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CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD

CUBA IS THE FUTURE FOR LATIN AMERICA AND PERHAPS THE WORLD On my way out of Cuba, from La Habana, on COPA airlines flight to Panama, I w...

mardi 30 août 2011

MIAMI HOME OF DEEP FRIENDSHIPS


Miami has always held a special place in my heart, ever since I arrived there as a student! over the years I have come to visit, and for a memorable period of time, had lived there as a Trainee Doctor in Endocrinology. The greatest gift of Miami, was an introduction to Cuba which continues to this day. Seeds of deep friendships were also sown in this fertile ambience and on this visit, I was able to fully enjoy some of these binding friendships.
I enjoy coming to Miami, even if I dont live here, I am at home here... it is as if I live here...

dimanche 28 août 2011

Tropics are a Hammock for Lovers.. yes it is, in Miami

with Miami it has always been a love affair for me.. have enjoyed the unique beauty of this city and the energy and the ambience now fed constantly from the south.. each and every country in south america has their presence here in Miami..

America is Certainly the MOST friendly country for a Frequent Traveler!

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL
KINDNESS OF STRANGERS
I am spending a few days in Miami, enjoying the sunshine, relaxing at the beaches and eating well. The last item brought me to the Whole Food Stores in Aventura, where shopping carefully for organic foods is always a pleasure.
But this post is not about eating well or organic food but about the kindness of Americans. I have been traveling to USA on so a regular basis that I no longer feel a stranger here, I am never here long enough to get deeply involved in the superficiality but long enough to understand the nature of the people who inhabit this country.
On this visit to the USA, I have already been to Seattle, Portland, Omaha, American Indians and now South Florida. This is the microcosm of the world, where the world is treated well. Immigrants in no other country can hope to be treated with such dignity as in the USA. I have been watching the Latins walking with their heads up high, whether they spent their childhoods in Pinar del Rio or Cochabamba! Somalis in Seattle, Asians so fresh to Portland that the mist of that continent still clung to their persons.. and South Florida where I can get by with Spanish and Portugese…
In a few years time, the “white” americans outside of the Midwest will have lost its meaning, the mixing of the immigrant population and the diversity is such that there would be an economic distinction between people, such as poor and rich , and the colour and national origin would be lost amidst that.
I had stocked the required food stuff from Whole Foods and walked towards the rented Avis car and deposited the various packages in the boot (trunk) of the car. Decided to pop into Best Buy for a minute, and within about a short span of time was back at the car.
That is when I realized that I had lost the keys to the car. Fortunately I had the local cellular phone that I use. Before making any frantic calls, I decided to go back to the shops I had been a few minutes earlier to enquire whether or not any one had turned in the keys. I went back to the car to check, to find out that the newer cars are virtually burglar proof and once they are locked, you do need a professional to come and open it.
Ah well, is this happening to me? I am in the parking lot of a shopping mall, not anywhere near a residential area, with a rental car full of food sitting there locked.
I am staying at the beach house of my sister just five miles away and the AVIS rent a car facility at the Fort Lauderdale airport is less than 10 miles away. And there was no help in sight, in terms of a taxi or a machinist or a person with knowledge of breaking into cars!
After waiting for a few minutes, I called the number of AVIS at Fort Lauderdale airport. The automated query system wanted to know whether I needed roadside assistance, I pressed 1 and very quickly a voice came over. I had difficulty understanding the accent, since it was a local American accent, very strong. He was not connected to AVIS but a contractor who does the roadside help for AVIS rent a car company. I knew that he was strange to the rental car business when he didn't understand anything about Frequent Renters or the AvisFirst Programme. Before I could explain, he was in a hurry to tell me how much his services would cost me. I tried not to be overcome by the magisterial pronouncements.
375 dollars for the lost key
150 dollars for towing the car to AVIS
Loss of the contract with the company or extra payment for bringing another car, which would mean an extra 200 dollars.
I said to myself without getting upset, I know that I am in the land of such exploitation of transport difficulties but 800 dollars is it a fine or punishment for loosing keys? Is this man telling me the truth or is it a joke?
