dimanche 20 août 2017



To travel from Havana to Doha, one has to transit either in Miami or New York and this time I arrived the night before close to midnight at the La Guardia Airport, to go to a Hotel and then catch the morning flight to Doha.
When I arrived at LGA I couldn’t believe that I was in a developed country and not in Sudan or Eritrea. It was chaotic, people frenzied and impolite. A passing thunderstorm had added to their woes.
Most airports in developing countries are better than La Guardia. Even a poor country like Cuba has a better airport! Bogota, Panama, Sao Paolo, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, KL, Siem Reap every single of those airports are more modern, more user friendly and less chaotic.
The lack of interest in the infrastructure is but a metaphor of what is happening in the USA where the comfort of the traveling public is last of the priorities.
I was taken to the hotel that was only 2 km away. Like the receptionists at the hotel he was from India. They had acquired their American efficiency and forgotten their oriental hospitality. They were robots and within minutes I was directed to a room, at this Comfort Inn, which felt more like a dungeon, with the barest of amenities. In fact in USA and European hotels, I have come to expect nothing, but a place to sleep to catch the connecting flights.
Just functional, no social interactions, much like a supermarket rather than a place to relax.

(functional not exuding welcome at one of the rooms of the Comfort Inn near La Guardia Airport, New York City)
I politely refused their “continental” breakfast knowing the horrors that lurked, such as artificial yoghurts and cereals out of the box with weak coffee and tea. After all I was flying Qatar Airways, the best airlines in the WORLD and I know they would look after me.
After a quick check in and security, I was at the British Airways Lounge and a suitable but small breakfast awaited as I was preparing for my flight to Doha.

On arrival in Doha, it is incredible to see that, like in New York, the service industry is full of people from India and Philippines but more definitely welcoming and friendly.
My Uber driver from the hotel in New York to the Airport was a Muslim from Kashmir who barely spoke English and my Uber driver who took me to Marriott Hotel in Doha was a Muslim from Bangalore. It is Globalization, is also culturally based, brothers in different destinations, one is cold and efficient as their American hosts and the other warm and hospitable like their Qatari hosts.
Like the German Front Desk manager at Marriott Marquis City Centre in Doha said: the hotel industry in Persian Gulf Countries is so much more hospitable and personal and is of exceptional quality.
The West has mechanized itself, as can be seen even in Health Care, and become efficient but lost that most important quality: Human Touch.
 Mamim, meaning Mothers Love in her native Limbu language, is from Nepal
(Nice to see a Hospitality intern from Penang in Malaysia, good luck to him)
I had stayed at the hotel only once before, but so many people greeted me: nice to see you again, when you think I am one of the many faces that pass through!
On entering the Executive Club where at the Happy Hour they served a sumptuous array of snacks, Manisha from India and Samjahna from Nepal greeted me warmly and I made a new friend, Stansy, a Shona from Zimbabwe living in Cape Town.

Just a few hours on a non-stop flight you enter another world of hospitality. I cannot believe any sane traveller would prefer the sterile efficiency of the USA Comfort Inn to the warm human qualities of Marriott at Doha! 

Marriott is an American Company but it seems they leave their sterile efficiency and embrace the Arabian hospitality when they are in Doha.
I am happy to be in Doha.

 Afternoon snacks at the Happy Hour at the Executive Lounge at Marriott Marquis Hotel in Doha 
 Samjhana from Nepal 

 Manisha from India