Monday, November 23, 2009

First Impressions, Part 1

It is important that I document my first impression of this place. I figure that I must do so before my second impression creeps in. Second impressions have more logic. First impressions have more emotion. Didn't know that? Me neither.

The last 24 hours have sucked royally. Sorry. That's crass and whatnot. But it's the honest-to-goodness truth. We left our hotel in Paris around 8:00am, rode the bus to the airport, then jumped aboard the Etihad to Abu Dhabi. Nice flight, that one was. Even though you're crammed in like circus monkeys, there's an unbelievable amount of room. The food was awesome and they just kept bringing it. How long has it been since you've had a three course meal in an airplane? Complete with dessert? And all the complimentary booze you can drink? Too bad we're not drinkers.

There were more children on that airplane than we saw in all of Paris. Not an exaggeration. Middle Easterners are family people. I like kids 'n all, but there was a LOT of crying on this plane. Prolly 15 babies. After take-off, the flight attendants went to work setting up cribs along the front panels of each section. I took a snap hoping you'd see those giant eyed, dark haired beauties. But sadly, no. The babies didn't show.

Arrows point to cribs attached to wall complete with crying babies.

Did I mention the babies were crying? All 15 of them? Not to worry! Each of those bad-boy seats had their very own monitor, complete with movies (80 or so), video games, music videos, maps and the cock-pit camera (yes you can see what the pilot sees!) Select a movie, turn up the volume and no more crying babies. Genius. I watched three movies: The Time Traveler's Wife, 500 days of Summer (for the 500th time), and High Fidelity.

Too bad the return flight of 19 hours is not an Etihad! Etihad, the "Official Airline of the United Arab Emirates," is a highly recommended airline.


The Abu Dhabi airport is extravagent and it's hard to describe. Or rather I'm too tired to describe it, so I'll post some photos.

Spouse stands near Abu Dhabi while sporting "Wycherly Wash" shirt.
Need your building's exterior washed? Call Wycherly Wash.
(Incidentally, Wycherly Wash could do well in Paris.)

My next car will be a Maserati. That does 185.


Notice the Christmas Tree. In the United States we are lucky to have
Thanksgiving to hold off the Holidays. Christmas is in full swing over here.

Even without predominant Christianity. Go figure.

Being as the first Etihad flight to Abu Dhabi (near Dubai) was ridiculously phantasmagorical, we figured our second Flight to Mumbai would be a similar treat. Wrong. Wrong. In hindsight it was good, however. The poshness of that first flight would only add further insult to the reality of Mumbai.

First we were jammed into a hot bus to wait. Then we drove to the plane to wait. Then we boarded a hot plane to wait, only to hear the captain speak of "engine trouble" in broken English. Spouse and I weren't seated together and I had the pleasure of meeting five 22ish-year-old Indians in hip western wear, all going home for a semester break of MBA school. Ohio, I believe. Can't remember the school.

(Why didn't I get their photos? Note to self: Take more happy snaps of happenings.)

After a couple (or more) hot hours, the captain finally announced the engine had been repaired. This was too much for me. Don't you need to test the plane after fixing it? Without passengers? I decided to go to sleep. I'd rather be asleep if we crash.

Turns out, Spouse felt the same.

Gratefully, the plane took off, flew for three hours and landed. We had dinner on this flight. At 3:00am - which added to the ambient strangeness of the experience. It's 3:00am people. Shouldn't we all try to rest? Not rattle on loudly? And completely ignore the flight attendant's safety requests?

As soon as that plane landed -- not as soon as the plane taxied to the gate, but LONG BEFORE -- all 1800 of those passengers trammeled themselves into the aisle. I had an aisle seat. I was trammeled upon and had flashbacks of my first Metallica concert. Except there were bhurkas and prayer songs instead of big hair and heavy metal.

This is where I learned that consideration is something this coulture doesn't frequent.

In the which at 4:30am on 23rd November 2009, I took a deeeeeep breath.

Here we go...


The MacMizzles said...

WOW So glad you are sharing this experience. I am going to sit on the edge of my seat for the rest.

Sparks said...

Sorry this sucks for you. Sucks royally. But this is some good stuff. Heavenly boons for the viewers at home.