The 13 hour commercial to Kuwait has been accomplished! It was unfortunately not a direct flight and we had to land in London - which is basically a giant tease. We had to leave the plane, go through security and walk back through the terminal only to get back on the same plane. I kept darting into the Terminal shops to see if there was any DW stuff to buy. Alas, there was nothing, Heathrow was spared the Doctor Who marketing blitz apparently. (Dear Terminal 3 shops: International travelers do too like Doctor Who!)

This will be my second New Years spent in Kuwait. I think I slept through the last one, I'll probably be asleep or ordering room service for the second one as we report for our flight at 4 in the morning. I like to go hog wild for New Years.

Look at that - it's 4 in the morning now! Jetlag is SO much fun. :)

I think I've posted a few random Kuwait pictures here and there but have never compiled a picspam, clearly I must rectify that.

Kuwait City


More pictures of that tiny little country Saddam once invaded )
Well, I was going to post a Star Trek review, but I just commercialed into Kuwait and at the moment I would rather talk about all the hoops I'm having to jump through to prove I don't have swine flue.

And it's not just me having to jump, it's everyone that enters the freaking country.

Now I understand how serious swine flu is and I actually commend Kuwait for taking steps to prevent it from entering their country. I only wish The States was as preventative (apparently New York's nod to the flu is to add hand sanitizer to the customs line. Way to go US Customs and Immigration)

So, ANYWAYS.

Usually there's no paperwork to get into Kuwait, but since the whole flu scare Kuwait now has a health form you have to fill out. It makes the Grammar/Punctuation/Spelling freak in me twitch and foam at the mouth (seriously, its the kind of form where you kind of get what they're saying but the lack of proofreader makes it somewhat difficult). Basically this form says that upon landing in Kuwait you have 72 hours to report to a medical facility to be checked out for Swine Flu. There is no leaving the country if you do not get your form stamped and authorized, and if you do not stop and get checked out within that 72 hours you can thrown in jail for a month and you will be fined 50 Kuwait Dinars (a little over 150 US Dollars)

Fair enough.

We get off the plane and are met by two little ladies in full face masks and plastic gowns who are taking the temperature of every person walking off that plane. I loved their look, it made me think they were expecting all passengers to come off sweating profusely and vomiting everywhere.

Then another line, before customs, to get our forms stamped and for the white, green and pink copies to be confiscated so they will know who you are if you don't show up for the medical check. SO YOU CAN GO TO JAIL. YAY!

With yellow form in hand we finally made it through customs.

But wait! It's not over yet! Instead of bumming around resting tomorrow morning like I should be doing the entire crew is getting together at 9 in the morning to be bused over to a medical facility so we can prove, once and for all, that we don't have Swine Flu.

I do get the logic behind the 72 hours thing as it usually takes about that long for flu symptoms to manifest. I really really do get it. But I still find the whole thing hysterical.

Kuwait

Feb. 28th, 2009 03:48 pm
I really have nothing conductive to say besides the fact that I don't want to go to Kuwait tomorrow and I don't want to go to Kuwait next week.

I was SUPPOSED to go to Dubai. At least that's why I bid for the line. World of difference between DXB and KWI. For one thing, I've never been to DXB yet I've been to KWI more times then I can count. At this point I really only go to Kuwait when I need dry cleaning done as the hotel will do it for free. A clear cut case of "You know you've been somewhere too much when..."

Kuwait City


And just because... a picture of Kuwait. Don't you just love the drab? I'm hoping to god the photos I took of Kuwait are on my external harddrive back in Texas. I think they are, but I'm not sure. As I really don't want to redo them.
I made the mistake of forgetting who I was talking to on my military flight last night.

Military guys: Oh, you lived in Dallas. I love those Cowboys
Me: I'm really not interested in football. I prefer Rugby.
Military guys: Rugby hunh?
Me: Yeah, I like it rough
Military guys: *dead silence*

Even in the darkness of a plane landing at night they could still tell my face was beet red. And to make matters worse, one of the guys involved in the conversation had taken my picture earlier that night (I don't know what was up with that group, but they were snap happy and the flight attendants seemed to be their unwitting subjects) as he was leaving he told me "I took your picture. I'm going to put it up in my locker and every time I look at it I'm going to think 'she likes it rough."

