Notes from IMPAQT Trip

3 odd things I saw:

-A surprisingly mutli-ethnic staff. While I had no solid expectations, I was pleasantly surprised to find women from German, Arab and Asian extraction working on the plane. It is surprising because Qatar Airways was full of Qatari promotion material. Therefore I expected the national airline of Qatar to employ many Qataris (I may be mistaken in assuming most Qataris are of Arab extraction–we’ll see!)
-The best mashed potatoes I have eaten since Christmas served with slightly tough lamb, with pasta and sundried tomatoes as a side. I can’t believe I am complaining that the “lamb was tough” on an airplane. I’m usually happy if the food does not make me nauseous.
-The fullest collection in the on-demand, in-flight movies appeared to be James Bond films. There is also a nice assortment of indie movies (Little Miss Sunshine stands out) and an tons of American, British, European (mostly German), and Arab TV shows. Interestingly, watching Dexter, I found that while most cusswords were substituted out, but done in such a way I didn’t notice until halfway through the fist episode.

3 odd things I heard

-Around 5 under 5 year olds were on the flight–that’s why god invented headphones I suppose. Most were well-behaved, but there has also been quite a bit of yowling.
-I stood in line with a man going to Afghanistan (I think he was a contractor), and a couple (the most WASP-y WASPs I’ve seen in a while) who proudly informed me they “watched Doha being built” and worked in “Security”.
-Best of Ella Fitzgerald, Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and lots of the Beetles through the on-demand music player. I didn’t even turn on my iPod.

3+ odd things I thought/felt

-The babies and toddlers on the plane were terribly well-dressed. I am used to traveling Amtrak and Greyhound where children are dressed in dirty white t-shirts. I saw a little Indian girl in a tutu (fairly standard attire for the under 3 set), and another in a lovely little dress. They were dressed like the children of parents who fly to Doha, rather than the children of parents who ride Greyhound.
-Throughout the flight I felt pampered. After flying domestically from Pittsburgh to Washington DC and being growled at by the flight attendant not completely crushing my bag under my seat during the flight, it was quite odd to be given spring water every hour or so by polite, immaculately dressed flight attendants
-The flight attendant’s timing was superb. Just as I was starting to realize I wouldn’t be able to sleep well, and heading into my 3rd hour of watching Dexter, a flight attendant came by and offered me Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream. Yum.
-(By the way, Lillian has been talking about Dexter for months and I finally saw an opportunity to get a feel for the show. I was delighted and creeped out–which is sort of the point I suppose).
-It will be quite interesting being in a country where I am not an implicit member of the majority in terms of language or extraction

Note: there is something which worries me about the civility with which the flight attendants treat me. Perhaps it is their uncompromising professionalism. Perhaps it is the perfect way they are all dressed, or that fact that they all were beautiful (it made me think of the early airline’s hiring criteria for stewardesses).

Inspirational Quote

Paul Tournier – “Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.”

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