As a recent practitioner of Classical Yoga Psychology, I said to myself, no need to get upset about this, but watch this as you are watching a movie, detach your self from this.
I felt I was in a theatrical production and I was trying to act my part, Boot for trunk, Z instead of Zee, so the other person on the phone knows and judges a foreigner.
But this parasite on the society, for those who exploit the situations such as this are parasite who do not provide a serive but they do it at an exaggerated price, was kind enough to listen to me
I am a frequent renter from Avis, could you please call them at Fort Lauderdale airport location and ask them what concessions I am entitled to.
If he had not made that telephone call, the story would have had a much sadder ending.
I was holding on to my telephone, hoping it had enough battery for this long, at times incoherent conversation. He comes back, Hello Sir, I spoke to them, they said someone in the area would bring the key to you. His name is Mr Edwards. Before I could ask for an explanation, the slimiest example of exploitative humanity had hung up to attend to other unfortunates. I thought, AVIS recognizing my status as a Frequent Renter is sending a man from Fort Lauderdale office, which is only a short distance away with a master key.
I had given the intermediary all the details, the car, the plate number, my mobile phone number, the vague address of Whole Foods ( US 1, across from Aventura hospital which I could see from the parking lot). I was wondering what will happen. Would Avis come? Would they send someone? At least I felt that I had escaped a shark who wanted to charge me close to 800 dollars and that I was in the safe hands of a legitimate business such as AVIS.
But I was not prepared for the surprise the next telephone call brought me.
The telephone rang a few minutes later. It was a sweet voice form Avis in Fort Lauderdale.
Hello, Sir, a Mr. Edwards who was in the parking lot of Whole Foods found the keys and he called us and he has volunteered to return back to the Whole Foods to bring you the keys.
Could this be really happening? Doesn't this happen only in the movies?
All Life’s but a stage, did Shakespeare said that?
I was astounded by this. This was better a solution than I had hoped for. Someone finding the keys and finding a way to return to me.
She also gave me a telephone number which I called. A gentle voice, American one, answered, he said, he will be at the Café at Whole Food in a few minutes.
He found the keys, I kept on thinking, he could easily find the car, since the keys are equipped with alarms, he could have driven away in it or taken what was inside, but this gentleman is not like that, otherwise why did he call Avis? Why didn't he just throw away the keys or just take it to one of the shops and go on with his business. Somehow, from the beginning I had a good feeling about mr E. that he had gone the extra mile to help a fellow human being.
What makes us want to help another person? A personal experience? A genuine desire? An empathy? Modern lives are so full of commitments and a time urgency that it is better not to get involved and go on your way. Obviously Mr. E was not like that.
A few minutes later, I met Mr. E at the café of the Whole Foods. He came over and he had the keys in his hands.
He found the keys in the parking lot, sure enough; it said AVIS and a toll free number, and also the license plates of the car. He looked around and he couldn't find a Chevrolet Impala nearby, so he decided to go home and went on line and was able to track the car down to Avis rent a car company in Fort Lauderdale. Remember, Avis is located in every single metropolitan area and there are thousands of Avis locations, but without his investigation, he couldn't have found out that this Chevrolet Impala with the said license plates belonged to Avis at Fort Lauderdale Airport.
He decided to call them and they confirmed his doubts, yes the car was Avis rental car and it matched the records and confirmed that it had been rented to me.
So this kind man, Mr. E, he must have been busy all the time since he left the parking lot, it was all well under one hour, decides to drive back to the Whole Foods and wait for me at the Café.
I am a traveler and I have been very lucky in my travels but Americans are just an unique breed of people. They are very kind to foreigners. And I can tell you this proudly, in my twenty years of traveling to this country, I am yet to have a bad experience, despite the locations I travel to, the frequency with which I travel.
Thank You, America the Beautiful.
The kindness was not to end there. When I went to return the car at the Avis Fort Lauderdale Airport Counter, the person behind the counter, with whom I had conversed in French earlier was efficient, professional and very very helpful. Thank you Avia, just for this gentleman and his efficiency I might even fly into Fort Lauderdale and rent from Avis there the next time, rather than Miami.
One thing for sure, after completing between 100 and 200 rentals with AVIS rent a car, there is no need for another choice for me, I am loyal to AVIS, because they are loyal to me…

