Day 1: 12/3/20014
Well the laugh was on me. For weeks I have been telling everyone we would leave California and fly west. We did not; when flying to Dubai we flew east. When you are 12 hours away it must not matter, and which would you choose European air space or Chinese airspace? So, We flew east over the USA and crossed over into Canada at Minnesota. We flew up and over Iceland, then down to Dubai. We even went over the Ukraine and the Black Sea.
It was an interesting flight. The airplane is huge. It is an A380-800. Guess what, huge airplanes have a huge number of people flying on them. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? Until you experience it though, it is hard to understand just what that means. It means a crazy huge line to check in, even with every counter manned. It means rows of long lines to get on the airplane. The number of people in the flight crew is as big as the passenger list on small commuter flights!
Many of the people on our flight were catching connecting flights to India or Pakistan. It was a taste of things to come, the smells, clothes, and languages spoken were exotic and interesting. English is not the primary language spoken and we have not even left US airspace. The first few languages spoken over the intercom are Arabic, then Hindi, then English. Oh yes, this is what I signed up for. There were babies everywhere on the flight too, with mothers walking all over the place, changing tables in the bathrooms, and baby food being served by flight attendants. When dinner was served the choices were lamb (ghost), chicken (murgi), and vegetarian (shakahari). They ran out of vegetarian dinners.
I wish it were cool for me to get up and start snapping photos so you could get an idea of how different this flight is from others I have flown, but it is not ;(.
We got to talking to a woman in line who was headed to Karachi. She came to the US at the age of 20 to marry. It was an arranged marriage. She has been here 22 years now. She told us she loves to visit Pakistan, but she is thankful that she lives in the US and that her daughter, who is 19, was born and grew up in the US. She explained that Karachi is full of girls like Malala but the tribal areas are not. They are feudal and set in their old ways. We asked her if she didn’t worry when she was in Pakistan. She told us the way people deal with the threat of violence that has arisen in Pakistan since 911. She said they are pragmatic about the threat. She said when it is your time, it is your time. That fatalistic approach is the way Pakistani’s cope with the danger. I do not believe in fate, I wonder if I could adapt to this paradigm.
Time for some sleep
16 hours is a crazy long flight! Talk to you tomorrow, with lots of photos.
Sleep did not go as planned. I got sick from something I ate. I spent much of the flight throwing up, which actually turned out okay. It meant that I spent the flight talking (as best I could) to the women standing around in the open areas near the bathroom.