Travel Stories : Bouncing East to West
Flight Attendant Layovers: Days go by and by and by. Since Seoul I have travelled to Sydney, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand. I have also just returned from New York City. The six day Auzzie trip, including three energy – testing layovers, is long and always fueled with excitement; plans are made and us flight attendants are off experiencing all we can in the limited hours we have. Endurance is stretched and I am quite in awe, at times, as to how we perform so professionally, elegantly and with such patience on the flights. Like speed – dating, we are speed travelling, and then we put on our uniforms and act the part with sincerity and care for complete strangers. Once I return to my apartment in Dubai, I used to be torn between catching up with my friends, should they be in the city, and retreating to my pajamas or to the beach. One involves eventful escapades and the other a blissful near- coma experience. One entails make-up and fuss and the other, acceptable neglect! My friends usually win the “fight” and I thank them for their always exuberant energy and impossible- to- decline invitations! Have I mentioned how these friends are my family?
Tonight, however, I decline. I am a Mom! Exhausted from a Saudi Arabia, five hour “turn- around” that turned into a fourteen hour day as we experienced delays on ground, and in the air, the latter due to trials and practices in Dubai airspace by aviators around the world preparing for “The Most Expensive Show in the World”: The Dubai Airshow. Today’s operational flight drafted me to find allowances in myself that I did not know existed. The Islamic peoples are currently conducting their pilgrimage to the Mecca, and full, demanding flights kept crew on their toes. Adhering to their culture and protecting their zam zam water onboard that they collected from the fountain located in the Mecca, careful not to touch men in passing after they have vowed to Miqat and are in their Ihram dressing after a long procedure of washing in the lavatories – picture men of all ages and shapes in nearly nothing, draped in white cloth and as one looks down the aircraft cabins there is a sea of white clothed passengers. I have spoken Arabic I didn’t even know I knew! Dutifully, I informed passengers of the direction of the Qibla and gave space for prayer on the aircraft.
Home Sweet Home! I miss my husband and son!
Presently, I am at a restless – rest now, rewarded with work well done, but beaten. Fatigued, but gladly in a comfortable and familiar room. My bedroom. Not another hotel room with strange sounds and smells, where I worry to wake up in alarming wonder, initially, as to where I am. My family is near me sleeping and I cannot wait to wake to them!