jeudi 18 août 2011

SELF REALIZATION: THE REALITY OF EVERY DAY ORDINARY LIVES OF EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE

Amidst the Spiritual Ambience of UmonHon Indian Nation Pow Wow August
2011


There is so much TALK about spirituality these days in all media: electronic and written that people forget that it is something to be felt and lived in rather than talked about or in competition about.
Fake Spirituality is for sale in the West like the Snake Oils for cure of illnesses of the past. It is easy to spot a fake: one that displays competitive spirit ie how well they can do various yoga postures, better than the others; always thinking of a hidden agenda and how to use others to fulfill their agendas. They are in general mediocre people with no real talent but use the hungering of the masses for the nebulous concept of spirituality that they can make a living out of it, or in occasional cases make lots of money out of it.
Being with Indians as the original inhabitants of these two continents are called, a cleansing takes place to observe and consume the simple but powerful bonds among them, the humble behaviour of these strong people and the importance they put on relationships and always, it is doing something for the other person that matters.
I have enjoyed being with them, and I can see that you cannot reach any level of inner consciousness without controlling your ego. The natural lifestyle of the Indians of this continent, demands that your ego is at a lower level, because when your ego is dominant, it builds a wall, and you are looking at the world through a mist, a blurry vision of the world without clarity of purpose.
This is what the Director of the Yoga Institute has to say in the Preface to the thoughts on Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Dr Yogendra.
“Classical Yoga claims for itself removing obvious limitations that cloud our consciousness…If the asanas are done just for display and competition…. Or for recreation or merely physical relaxation, it is sure that these do not remove any of these obstacles to spiritual awareness. (that is the handiwork of Kleshas, structural defects of the mind that deter us from realizing our true self). IN FACT SUCH ACTS ONLY STRENGTHEN THE KLESHAS (emphasis is mine)”
The person who introduced me to Classical Yoga repeatedly has written to me: Thoughts or Intentions without action has no value. If you are on a path of self realization or awareness, it has to be accompanied by changes in your way of thinking about yourself, the world and the nature including other people around you.
“The Sanskrit word YOGA, as used by Patanjali, refers to a STATE of MIND where thoughts, emotions and actions are held in check”
There is no place better than the Give Away Ceremonies which are part of the Pow Wow among the Indian tribes of North America.
Yesterday, after mourning for their father for the prescribed four years, the children began to celebrate the event of his journey, with an elaborate process of honouring and showing gratefulness for the many people who had participated in the four year long remembrance.
Western mind think differently, not in any inferior fashion but just differently than the indigenous mind. When celebrating an event, the Indian celebrant is the one who gives the gifts to others, not the one who is receiving the gifts. It is showing your joy by sharing what you have with others, not expecting Gifts as some form of exchange of social bond. To understand another culture, whether it is American Indian or ancient Yoga philosophy, one cannot do a comparative study of one psychology or philosophy against the other, but bring down your ego , admit to your ignorance and allow your mind to clear itself of its limitations and barriers in understanding other forms of thinking. And Please, never come to the Indigenous peoples with Hidden Agendas, in the guise of purporting to help them, you have plans to help yourself. This is not a form of an social exchange so common among the Western Minds, and as can be gleaned well from the study by Marcel Mauss.(The Gift)
It is a fine morning at the UmonHon Indian Reservation. The morning sun is mild and caressing. The temperature is a pleasant 13 C or 60 F.
This morning, my Gratitude List contains the UmonHon family which honoured me by accepting me as a member. I have always felt that during my years with American Indians, they have done more for me than I have been able to do for them as a Consultant Physician.
Mitakuye Oyasin. To all my Relatives..

samedi 13 août 2011

UmonHon Indian Annual Harvest Dance


what a great privilege it is for me, a jewish boy from the southern suburbs of Melbourne, now attached by my soul to Cuba, to be witnessing the familial warmth of this get together of the Indians!

mercredi 10 août 2011

Gorge(ous) Oregon and its Wonderful People

GORGE(EOUS) PORTLAND AND OREGON: FRIENDLY PEOPLE IN A
ENVIRONMENTALLY PLEASING REGION


I have always felt that this part of the USA is the most beautiful part ..add to that lovely people.. Imagine engaging in a discourse about ADHD and pesticides with a young man dreaming of an Organic Farm based community with strong convictions about his culture!
Food the variety is mind boggling
The best is of course is the nature
Just a short drive away from Portland you can be in places of breathtaking beauty.
We went on just a short hike with the Columbia River in view.. and also the sandbanks at Hood River..