Two weeks of the civilian world and I completely forgot that working with the military involves heavy censoring of stuff like that. It's ALWAYS the dirtiest common denominator with them.

On the plus side an extremely cute boy worked up the nerve to walk into the galley and ask for my e-mail. Which I usually don't give out. I was so astonished he asked (lets just say I'm not used to men actually taking the initiative) and he was so damn handsome that I wrote it down for him. As he was leaving the plane he snuck me his e-mail by doing the thank you for your service handshake with the little slip of paper hidden in the palm of his hand. So CUTE.

A few more random things, in numerical order:

1. I've turned into a True Blood pimp.
2. The nice quite ferry flight to Germany I was looking forward to... ended up having 56 crewmembers on board. It was not nice or quite.
3. In a few minutes I'm meeting some crewmembers in the lobby so we can ride camels along the Persian Gulf and go to the souk. I am astonished that I'll actually be doing something relatively touristy in Kuwait.
4. Kuwait is the most drab, boring little country I've ever been to. Hence my astonishment.
5. When it was decided we would do this my first thought after 'yay camels' was 'shit, now I'll have more photos to edit.' Which is not the best thing to think because how lucky am I that I get to do this stuff?
I spent last New Years curled up on two seats on the left hand side of a Turkish Airways Boeing 777 on the way to Adana, Turkey via Istanbul. I don't remember much of that particular flight, except for the fact that I slept through the arrival of 2007, both in the time zone we were heading towards and the time zone we had just left.

This year my feet are firmly on the ground even though I'm suffering from a heavy dose of Jet Lag - which seems to be par for the course with me. My life wouldn't be normal unless I was either Jet Lagged or getting over being Jet Lagged or just about to become Jet Lagged all over again.

I'm currently in Kuwait and they seem to be gearing up for quite the party. Albeit, a sober party as this is a dry country. The catering guys out of Ramstein, Germany gave everyone on the crew small bottles of Champagne before our flight to Al Udeid, Qatar (where we stopped before continuing on to Kuwait) and sadly having Champagne at midnight was not to be as none of us wanted to spend our New Years in a Kuwaiti prison.

Back to the topic of the party: I won't be attending. I had dinner at the Japanese restaurant in the hotel (my Captain rocks my socks as he bought my dinner) and the exhaustion coupled with the overly exuberant use of noisemakers courtesy of the table behind us convinced me that I was better off doing the "drop and drool" in my room as opposed to the hotel lobby.

I find it oddly appropriate that the past two years have kicked off in the Middle East in one form or another. For all the traveling I do a good portion of it revolves around the Middle East. I'm either coming or going from here and some of my dearest friends and in one instance a little brother (THE little brother) are directly affected by the decisions made about this part of the world and the consequences of those decisions.

Lets hope that 2008 rings in a year of decisions and consequences that won't cause the middle east to rip itself to shreds. I won't hold my breath, but one can always dream.

And lets hope it also sees all the soldiers I brought over to this part of the world, getting back on our planes whole and healthy. I love my job but sometimes talking to them about their experiences over "there" breaks my heart.

So to everyone: I hope you're New Year's is wonderful and that 2008 will be a year people will remember fondly.
Kuwaiti Sardines


Consider this my really random photo of the day. We were in the grocery store around the street from the hotel we stay in in Kuwait and while everyone else was off looking for stuff they actually wanted and needed I was lingering by the shelves of jarred ocean going creatures having fun being mildly grossed out.

Yummy hunh?
I have a burning desire to throw myself on the ground, cling to it and never go back to the middle east again. God bless Scotland. Some of the people I work with like Kuwait, for me it's the place where I get my uniform dry cleaned. I'm not comfortable there. Every time I leave the hotel I feel like a bug under a magnifying glass. I try to ignore it, but you can't when it's glaringly obvious that everyone is staring, and they aren't staring because I have toilet paper stuck to my shoe. They stare because we are so obviously out of place. It's not always friendly either, in the case of the Saudi in the bakery, the staring degenerated into giving us the evil eye because he was pissed that we were served before him, no never you mind that we were there first and had patiently waited our turn. There are aspects of the middle east and Kuwait that are western, but it will never BE western. And those of us who are undeniably western (hello pale skin, blue eyes and blonde hair) we tend to stand out a bit.

