There have not been too many deborturous stories, but I suppose it was day one of the trip. Word to the wise: even if the airline you fly allows you a generous 30kg of luggage, do not tell this to your family. I am currently carting a gift mixture of cigarettes, Ghostpops, easter eggs, Zambuk, and peppermint for what I can only assume will be the strangest party of all time.
It was a heart goodbye, tainted slightly by some guy fighting with the police at OR Tambo, but it was not enough to dampen the spirits. Eating spicy food the night before was a predictable disaster.
To show that I had not changed completely, I was almost late for my flight and finally got to my window seat. When one thinks of a window seat, one pictures being able to watch the country fly by, while viewing the city lights like never before. Unfortunately, this particular window was above the wing, so I saw flappy things go up and down, seeing aeronautical engineering like I had never seen before.
I was sat next to a preppy modern girl. The kind that would get annoyed if you let her through the door before you, but still wasted her ticket on watching Ryan Gosling movies. She didn’t speak to me very often and I loved that. Unfortunately, she felt the need to ask if I was old enough to ask for a whisky on the plane. I didn’t have the heart to put the poor thing down seeing that I was going to sit next to the teef for the next 8 hours, and snot and trane would just spill over to my seat.
I wasn’t wildly impressed with the entertainment offered and morally objected out of “Steve Jobs” after I discovered that the airline takes out most of the swearing and sex. And then what’s the point of watching anything? I became really introspective about how us humans can simply just up and go to another continent in a few hours. Not only can we literally fucking fly across oceans to all corners of the earth, but we found a way to watch TV while we do it. Amazing.
This introspection was enough to put me to sleep and I almost missed the complimentary snack sandwich. My spidey senses kicked in and I got one just in time. Nice try airline. Strong, independent, (probably single) woman next to me opted out of eating bread. Big surprise. But my introspective feeling of littleness only got worse when I landed at Doha international airport to find how few people spoke English and even fewer with the correct (South African) accent. My game of smooth talking my have to make way for my dashing looks.
I paced through the airport in no rush, knowing my stop-over was little over 8 hours. I tried to map the place out as my return stop over in 6 months would only be under an hour, giving me about 30 mins to board. I worked out that with luck, and 6 months of practicing to run with a full backpack, I should be fine.
In exploring the airport, I traded in some cash for local Qatari (after being laughed off for trying to trade R10) and decided to tuck into some local flavours by getting a steakhouse burger at Burger King. It was completely worth walking the airport flat to find the cheapest bottle of water so I could afford it. I now sit in the “family quiet room”. I am far from a feminist, but I’d have to put my distaste for children above the odour I suspected to be coming from the “male only” lounge, whose name alone offers its own problems. However, the lounge was still full of the aroma of socks and aeroplane food, which is odd as the two are almost inseparable. It is 4,5 hours ’til I board.
Boarded the next flight eerily on time. Another window seat, but this time I actually got to see what was outside. If it wasn’t for a grey, semi-transparent, oddly-smelling liquid found on the window and its surrounding area. I was slightly relieved to find out it smelled like vomit, only to then realise it probably was vomit. I then brought this to the attention of the air hostess who, without hesitation, handed me a wet wipe to fix the situation. Being the only one that could smell this mystery substance, I was seen as the neat freak on the plane. Great. Probably the most annoying people besides babies. and this flight had fucking two of them.
People must just stop fucking altogether because risking a child is not worth it. Granted, one of the children was tolerable and had a hot mom, so well done there. However, in the opposite corner was a little shit doing an exorcism impression. I assumed the child could read minds, since the only way his crying could increase as exponentially as it did, was if it could see what I was doing to it in my head. The odds were stacked against the little Asian fellow as his parents were really quite shit. I’m not saying his father was bad at raising him, but let’s just say I’d sooner hire him as a chauffeur than a nanny. He tried to ease the little mess by lightly patting it, as one does to that friend whose shit you have no time to deal with. Failing this, he put a towl over its head and sort of expected the situation to fix itself. I think he should have additionally poured a bottle of water over it, as this would have at least muffled the screams slightly.
To say that a South African is welcome to Edinburgh by customs officials would be a lie. A big one. Those with no UK or EU passport are herded into our own line, checked for ticks, dipped, and shipped off to have our milk sold for a mandatory 3 months. Ok it’s not quite that bad, but it was pretty shit. I was questioned, reminded of all the limitations of my visa, and had to prove that I had a return ticket. My luggage had had its lock removed and I just fucking hope they didn’t steal a line of Nik-Naks.
But this inhospitability has more than made up for by my cousin and host, as well as the locals. My SIM and bus pass sorted, I am well on my way to being a local. I’d visited the city before, but the old buildings of the bustling city, filled with strange-looking characters, all busy with something or other to eventually end at the pub, interests me to no end. After dinner, a walk back in the pouring rain was not enough to dampened the spirits. Ready to make this the trip of a lifetime.
Challenge has been layed down by my cousin to try visit a different pub everyday and list them here. I think this is a stellar idea. Due to the nature of my trip, however, I am going to try average 7 a week, making up for the deficit on the weekend.