This is a nice family hike for any one with the ability to walk a mile, rest, and walk a mile back. The trail starts out very broad and easy, climbs a bit and has one or two steep spots, but overall it's quite easy. Little kids will be fine - just hold their hand in one or two spots where there are drop offs. Near the falls the trail loops - you can stay to the right and come back the same way to avoid the sheer drops on the upper trail. It didn't look as though there was anything to be gained by taking the upper loop except some anxious moments, so we stayed low. Near the falls the space opens up and there is plenty of place to throw rocks and play. Take a picnic and find a nice spot to relax. The falls are beautiful and powerful even in late season. We went in mid-September. The leaves were just starting to change a bit, and the canyon and cliff walls were quite impressive near the top. This was a very nice way to spend a few hours with the family on a gorgeous day.
http://www.localhikes.com/Hikes/Wahclella_6442.asp
The weather was picture perfect, almost the best weather in all of America during the visit. 80 F during the day 60 F at night low humidity, blue skies and no rain…
Of course for me the best part of it all is that my two brothers live there!

vendredi 5 août 2011

Welcome to America.. So Good to be in Seattle

Arrived late last night at the Seattle Airport and within the next few hours I realized I have landed in USA..
the driver who took me to the hotel was from Puerto Barrios, Guatemala. we talked about Livingston and Rio Dulce and Belize.
the person who checked me in was from Gujerat. We talked about Patels and the ubiquitous Indian motel keepers.
The person who drove the shuttle back was Mexican but spoke English well despite my speaking Spanish to her.
The taxi driver from the airport to town was a Sikh from India, I also had a sikh cab driver the last time I was here. Front desk of the hotel was manned by White Americans and the lady cleaning the room was from Mexico and the person who came up to help put together something had a distinct levantine accent.
I was hungry, so went down in search of a sandwich. The Valet was Ethiopian and he suggested Subway, I said to him, I would really prefer something a little better, he suggested a Pita sandwich Mediterranean place. I had a Falafel Special sandwich which was prepared by a Moroccan with whom I could talk about Chaabi music and the icon of that genre in Morocco. Went to the corner store maned by Chinese.
So, the next time you have a desire to judge America and say unkind things of this country being without a culture, remember, this country is crawling with culture and each person is allowed to keep their culture and religion and practices, unlike UK or France where there is a strong pressure to assimilate and give up your identity.
I am glad to be here, in this lovely city, named after a chief of the Squamish Indians who gave the famous speech about Ecology, more than a hundred years ago...

mercredi 3 août 2011

DETOXIFY FASHIONABLY THE NEW AGE WAY

All through our history, diseases have been attributed to a variety of External Forces: humours, poisons, witches, brews, minority people, monkeys and the newest of these trends popular among the new age people seem to be TOXINS and various ways they can help you cleanse yourself. In science the definition of TOXIN is very narrow, it is a poisonous substance produced by a living cell. Man made substances which are poisonous are considered Toxicants. And detoxification has a very different meaning in Science than in the Popular culture.
I came across this article on a Medical Journalism magazine, those “ toxin affecionados or those who think they are polluted with (toxins)” should read the full article, available on line.


Detoxifying fashionably
Category: Alternative medicine • Antivaccination lunacy •Entertainment/culture • Medicine • Popular culture • Pseudoscience •Quackery • Skepticism/critical thinking
http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2011/06/detoxifying_fashionably.php


