I am off to the other side of the planet. The Middle East, ME for short.
My departure from Washington through the Dulles airport was busy and of course, emotional.
My wonderful husband used one of his Global upgrades to have my seat upgraded to Business class.
You may not know this about me. I hate being late to the airport. I want to be early enough that I can sit and read a couple of chapters in a book before they start the boarding process. This way I can make sure I am at the right gate and prepared for boarding.
My elevated status into business class gave me access to the United lounge so I planned my arrival at the airport early so I could Skype from the United lounge with my parents, my children and grandchildren.
I planned to close up the house (it is ready for the people who have leased it), drive Doug’s car over to the consignment car lot where it is going to be sold and still arrive at the airport in time to Skype with my parents, my children and grandchildren.
Two of my children are not happy about my adventure. After arriving in the United lounge, talking to them was painful. I know they will adjust, but right now they just don’t want to be that far away from me. However, Skype is great. Doug and I have been calling each other every day (sometimes twice a day) by Skype for the last 3 weeks. When you can see someone’s eyes when they are talking, you communicate so much better. Other than not physically touching, Doug and I had great conversations every evening just like we have when we are together. These conversations made the separation tolerable.
I am right on target and just as I finish talking to my granddaughter, they call my flight and I am off to the other side of the world.
The seat on the airplane was the best I have ever had. My area is large to begin with and in the end, no one sits next to me so I have 2 areas for myself. There is a nice dinner, good movies and hot fudge sundaes to top off the evening. After I finish the last bite of the sweet chocolate with whipped cream, the lights go down, my seat reclines completely to a flat bed and I actually sleep for almost 7 hours. I don’t even sleep that long in my own bed. However, I think I only had 2 hours of sleep the night before so I am sure I was very tired.
When I wake the next morning and cleaned up, breakfast is served -- omelets and turkey sausage. I eat while I watch another movie, Captain America. Turkey sausage is something I am going to have to get used to. There is no pork or ham in the ME. In fact, I need to find some books and study ME culture. I want to be courteous and respectful while I am staying in someone else’s country. The last thing I would want to be is a pushy, bossy American.
As the flight is finishing up, I start reading a book my granddaughter recommended, Divergent. And, while I sit there reading I become paranoid about the book jacket showing the neck of a young girl. Pictures of women in provocative posses are forbidden in the ME. You need to wear long pants or skirts below the knee as well as long sleeves or ¾ sleeves. Several other wives of ME executives have already prepped me on this. So as I read, I carefully keep the picture covered up with my hand. Thinking this way is something I need to start doing as a second nature.
Finally after 14 hours, our wheels touch down in Manama, Bahrain. It is night and very dark outside so I have no idea what the area looks like. I am processed through passport control and I head to the duty free shop. Doug has requested 2 bottles of liquor. It is very expensive to buy spirits in Bahrain and everyone from the flight is lining up in the duty free shop. As I am standing in line, I realize I am the only woman in the store. Oh well, that is something I will also have to get used to.
After a long wait for luggage, I push my 4 big pieces of luggage, my carry on cases and my bag from the duty free shop out the arrival gates. I must look pretty strange. There in the crowd is Doug waiting patiently. Wow, does he look good in person. Maybe I don’t like that Skype as much as I thought I did. There is a lot to be said for hugging and kissing!
They have decorated camels at the airport!
This was taken the next morning on our balcony located on the east side of our flat in the Al-Seef District of Manama, Bahrain.
I hope you enjoy the photos. I will try to include some on every blog.