at 10. I was there at 9. The problem is not that they were trying to get these people to their flight. The problem was that there was a long line of people that got there late. Having a few late people is going to happen, but a third of the flight was late. In Kuwait and most of the Middle East, you go through many checkpoints and boarding starts an hour before the flight. There is even a security check right before you get on the flight. For this reason, boarding starts an hour early. My flight to Qatar was an hour late because people didn’t come on time. There were several flights that had to be rescheduled because of this. I was shocked that the flight was delayed because of people, not the airport.
This was flight was different for another reason. During holidays or school breaks, I am bound to see half of my co-workers. This time I saw one of my currents students. I always wondered what would happen when I see one of my students. I thought maybe they would hide in shame or they would ask me what are you doing here. He walked right up to me and said Ms.Jahmella. I said hello and gave him a hug and that was it.
Side note speaking of students. The boys tend to walk right through one another. They will bump each other without saying excuse me. They will step on someone who is trying their shoe because they lack spacial awareness. I thought this was because of immaturity, but then I realized something different at the airport.
When I arrived in Qatar I went through another security checkpoint. I went through the whole process and taking my laptop out, etc, etc. Then I walk through the metal detector and waited for my things at the end. The women that were in front of me saw her things roll to the end where I was and came all the way down and was literally on top of me getting her things. I said so your not going to say excuse me. She looked at me shocked like she didn’t even know I was standing there. Even though she was on top of me. She could have gone around me, she could have waited until I moved, she could have said excuse me but she chose to basically try to walk right through me like I didn’t exist. When I confronted and saw her reaction a light bulb went off in my head and I realize that her behavior is not rude in her culture. I see the same thing in the boys who walk right through someone like they don’t exist. It’s just a thing that happens. They just don’t know. Westerners especially Canadians and Americans were taught how to be polite to others and respect people’s space. When that happened to me I couldn’t be too offended because she didn’t do it on purpose.
On a light note as I said before Qatar’s airport was very pleasant. I like that at night it has a cafe feel. I had a long layover and instead of hanging out in the airport until the time came I decided to stay in a lounge for $55. It had drinks, food, wine, and good wifi. It was totally worth it.
The next morning as I walked onto my next flight there was a man sitting in my seat. I don’t mind switching seats for families or whatever the case may be, but what I don’t like is someone just taking my seat. I like it better when people sit in their correct seat and ask me. One time this happened and I felt very disrespected by the women probably Kuwaiti who took my seat and the flight attendant. There was a good Samaritan on the plane that day and he was sitting in the seat directly behind my assigned seat and he told me I can have his seat and he would take the seat in the back. I was really pissed about this situation but this is what happens.
So there is a man in my seat and the flight attendant told him that he had to sit in his seat. The man unwilling got up and when he sat down he told me that he likes to get up often and walk. I said that’s ok because I have to use the bathroom. I told him he could wake me up and I would be ok with that. I decided to let him have the aisle and asked him if he wanted to sit in my seat. I don’t think he understood that I was going to give him my seat. Not at first. The conversation went something like this.
Him: you know I don’t sleep much…
Me: I sleep a lot, I can sleep the whole flight, but you can wake me up, no problem
Me: You can sit here if you want
Him: it’s ok, it’s ok
Me: Do you want to take this seat
Him: It’s fine, it’s ok.
Him: Maybe you should sit in this chair because you sleep.
So we switch seats and it made me happy and I know that he was happy. I use to be all about the window, but I like the aisle because I can get up anytime I want without feeling guilty of waking someone up. After this, we became best friends. I told him about my job, he told me about his family and we talked on and off through the flight. In the end, he wished me well and we went our separate ways.
“Hello Everyone, I’m homeless and I was wondering if anyone had a dollar to spare. My wife died three years ago.”
I was on an elevator to get tot he subway and a guy was soliciting for money. He looked clean and well fed if you know what I mean. I know that all homeless people do not have a smell or skinny, I just didn’t feel compelled to give this guy my money. I also did not have any American dollars on me. I almost gave him my dinars which equals up to about $3 US dollars and some change. It didn’t seem like it would be worth the hassle.
When I come to New York I’m always wondering what will I see. It’s never about what will happen it’s about when because you will see something. This time I saw my first subway acrobats. I have seen them on snippets on Instagram and Facebook. Seeing them up close, it made me think of strippers the way they were sliding, spinning, and turning up and down the poles. It was entertaining. They collected about $15. I imagine they could get some nice pocket change all on their commute to school or work. After that, I went to Chelsea Market for tacos because I like tacos.
These were the happenings on my long journey to Barbados. I came to an understanding of cultural differences. I did a good deed and I spent some time in New York stretching my legs. In the end, I made it to Barbados in one piece.