But how do you get rid of toxins?
Given that these magical, mystical "toxins" are ubiquitous, the methods proposed to eliminate them are legion. Still, they tend to break down into five main methods. Often two or more of these methods are combined in order to flush out those evil humors toxins:
• Diet. Key to many "detox" regimens is diet. These can range from all juice diets such as the "Master Cleanse" diet, which consists of lemonade, maple syrup, and Cayenne peppers (I kid you not) to raw food diets such as the ones I've discussed (cooking food apparently loads it up with toxins) to any number of other bizarre diets.
• Colon cleansing. Discussed in depth by yours truly nearly five years agoand better known as regularity über alles.
• Heavy metals. This is where "chelation" therapy comes in. In essence, the claim is that we are all overloaded with "toxic" heavy metals. The treatment is, of course, chelation therapy. Unfortunately for quacks (and fortunately for us), genuine heavy metal poisoning is increasingly uncommon. Removing lead from paint has made it less and less common for babies to be poisoned when they put paint chips in their mouth, and removing lead from gasoline has decreased the amount of lead people breathe in. Moreover, there are specific criteria for the diagnosis of poisoning due to specific metals, and chelation is only useful for some metals. It's also important to remember that, for all the claims of anti-vaccine activists that mercury in the thimerosal preservative that used to be in some childhood vaccines causes autism, not only is there no evidence to support this claim, but there is a lot of evidence against it. Worse, often the diagnosis of "heavy metal toxicity" made by alt-med practitioners is based on "provoked" urine levels, a methodology that has no validity.
• Skin detoxification methods. These methods claim to purge the "toxins" by eliminating them through the skin. They include modalities such as "cupping," pads like the infamous Kinoki footpads whose manufacturers claim they can draw toxins out through the soles of the feet, and the even more infamous "detox foot bath," where the water turns colors regardless of whether your feet are in there or not.
• Manipulative methods. These tend to break down into methods like massage therapy and "lymphatic drainage," basically manual methods that claim to "improve lymph flow" and thus "detoxify" the tissues. Examples include rolfing and lymphatic drainage massage (which, while feeling good, doesn't remove any toxins that anyone can show).
The bottom line is that in medicine, "detoxification" has a specific meaning, and alt-med "detox" believers have appropriated the term for something that has little or nothing to do with its real medical meaning. Basically, in real medicine "detoxification" means removing a real and specific toxin or toxicant (or set of toxins and/or toxicants). In the case of real heavy metal poisoning, chelation therapy is real detoxification. Similarly, using lactulose to decrease the production absorption of ammonia by the gut is an example of detoxification. In contrast, alt-med "detoxification" is far more akin to the exorcism of evil spirits, the removal of evil humors, or the driving away of miasmas.
Fashionable nonsense
It's not clear to me what's behind this latest wave of detox faddism, but it's clear that the concept that we are somehow being "contaminated" or poisoned is nothing new. Perhaps my favorite pop culture example is from a movie that's nearly 50 years old, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. In this blackest of black comedies, U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper has a paranoid delusion that fluoridation of water is a Communist plot that will lead to the contamination of the "precious bodily fluids" of every American. Acting on this belief, General Ripper initiates an all out first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, and the rest of the movie involves the increasingly darkly funny efforts of the U.S. government to recall the bombers and abort the attack in order to prevent global Armageddon. The idea "contamination" and the need for "purification" goes back much farther than that, though, as Trebay notes:
The idea of toxicity is a constant in Western culture, said Noah Guynn, director of the humanities program at the University of California, Davis, and a researcher into the cultural meanings of ritual cleansing. "We're obsessed with the idea that our environments have turned against us, that they are poisoning us and we have no choice in the matter," Dr. Guynn added. "We've been contaminated by something that you cannot eradicate, you can only treat."
Whatever the reason for the resurgence of belief in various "detox" modalities, one thing's for sure. Unnamed, unknown, undefined "toxins" are the new evil humors and miasmas, and detoxification is the newest fashionable form of ritual purification. It's a religion far more than anything

mardi 2 août 2011

WHEN YOU ARE FREQUENT FLIER, A SENSE OF DETACHMENT IS NECESSARY

I boarded the flight to Omaha from Detroit Airport. When they announced that volunteers were needed to give up their seats on this flight, I did a quick turn around and presented myself at the desk. I was told “The next flight is at 3 pm. It will get you there at 5 pm.” This meant that there would be a delay of about two and a half hours. I responded “No worries, I am not in any great hurry to get to Omaha.”
For this gesture, I was given a voucher of USD400 to be used in any Delta Flight and a USD10 voucher for snack at the airport. I duly spent this unexpected gift on a nice fruit and nut bagel with smoked salmon and coffee. USD400 would buy a round trip ticket from Miami to the Indians, if it is booked early. One good gesture deserves another; I can now invite my sister to come and watch the Omaha Pow Wow!
So many people have been kind ever since leaving the terre (what is this ? ) of CDG Charles De Gaulle Airport. The staff on AF Business Class couldn't be nice enough, very polite and friendly while serving mouth watering cuisine.
The Girl at the front desk of the hotel had a very Christian sounding name and I was so taken back when she said she was from Pakistan! I wanted to give her my Hilton Honours number but I didn't have an Internet connection (10 usd/day at the hotel), so she gave me a promotion code which allowed me Free Internet in the room.
Rahul at Delta could have technically charged me USD150 for changing my itinerary since the fault of my delay in departure from Washington was Air France’s not Delta’s.
The walk-in-rate at the Hilton Hotel Brand was only USD85 instead of the usual USD150, so thanks to the lean and hungry looking Ali the Iraqi driver, I could enjoy a very comfortable night and a good cooked breakfast.
Now this gift of 410 dollars from Delta!
Also while waiting at the desk an artistic looking lady, who said she was 50 years old but didn't look it, started a conversation which ended up in our trading emails. I look forward to hearing from her. She lives in New York city with her husband and children.
I thought to try my luck at the Delta SkyClub at the Airport. I went in there and explained that I had come from Paris yesterday and normally they don't honour the Air France Customers on days other than the day of arrival and departure. Because of my delay, she said she will make an exception and let me into the Club.
That is from where I am writing this note.
Yoga and Happiness indeed.
So the entire trip from Paris to Washington which was unpleasant initially had turned out so well thanks to my non reaction to the events happening around me as my Indian teacher Pierre would say, “Doctor, most of the good things in life are free, it is we who do not appreciate them.”
So I thank all the people, many of them who have made this journey from Paris to the Indians, a very pleasant one.
And the attitude towards that pleasantness lies in my adoption of the classical Yoga attitude of non Attachment while maintaining a “spectator” attitude towards events happening in my life (i.e. do not react and watch each event as if I were watching a movie). As a result, I was able to remain calm and unaffected amidst unexpected turns of events, especially the unpleasant ones.

