Kuwait’s Ms. America
It was a loooonnnnngggg trip. There were what we call “travel mercies” – blessings. On two very crowded flights, I had an empty seat next to me. I ran into some really caring cabin crew members, people who looked like they really like what they are doing. For a trip with a lot of potential for disaster, it went well. As my husband says – any time the number of successful landings equal the number of take-offs, it’s a good trip.
The flight into Kuwait had a majority of two kinds of people – Dutch soldiers, who came onto the plane already drunk (and REEKING of alcohol) who were drinking all the way to Kuwait, and tired businessmen, who sacked out – I was surrounded by a symphony of snores. I didn’t mind that at all; I am betting they work hard and have families waiting for them, and just needed to catch up on a little sleep before getting back to Kuwait.
We all have our little pet phobias. I have a horror of airplane lack-of-cleanliness, and I have little slippers I put on as soon as I get on the plane. Arriving in Kuwait, I changed back into my boots, but horrors! My toes feel all cramped up; I am so used to wearing sandals. I think my feet swelled during the flights!
Everything goes smoothly, even another line opening up as I get to immigration, and my bags come off the flight right away, customs doesn’t ask me any questions, not even about the canned Alaska smoked salmon – now these are more travel mercies! But then, with my poor little feet screaming in dismay, I have to make the long walk down what I think of as the Miss America runway.
For those of my readers who do not live in Doha or in Kuwait, who have never visited me and experienced this for yourself, I will explain. Imagine, when you arrive, as you exit customs, you have to walk about 100 yards to where you will be met. Imagine along the route, there are hundreds of people waiting for others to arrive. Their full attention is on whoever is on the “runway” at the moment. My toes behave; I will NOT limp as I stride down the runway, refraining from doing a queenly wave at those along both sides of the the parade route.
But I can’t help but have a big goofy grin on my face at the hilariousness of running this ordeal at the end of a long trip, skin alligatored by hours of moisture-sucking airplane air, feet swollen, clothes rumpled, make-up worn off . . .now this is where having an abaya and veil makes a lot of sense.
And the greatest travel mercy of all, my husband waiting at the end of the long walk, the car nearby, and a quick exit and trip home. It is well after midnight, but we have so much to catch up on, even though we talked twice a day while I was gone. Today, I slept until noon and I am making a very very slow start on the day.