jeudi 18 mai 2017


I met Aksam AbouThahir from Matare, Sri Lanka on 2 August 2012, when I arrived at Doha (the Old) airport. He was working at the Business Class Lounge and our friendship began then and over the years we would run into each other in Al Mourjan Business Class Lounge of the New Hamad International Airport at Doha.
On arrival from Singapore, we met at the Arrivals Lounge and he was proud to show me around this new lounge with various facilities.
As I mentioned before elsewhere, I very seldom interact with other passengers but have had good conversations and learned a lot from various employees of Qatar Airways.

Because my flight to New York was not until 830 am the next day, Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism had put me up at the Shangri la Hotel, a nice gift indeed.
The uber driver was a Mr Mohammed (one has to get used to this name if you are in a Moslem country!) an unemployed IT engineer from Calicut, now driving Uber in Doha. He had this to say: Pay in Qatar is good, but life is not enjoyable. In the manner of victorian english spoken by most Indians, this meant that there was not many things affordable to do in Qatar in contrast to Dubai or Abu Dhabi.
I was well received by the Hisham Abbas look alike, Adnan from Egypt at the front desk. 

It was also good to have a nice conversation with HANI from Bandung in Indonesia while waiting for the Uber to take me to the Cuban Embassy in Doha in a nice residential district, New Dafna.
The sun was setting as I made my way through to the Embassy of the Republic of Cuba, where I was cordially received by the Ambassador who turned out to be a very interesting man. 
As I was leaving, the Ambassador asked me, tu nombre es hebreo,no? I wanted to be as diplomatic as possible not to enter political conversations, Yes, I am an Oriental Jew (Mizrachi)
to my great surprise, the Ambassador spoke perfect Hebrew!

Early in the morning, another Uber driver (they all seem to be subcontinental people, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka; one of them, yet another Mohammed from Ampara in Sri Lanka, send me a message of thanks to my telephone number!) dropped me at Hamad International Airport, one of the nicest airports in the world to begin long haul journeys!
I went upstairs to the sit down restaurant at Al Mourjan Lounge and helped myself to Uppama and Sambar when Aksam appeared again. He was going home to Colombo that evening but was working during the day at the Al Mourjan. He introduced me to several of his colleagues, including Marcel, the manager of all the Lounges (Al Mourjan, Al Safwa, Al Maha, Arrivals Lounge, F/B Immigration Lounge, fortunately I have visited them all and enjoyed them), Rakesh yet another old hand, now the lounge manager, Sayyid from Al Safwa stopped to say Hello..Anup from Nepal was in charge of buggy transportation and Aadil from Sri Lanka helped me at the gate.  a little chat with Linda, a shona from Zimbabwe, two visits to her country with good memories.
Qatar Airways without doubt is the best AIRLINE in the world, their service begins and ends long before and long after the actual flight.
I eagerly look forward to my long haul flights, and imagine who I would meet, Cabin Attendants, on my side!
This time it was Elphyra from Singapore who has been with QR for five years. She is an accountant by training and hopes to go back to her profession after savouring the world a little bit. Even though the flight was long, 13 hours and 15 minutes I did not get to interact with others.
Usually I do spend time talking to the Cabin Crew and I fondly recollect nice conversations with Maria from Romania, Alexandra also from Romania, Helen from Uganda, Christopher Mellocastro from Goa, Zorica from Serbia and I long to see them again, but I think the company prohibit them from contacting the passengers. So dear friends, if ever you are reading this blog, I want to thank you once again and hope we meet again!
On QR flights to USA, they cross into southern Iran, fly close to Shiraz and Isfahan and after a while you begin to recognize the bare mountains and cliffs and small towns in that isolation.
I think fondly of Iran, the love I had missed, a love instilled in me by my father who lived in Abadan (just now I looked for a reprint of a book called the Jews of Abadan! but it is lost among the hundreds of books at the Blue House)

Once again Sambar, Lentil pancakes.. while looking at Iran ..

Somehow I couldnt work up an apetite, even though the above was inviting, did not enjoy it. On the other hand one and half hour before arriving, Elphyra brought sticky rice and chicken, which was enjoyable.

It was the last of my ten flights with Qatar Airways in fourteen days.. 
when would be my next QR flight?