YOGA AND THE FREQUENT FLIER

Yoga Sutra 1.21
For the keenly intense seekers progress is steady

YOGA AND THE FREQUENT FLIER
This was my first flight aboard the new aircraft Airbus 380-800 belonging to Air France on its route CDG-IAD. I had procured a Premium Economy seat and was looking forward to my trip. Just before leaving home at 0700 (Paris time)(0100 EDT) a terse email informed me that the flight has been delayed from its 1040 departure to 13 50. The message also conveyed an unpleasant news, I have been downgraded to an Economy Seat and that the seats would be allocated only at the airport.
I did my breathing Yoga practices as well as some stretching yoga.
Before Yoga philosophy influenced my mind, I would become anxious at such news, at Air France and find a myriad of ways to avoid the delay and the downgrade! I had recently published a blog on what to do when your flight is delayed!
I took the Yoga attitude. There is no need to be upset, the course of what will happen today will not be determined by you or strangely enough, a revelation to me, by anyone working for Air France!
Arrived at the Terminal 2E CDG, check in area 8 and 9 for Premium Passengers. The airport was busier than normal, as the French are beginning their annual vacations. Even the area reserved for Premium passengers were looking more crowded than usual. I waited my turn, an agent, heavy set by French standards, sat down and nodded me over. In my most polite self, I presented to her my dilemma.
Is there any way for me to get to IAD in time to catch my connecting flight? Non
Is it possible to go to another destination in the USA? Non
Since the ticket had been purchased with Frequent Flier miles, can I change it? Non
By then I realized that NON was going to be the word of the day.
A senior agent is brought over, stern as a Military officer, unusually un-French I thought, the initial chubby one learns something from her on her keyboards, issues me a notice to say I have been downgraded and a request that I go to the Air France office down the hall and that they would provide some compensation for my downgrading. She also gave me a seat, in the economy class, seat 84 B.
I have a Delta Connecting Flight (after all they always proclaim: AF KLM Delta). Can you help with that? Non
“If you miss your flight with Delta, it is their problem and not ours”. I thought that was a strange answer. But I was in the Yoga mood and let it go. One thing is consistent with Air France, they treat all passengers this way, whether you are a Frequent Flier or not… Egalite I suppose!
It was incredible to me that during this time, I had remained calm. I was not annoyed at her arrogance (Yoga sutra says, it is the ignorant people who become arrogant, quite obvious here). The dramas of emotional clutter in her life becomes obvious, an uninteresting job for an arrogant person, which could easily be turned over into a happy job for a more humble person.
For the next one hour, I was in line and confronted two AF agents, one at AF sales office. Once again, Non, Non, Non.
“Your ticket is non refundable, so we cant give you a compensation. Who sent you here?”
Your colleagues at the Frequent Flier Desk
“But why”
So that I can do what they asked me to do, which is to give you this paper. Can you help me?
“Non”
I didn't even have to take deep breaths. Felt calm. What has happened to me, really? I have to watch this drama unfold in front of me, detach myself from this show of inefficiency (much reminded me of the bureaucrats in a totalitarian society).
The elderly lady at Delta Counter near Counter 2 says,
“I don't think I can help you and you will have to pay a penalty to Delta to change the flight from IAD to OMA”
What about the Sky team partnership of AF KLM Delta?
“Non, we can’t help you but I will book you onto a later flight. You get hold of Delta when you read IAD. Good Bye.”
I realized that Yoga is not about Asanas or Breathing but it is about the change in your attitude, to abolish or decrease that which normally bothers you, gets you upset, anxious, gets your heart racing, stomach upset, acid ingestion, etc.
I very calmly walked towards Immigration and Security, which took all of 5 minutes and deposited myself in the comfort of the AF lounge.
