Saturday, October 15, 2011

Qatar // My Arrival

Oh, hey guys... Sooooo, guess what? I sort of went to the Middle East a few weeks ago... 

It has taken me a while to write about this trip because 1. I've been extremely busy at my new job, and 2. I'm still sorting through photos and videos, trying to get things ready and situated so I can share this trip successfully!

I want to first say how excited I was to fly Qatar Airways. Before I left for Qatar, I was doing the social media for a consulting firm in DC, posting Facebook updates and Tweets about news in Qatar, and often posted about Qatar Airways. Recently they were voted the best airline in the world. They're number one when it comes to flying, so it was awesome being able to see for myself all the greatness I'd been promoting these last few months.

So, my lovely roommates drove me to the airport the night of my flight and I had crazy travel butterflies flapping around non-stop in my tummy-box the whole way there. I was definitely excited and sooo ready to go! I couldn't believe the day had finally arrived!

Since the flight to Qatar is direct from DC, a lot of people traveling to India fly with them because once they get to Doha, it's only a four hour flight from there to India. I'd say 95% of the people on my flight were on their way to India.

Once we boarded, I was greeted by the same beautiful ladies from the ads and I was instantly pleased, haha. The plane was great and everyone was so nice. I sat next to an older couple who spoke very little English. Whenever a flight attendant spoke to them, I had to sort of motion or do things for them (closing their window multiple times, collecting garbage and unused blankets, asking if they were thirsty, opening their food, etc.) since they didn't understand what was being said (which made me wonder why Qatar Airways doesn't accommodate more to the non-Arabic, non-English speaking people who fly with them so often).

They were very sweet and at one point during the flight I woke up with my head nearly resting on the man's shoulder and his wife's feet were on my knee. I learned it's nearly impossible to not get cuddly with the people around you on an international flight.

Qatar Airways

When we were getting closer, advertisements from businesses in Qatar started playing on our screens. It was awesome because I recognized a lot of the businesses. It was so cool seeing these things in real life after reading and writing about them while sitting behind a desk in DC. I think I got a little choked up... I was so excited at this point, I couldn't wait to land and finally see this place!!

You exit the plane onto the runway and then you get on a bus that makes two stops. The first stop is Arrivals for the people staying in Doha, and the 2nd stop is for people taking connecting flights. At that first stop, I think I was one of six or so people in the sardine-packed bus who got off. Everyone else was headed to India.

I couldn't believe how hot it was outside, and the sun had already set!

Purchasing my Visa was easier than I thought it would be. I was a little scared, but I figured it out and the kid working behind the desk looked four or five years younger than me and didn't really ask any questions.

I collected my bags and scoped out the bathrooms. I noticed they had a smoking room and female and male prayer rooms. I wanted to peek my head in the prayer room, but wasn't sure if that was okay, so I found the bathrooms and had my first Middle Eastern bathroom experience.

First, I want to say how amazing the stalls were. The doors actually went all the way to the floor and there were no cracks! Each stall was like a little private room. I thought this was an exception, just being at the airport, but it wasn't. Every bathroom in Qatar was this way. I loved it! So classy. I later learned that this is very typical for most countries, though. Apparently American stalls are unusual and janky. We suck.

After that, I walked out into this huge room with a big glass room divider and Andrew was on the other side of it with his cell phone, taking pictures of me and smiling so big! I couldn't believe I was actually there with him! He couldn't, either. It was a lovely moment.

On the way back to the hotel, I got to hear my first Call to Prayer playing throughout the city and over the radio. It was awesome and gave me goosebumps. I think that's when it hit me that I really was in the Middle East. :)

I didn't feel incredibly jet lagged my first night like I thought I would. Since I left around 11pm DC time the night before and arrived around 6pm Doha time the next day, it sort of felt like I just had a really long night since it was dark when i left and dark when I arrived. I didn't feel like I missed an entire day of sunlight. There's a seven hour time difference between DC and Qatar and it took a few days for me to start feeling strange and tired.

Anyway, we drove around a little bit that night and toured the city before heading back to the hotel and getting some much needed shut-eye.

I couldn't wait to start exploring in the morning. :)

More Qatar posts to come!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! What an amazing part of the world to experience. I can't wait to read your upcoming posts!

    I'm looking for a few blogs to sponsor, let me know if you would be interested :].

    -amanda k.
    amandakbythebay.blogspot.com

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