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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...

jeudi 2 février 2017

A MAN WHO DOES NOT LIKE TO TAKE THE SHORTEST ROUTE TO THE DESTINATION: THE MINDFUL JOURNEY ITSELF IS IMPORTANT

It is a Friday evening at 8 30 pm, I am at the Executive Club 4th floor at the Madrid Barajas Airport Hilton Hotel. It is 230 pm in Miami, which I left exactly 52 hours ago to travel to the same destination which can be done by a direct flight of about 9 hours.
Why 52 hours instead of 9 hours?
Quality of Life rather than the Quantity, my dear Watson.
Imagine all the new and old friends that I met on this trip? Always pleased to see a familiar face and always eager to make new friends.. on the air, on the ground ..
My sister’s husband dropped me off at Gate 3 Concourse D at Miami International Airport, TSA pre check and security check were a breeze.
Made my way to the Centurion Club. I did not enter the Admirals Club of the American Airlines, as I was anticipating the friendly faces at the Centurion Club. I was not disappointed.
 Paloma the busy bartender, Yunior the efficient Maitre D’, Michelle at the Reception and Mayte at the Massage.
This is what America and especially Miami an interesting place to visit: Colombia, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba all touching you in a matter of minutes.
It was too early for a Sauvignon Blanc from NZ, but Earl Grey tea, and some offerings from Michele Bernstein’s cuisine.
Mayte’s (she is from Sancti Spiritus, Cuba) massage was so good that I was relaxed all through the first flight of this journey, Miami to Boston.
2 hours 45 minutes, Seat 1 D, the usual mediocre meal offering, an unappetizingly large serving of Quinoa with  vegetables. I didn’t drink as I knew what was waiting for me on my next flight.
As this flight arrived earlier than the opening of the Qatar Airways check in desks (no e-check in, no TSA pre check, in general Boston Airport did feel like a third world airport, as are many US airports). I spent a little time at the American Airlines Admirals Club, with an ambiance not worth mentioning, except for the long bartender. A young lady by the name of Jazmin made some fresh guacamole, tasted it, as I did not want the stomach to be full for the QR Qatar Airways offerings a few hours later. (Some foreigners in the USA, live in some fear, which they have a reason to, as seen just a couple of days later by an Executive Order of the President, Jazmin did not want a photo taken, and I have noticed that some of the Mexican ladies working at Hotels would refuse to speak Spanish and will answer you in broken English.)
Outside the terminal, the air was cold, the inter terminal buses ran only every 15-20 minutes but quickly enough deposited at the International Terminal E.
Upstairs and immediately attended at the Check in by an inexperienced girl in hijab of Algerian origin, but with the help of her colleague, nevertheless gave me a favourite seat, 1 K
I quickly went through TSA and Security and was eager to greet the Colombian lady from Medellin who works at the Air France Lounge. As expected the AF staff, both francophone black Africans were unfriendly but the Colombians who worked at the lounge made up for it.
It was close to 20.15 , a leisurely walk to gate E8, watching people dozing off waiting to board their flights to distant destinations: Air France, Lufthansa, British Airways.. Some new players, the Low Cost Norwegian Airlines, beware, they were hours late!
 The boarding was quick, I was the first one on the plane, I made myself quickly comfortable. Hind from Rabat appears, I request a glass of champagne, knowing fully well it would be COMTES, as I had left over gastritis from my days in the Reservation, I thought, just a personal opinion, that Champagne must be good for Gastritis? Warm towels, pajamas, slippers all arrive quickly. I chose a salmon appetizer and a beef main dish (wrong choice, paneer would have been a better choice, chicken was the other choice). Ice cream and Karak Cardamom Chai completed the meal. The plane was leaving the tip of Canada when the meal was completed, slept well, and woke up over Egypt. Soo from Penang was happy to be going home, as it was Chinese New Year, time to be with the family. She offered me a nice omelet and another Chai and soon we were descending into Doha.
 My favourite seat in Airbus 350 Seat 1 K






 Soo from Penang was happy to be going home when she arrived in Doha!





I made the mistake of signing up for the DOHA city tour, a mistake because the other attendees had to clear immigration which took over one and half hours, so the city tour shrunk to a visit to the Souq which I had visited on another occasion.
 Above is the area where J passengers clear the Immigration, tea, coffee and savouries were waiting for you if you decide to enjoy them before joining the short line at the immigration where your picture was taken and passport checked and stamped. Qatar welcomes people to take a break during their long flights which they can either do it at a hotel, or in the quiet comfort of their lounges or at the airport shops.
 Al Mourjan Lounge at Doha Airport, arguably one of the best Airport Lounges in the world 
 The above is the arrivals lounge in case you want to relax before you go to the city. Refreshments and meals are available and people are eager to serve you.
 Souq and in the back ground Islamic Art Museum. Souq is quite a colourful place.