Decided to take one last chance and talked to an agent in the lounge, who normally tend to be less harassed at their jobs and friendlier. Not so at AF!
“Non, we can’t change your flight”
So far, every thing has been NON NON NON the only OUI OUI OUI has been in my mind.
The flight is late
That is fine; I am sitting at one of the nicest Airline Clubs that of AF in Paris Terminal 2 E with a glass of champagne and some pita filled with toasted aubergine.
I will miss Delta Connection flight. Is that the worst thing that can happen? There are always other flights, tomorrow.
Penalty. Hotels for overnight stay. All are part of the deal of traveling, if you want a lifestyle of traveling, and lead such a life being here and there, you just have to understand it.
1300 to the gate.
Flight further delayed.
1345 back to the lounge.
Tried my luck one more time, with an AF agent at the lounge
Non, you can’t go on another flight
Non, you can’t change your flight.
I smiled at her politely and was glad that the ferocious bald headed man hissing at passengers were not dealing with me.
Thanks for small mercies!
Unable to connect to the Internet, but there are AF computers at the lounge. Logged on to AF, Delta and Choice Hotels all searching for inspiration.
Viola! I can fly tomorrow on Air France for 25000 miles in Business Class with 231 euros in taxes. Not happy. Not unhappy.
Just before making the decision, decided to go to the desk at the reception.
The fierce baldheaded man in charge, fuming at innocent passengers but I spot a gentle looking young man, who was about to sit down.
Bon Jour and I explained the situation.
For the first time, there was a YES.
“Yes, I think we can change your flight. Let me see your boarding pass. Tomorrow’s earlier flight is full but the later flight has seats on Premium Voyageur. Would you like that?”
Yes, please.
Wait a minute, he continued, it is now 3 15 pm and the flight you are booked is to leave at 400 pm and you can board it at 3 30 pm.
Wait a minute, he continued as he scanned the screen. I see that you have been upgraded to Business Class. It is better for you, isn’t it?
Yes, indeed, I said, smiling, still maintaining my calm.
Who suffered and who did a favour to his mind and body (not to mention friends and family?)
The plumb AF agent? The bespectacled agent at AF sales? The elderly lady at AF/Delta? The bald headed dictator of an AF agent at the lounge? And the other AF agent, the young lady who was too impatient to help a frequent flier?
They all could be helped by learning the classical yoga philosophy. There would be no need for Weight Watchers, Spa treatments, Cellulite reduction creams, psychiatrist at 100 euro/hour, and massage at 60 euros per 30 minute!
Et Moi?
Calm, feeling as generous towards the world as possible. Thinking of my dear ones. In KL. In Paris. In Quiberon. In Miami. In La Habana
Thanks to Classical Yoga and the ease with which my mind incorporated it.
Flight AF 028 Airbus 380-800 Seat 79 A upstairs. Typical AF Affaires Seat
Champagne: Philipponnat Brut Royale Reserve
Wine: Limoux Terroir de Haute Vallee 2008 Cave Sieur d’arques
Dinner: Saumon Grille. Sauce vierge a l’huile d’olive, a la tomate, a l’echalote et au herbes, riz basmati, legumes a l’huile d’olive et au romain
Snack: Legumes au curry et au citron, canapé au saumon marine, macaron sale a la tomate et aux amandes.
The usual cheese, fruits, after dinner drinks and dessert of sable au citron meringue, tartelette saint-domingue et verrine au cappuciino

L Haim Salut a votre santé
(Grateful to MC in KL and MM in Paris).

On arrival at IAD, immigration was Global entry, one minute; the customs took about five minutes of waiting for the luggage and no time at the desk. A very pleasant agent at Delta, Rahul, helped me rebook my flight for the day after, a thin Iraqi migrant driving the van for Hilton Embassy Suites persuaded me to go with him, Elisa John at the desk was more than welcoming. And Margarita at the breakfast table had tales of South America to tell me.

All is well that ends well, said Shakespeare. But a good understanding of the Classical Yoga philosophy does help!