Note: all times are local
I was packed, tired and hungry. I double checked all the drawers and whatnot and headed downstairs to the front desk to check out and head to the airport. It was about 8pm. I got some cash back for checking out early and I waited for the hotel shuttle bus. When it arrived I loaded in and we headed off. We got there about 2100 and I found out the KLM window wouldn’t open until 2240 so I went looking for food. The Dubai airport is a huge beautiful place and I got a veggie pizza and sat by the windows to watch airplanes taxi around the tarmac. They have free wireless internet access there so I was able to get Episode 2, Part 2 uploaded. I wanted to get that up before I left, so that was cool.
At about 2245 I went and checked in. Not so bad. I got all my boarding passes in one shot this time. Then came running the gamut of exit visas and three different security checks. I eventually get to the gates and duty-free shopping. I want to buy some more smokes and a couple of bottles of Jameson’s. Well I get the Irish but the lady checking me out tells me I can only bring one carton of smokes into the US. Well doesn’t that just suck! I head off to my gate and when I got there I realized I still have an hour and a half wait. Well, don’t you know there is a bar right across the way from my gate? I ordered a Guinness. While there two Germans guys sit down beside me and ordered a round of Kens. The unusual part was that they both got their beers and drank them in one long gulp. DAMN! I thought out loud. They repeated this four times.
So I go get on the KLM Boeing 777 to the Dam and I was stuck in a middle seat of three. Sven from Oslo shows up and he has the window seat. Great! This is going to be one long 9 hour flight! When I saw them closing the door I became one very happy camper because no body was in the aisle seat next to me. I hopped over to it and Sven and I were both happy. Snore-time. I went down for the count for about an hour. The next 8 hours were fairly uneventful except for the fact that the cabin crew was some of the nastiest and meanest people I ever met. My dinner was slapped down on my tray-table and to serve Sven the crew members just reached right in front of my boat race without even an ‘excuse me’. ‘ con permiso’, ‘excusez-moi’ or a ‘entschuldigen Sie mich’. When they came around to offer drinks I was greeted with the single command of ‘Drink?’. At one point I wasn’t sure what I wanted so I hesitated and the stewardess was gone in a flash. WTF? I thought to myself. So as I said earlier the flight was uneventful. It felt like a lifetime but it was only nine hours. We arrive in the Dam and I was more than happy to be off that flying tin can.
On my way to my gate I stopped off at the duty free shop and ask about taking smokes into the US and this time I’m told I can take up to 5 cartons in duty free. What? Doesn’t that figure? Smokes here are $30USD as opposed to $9USD in Dubai. Well, the heck with that. I have a carton and my Jameson’s so I’m happy. I get to my gate only to find more security, only this time a bunch of guys from the US are in line in front of me and they tell me security here is the toughest in the world. Whatever! By this point I just want to get home. At passport control I get questioned ad infinitum. I finally look at this girl and said out loud, “I just want to go home! What’s the fucking problem?” She wisely handed me my important papers and passport. Then came the metal detector security thing. No big deal.
This flight was a KLM flight run by Northwest Air but worse yet it was an Airbus 330. The same kind of flying beer can I was so uncomfortable in on my way to Dubai. Lucky for me I get an aisle seat again. This time I was seated beside a guy from Detroit on his way home from visiting family in Kuwait. I try to sleep but didn’t do a very good job of it. The stewardess’s were all ugly and I’m fairly sure to get that job one must prove you are always in a bad mood.
There was one bit of niceness during the entire flight. When they came around offering drinks I told her I would like a vodka and ice. She gave me a small cup of ice and one of those tiny little bottles of Skyy vodka. As she started to walk away she dropped three more of those little bottles on my lap.
About 5 rows in front of me there was a young family with two kids. Just wonderful!! Yes, dear readers you know exactly where I’m going with this one. The youngest of the kids cried the entire flight. I mean cried! The extremely loud wailing kinda’ crying that pierces to your soul. Shut your focking kid up, Got Damn it. I thought it though I was VERY tempted to say it out loud. Yes, 8 hours of this cacophony and the cabin crew did nothing to allieve it. Also about five-ish rows in front of me was a stunningly beautiful Israeli woman. She was heading to Ann Arbor to visit some relatives. Her name is Hera. She is tall and has an incredible mane of beautiful long curly, curly hair. She is absolutely traffic stopping stunning. We exchanged email addresses.
Then we land in Detroit.
Detroit. Not anywhere I wish to visit again.
We disembark and get sent directly into customs. It was no biggie and they didn’t check any of my bags. I told them straight off I have a couple of bottles of Jameson’s and a carton of ‘boros. They couldn’t have cared less. Armed with my boarding pass I head straight off to security for my next flight. Well shit! I went all the way through without checking my check in bag. So out I am escorted to check my bag and do it again. Bag checked in and I’m all ready to go through security again and BAM I get tagged for extra special checking. Alright, whatever, let’s just get on with it. I wasn’t concerned or mad or anything like that until they started asking me questions designed to trip me up. Instant attitude!!! So, you’re going to Harrisburg? Your ticket has you flying into Middletown. Why is that? I responded with, “I bet you went to a public school because you don’t know shit about US geography. Do you?” What is your address, sir? I said, “It’s on my license in your hand. What’s your address?” Well this exchange brought Scott Haldemann the supervisor over and he tried. So, you’re from Harrisburg? Yes, I am. Where do you live Scott? Where were you visiting in Europe? I’m sorry, Scott, you didn’t answer my question! And so went our conversation. Eventually Scott saw the futility of trying to joust with me and gave up. “He’s OK. Let him though.” Scott told the minions and I said Thanks, you stupid, overly bureaucratic, short, little twit of an asshole. OK, so I didn’t really say all that but I wanted to.
Right at the bottom of the staircase was the FOX Sports bar. The only place in the airport where one can smoke. Well, four beers, two hours and some good craic with a guy heading off to Texas later I head off to my gate and the final leg of this sojourn. I check in and board this little baby sized airplane. Someone turned me off and I went out for about an hour and a half and I am awakened by the Captain announcing that we are in the final descent for Harrisburg International Airport. We were on the ground and disembarking 20 minutes later. My bud Jim was there to drive me home and he did. Once home and settling I ordered a pizza and poured myself a Jameson’s. Ok, so it was more than one. I passed out on the couch about 9pm and got up this morning about 9am. I guess I was tired.
It’s snowing as I write this.
So ends my Adventures in Arabia.
Note: all times are local