Friday, May 25, 2012

The Wheels on the Bus

I just returned from a wonderful trip back to Paris and Brussels after a 13 year absence. The stark contrast between where I was then and where I am now for me is something to behold. Here I am way out of my box with all the new experiences of late. Going back was going into my comfort place...old and established. History around me that is somehow a bit romantic in a sense. First, though, I had to get there...
Leaving Abu Dhabi to go anywhere out of the region( for the most part) means leaving late at night. Seems there's no changing time to make life easier and it's really no big deal...we just do is what it is. Matt dropped me off and I checked in with no trouble. I made my way to my gate to wait to be called for the first leg of this trip and had a seat. The place was buzzing with life...happy and as i found out, not so happy. I noticed a young woman crying across from where I was sitting and we locked eyes. It was a sad cry. I can't ignore her and tell her I was sorry patting my heart and offered her some water. She said no and with her eyes said she would be okay. Her family joined her treating her very kindly and then they left. I hope she's okay now. My itinerary had me flying into Doha with a layover of a couple of hours and then on to Paris. All of my flights were full and I made the best of it with my book and some hope that I could/would sleep on the planes. The flight to Doha is literally up and down...Matt told me the airport there was a small one so it would be easy to navigate. He got it half right! I would not call it a small airport, but I didn't have any trouble figuring it out and found myself on a bus being driven out to the plane with a virtual melting pot of cultures heading to places unknown...I loved it. Of course, I started watching and listening to what was going on around me at 1 o'clock in the morning and here are some of my thoughts and observations...
There are people everywhere. In all areas of the airport, in lines and in restaurants that are still open, I am struck at how well behaved the children are so late at night. There are people of all ages sleeping in awkward poses in seats in and around the various gates oblivious to what's going on around them. Announcements are made in lots of  different languages...very proper, clear, and polite. I made it down to where we were to board the bus to be taken out to the plane and wondered where everyone else was going? As we wait for the bus I see a group of men traveling together and wondered if they were going home from their jobs after a long separation from their families. I heard happy in their voices which is where that thought came from. I see a young couple in a corner talking and I couldn't help noticing the way he looked at her...ah...young love. He was gone...hook, line, and sinker. I remember that feeling! It's really dark out, but the darkness is dotted with the lights of the airplanes lined up on the tarmac getting prepared to leave. Some of them have lines of people climbing the metal steps to board. The airplanes themselves remind me of soldiers lined up ready to march away...lights blinking letting us know they are ready to go. I see many different colors of passports in the crowd and think about how busy life can be even in the quiet of the night. Even in this mishmash of languages around me for the moment, off in the distance I hear the familiar sounds of my own and somehow there's some comfort there.
I'm off to Paris to meet my close friend, Peggy and her daughter in law, Jenni. We have been talking about taking a trip like this for years and we are finally making it happen...even in my exitement of what's coming in the next few hours, I can't help but wonder what the bus in Paris has in store for me too?

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