Friday, December 18, 2009
best. business. trip. ever! a really boring mind locked blow by blow by kitty joe
16th or 17th of december?
unsure of the date.
made it through work with minimal required tie up for the walking tornado. the boss despaired, "i'm scared! i can't do this without you!"
and jade held me and begged me to come home.
ah! here i decided to make a list to blow through my impressions without beleaguering myself with transitions and complete thoughts. but i can't ever tell a concise story, can i?
the boss dropped me off thanking me. "it's true what you've said. it's been a year of incredible accomplishments! have a great christmas.....uh...i didn't have time to get you a gift." at this i laughed. we don't do that!
once free and inside my apartment i felt three distinct states of being wash over me. first i became excited, no, giddy with the thought of the extraordinary trip i was about to take. an unknown piece of my world expanded, if only briefly and superficially, within the bubble of the ritz carlton. but still--the palace!? come on! the persian gulf! qatar! layover in dubai! i will, by hook or by crook, swim in the sea between saudi arabia and iran!
in a moment of splurge, i ordered chinese food. no time to cook and the phone conversation i had with the airline (emirates) earlier was ridiculous. i had requested a vegetarian meal and he said there would be no veg meal option because there would be no meal service at all. wait. what?! on a jet blue flight for five hours, i understand. i pack my burrito and they shower me with chips and cookies.
but twelve and a half hours with no meal?! i was shocked.
i ordered chinese food.
and since i'd eaten my customary day ration of peanut butter toast at 6:30am, it being twelve hours later, i was ravenous. but a whole order of sesame noodles on an empty stomach? perhaps not the wisest...
excitement was replaced with moaning gluttony. and then a sudden coma. surely i couldn't fly to the middle east tonight. how would i keep my eyes open another minute?
and then my jade came home. i was so grateful for the chance to say goodbye (it had been unclear if he would make it home in time from work). so grateful for a man to be sad that i was leaving , to miss me already, but to also feel excitement for what i would see.
this had not formerly been the case with others.
but jade, he carried my suitcase to the car and sent me off with big love. actually, it was his suitcase. ah, how many suitcase sets have i lost to the bedbugs? two sets, to be presise. enough. not that i'm bitter.
and so, i rock the peterbilt duffle. got a problem with that? talk to the palace. i am their guest. it said so in my 'welcome to doha' packet.
so to the airport i go. 25 degrees and i only wear a blouse because hello? car service both ways and 80 degree destination. i feel wrapped in luxury. or unwrapped by luxury.
i arrive at jfk a little less than 90 minutes before my flight. some people advised 3 hours, some 2. but the gentleman (and now i use that term loosely, and wonder why i trusted a man who tried to tell me we'd be sent for 12.5 hours with no food). he told me if i checked in online, i only needed 90 minutes. the emirates website went so far as to suggest 60. so it was without urgencey that i made my way to the security line. oh, that was naive. the eight lines of people who should have (if we were, for example, in the jet blue terminal) been routed into eight lines of xray machines. instead, there were two lines and a nightmare merge reminicent of L.A. rush house and enough road rage to start a war.
we stood in mosh pit like conditions, growling at each other, each trying to extract pity and perhaps advance our place in 'line', with fears of missing our flights. more terrifying to instead realize were were all fucked. seeing the monitors flashing 'dubai: last call', and having finally swallowed the guilt of others excuses, i pushed past the man with no ear, the toddler insistantly performing the fake cry and the unfortunate chap whose 'british sensibilities' were offended, i finally emerged panting from the xray machine, running to the gate, shoelaces clicking behind me, belt hanging loose around my neck, laptop haphazardly slung under one armpit, clear toiletry bag under the other, open peterbilt duffle covered with cat hair, passport and boarding pass pinched between my teeth. classy. but i got on that damn plane.
i was seated with peggy, who i will work with for the next week. i had earlier grumpily shot down jade's optimistic flight consolations. "i don't need any new friends!" i feared discofort, awkward interactions, but instead we hit it off beautifully, feeling quite a kinshop of experiences and values.
and the flight, by the way, did include meals. three of them. of course, mine being vegetarian. at the check in counter, when i related my phone experience, the counter girl was shocked. "you should file a complaint!" and as much of a fan of our friend blue, i'm sorry to say that emirates kicked jetblue's ass. i spent the first hour flipping through the touch screen of hundreds of current, classic, foreign movies, tv series, make your own music playlists, podcasts, computer cord, power plug ins, usb ports, blankets, little purse full of sox and face masks and funny colorful 'do not disturb' style stickers which i was temped to stick to my forehead. hot towels, hot meals, free wine. in economy class. i watched 3 moves, 4 episodes of 'flight of the conchords', a documentary of frank lloyd wright, and still slept like a baby. happy.