The convergence though, does lend itself towards weird situations. Such as sitting in a Bootleg DVD shop in the basement of a shopping mall flipping through the wares surrounded my those of a middle eastern persuasion while the tv's blared a Samuel L. Jackson flick where those of a middle eastern persuasion were being slaughtered. I'd say that was my oddest moment there yet.

Scotland agrees with me. Instead of dust in the air, it's crisp and cold. And I don't stand out like a sore thumb. That's one of the things I love so much about New York. No matter who you are or what you look like, you really can't stand out. The more I travel the world, the more evident it is how easily differences can set people aside.

I do have plenty of pictures to post. During the month of January I've only been home a grand total of 6 days preventing me from doing much of anything, but since February is shaping up to be a slow month, I'm hoping I'll have time to get my act together.
Ever have moments where you'll be doing something and flashback to some event from a long time ago and think "I can't believe that happened?"

So here I am sifting through all the Flogging Molly songs one of the pilots was kind enough to give me and *bam* getting hit with the memory of watching Flogging Molly off the side stage at the Nokia Center, happily ensconsed with quite possibly the best seat in the house (with the sound guy) and having the band manager ask me if I was *really* Badger's cousin (Badger is their stage guy who maintains the instruments and yes, I really am his cousin).

Thousands of miles and a year away and a memory still has the ability to sweep you under sometimes. Funny how that works out.

It could also be because I'm about 28 hours into my layover in Kuwait and bored as bored can be. It's absolutely disgusting here. When we landed I thought it was just foggy, turns out it wasn't fog: it's dust. Extremely fine dust in the air. I didn't realize this until we tromped through Kuwait International Airport and I couldn't help but think that I had never seen fog in a building before. We went out today in search of Pashmina's, bootleg DVD's and Indian food and I can still feel the dust in my eyes hours later, it's just gritty and disgusting and I yearn for eye drops. On the up side, it's made my brother happy that someone is sharing his pain (he of the pulling guard duty in a sandstorm and watching a shepherd with his flock in the middle of it). Good times.

I miss Scotland.
I'm vastly upset that I will be missing Supernatural tonight. It is thursday back in the states yes? With my impending relocation I'm going to be missing a lot of shows because getting cable and internet hooked up is apparently a very hard thing to do (So yeah, [livejournal.com profile] regala_electra you may be seeing a lot more of me.

We went to downtown Kuwait City today to shop and our car driver dumped us in the middle of nowhere. Two very pale, blond haired, light-eyed girls in western dress trundling around asking where the Kentucky Fried Chicken was. Much fun. Oddly enough, it still felt safter then like the Bronx. I can't wait to get to Germany where I blend in so much better and have at least a basic (extremely basic) grasp of the language.

*twiddles thumbs*

I don't know what I'm going to do to keep myself busy for the next 10 hours...

I'm going to start reviewing books on this lj, I read so many books and write up reviews in a notebook that I figure I'll just share.

Book Review: The Hippopotamus Marsh by Pauline Gedge )
I'm pretty sure there's a November 8th on the calendar but I think I skipped it.

I boarded the plane when it was dark, sat there long enough for my knees to lock up and my feet to swell (I must be a size 11 now instead of a size 9) and when I opened my shade again it was still dark. My November 8th was sucked in the dark vacuum of nothingness. *pouts*

But on the up side one of the flight attendants for Kuwait Airways was seriously rocking his unibrow. It was a thing of wonder and you really couldn't tear your eyes away from it's sheer unplucked magnificience. You gotta respect the unibrow.

Is it pathetic that my flight was so boring that I was struck dumb in wonder of a unibrow? Hmmmm.

I shall resume with the posting more regularly. I had to take a break as the flight before this one killed me dead. It was a bit of a fiasco and took me a week to recover from *wipes brow*

I'm going to toddle off to my room now and ignore the weird clapping and lalalalala's coming from down the hall.

Is it also weird that I'm staying in a hotel that was once the focus of an American air strike during the 1st Gulf War? Hmmm, bears more thinking about.

[livejournal.com profile] regala_electra I hate you for loaning me "Devil in the White City." I can't put it down, seriously you suck.

Okay I am REALLY going this time.

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