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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Lo-o-o-ong trip comin' up [UPDATE: Progress Report]
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Friday, June 06, 2008

Lo-o-o-ong trip comin' up [UPDATE: Progress Report]

friday 9 a.m.

kabul - dubai, 2 1/2 hrs

friday, noon - saturday, 2 a.m.

dubai airport, 14 hrs

saturday, 2 a.m.

dubai - new york, 13 1/2 hrs

saturday, 9 a.m.

new york - northern nevada, 8 hrs

saturday, 4 p.m.

dead on my butt

[UPDATE: Progress Report]

ok... i'm in dubai international airport where i arrived a few hours ago and am now riding along on their free wifi... it's 1:15 p.m. on friday here, and my flight to the u.s. doesn't leave until 2 a.m. saturday morning... < twiddles thumbs, looks around, watches muslim mom in black burka chase her toddler across the concourse for the umpteenth time > ah, well... i knew it was going to be a LONG, LONG day...

as a sidenote, lemme tell ya what it's like flying out of the kabul airport (which i did for the first time this morning)...

short version: it sucks...

long version: first thing off the bat, before you even get to the parking lot, you have to stop at this dusty little shack on this dusty little detour, where you and everybody else line up outside, waiting to have some afghan soldiers open up your bags and do a physical inspection in front of the big x-ray scanner that's sitting there unused because there's no electricity to run it... from there, you load everything back in the car, drive to the parking lot, park, walk across the lot to a waiting hall where, for some reason, everybody's waiting even though you don't have to... once you figure out you don't have to wait and get back on your way, you find that it's still almost a three block walk across more parking lot to the terminal proper...

at the front door of the terminal, they do ANOTHER physical bag inspection, and, then, GLORY HALLELUJAH, you get to go INSIDE the terminal, where you're met by an x-ray inspection for bags and an x-ray passenger walk through... well, gosh and golly, sports fans, you're NOW ready to CHECK IN for your flight... after they give you your boarding pass and pick your pocket for an excess baggage fee at check-in, there's - you guessed it - ANOTHER x-ray bag inspection and x-ray passenger walk-through... then, by gosh, you get to go upstairs to passport control where you get your exit visa... whew...! after all that, you're FINALLY in the boarding lounge...

the good news in all this...? the flight left on time... son-of-a-gun... btw, did i mention the four pat-downs...?

p.s. on the drive to the airport, i got to witness one of those once-in-a-lifetime, only-in-a-place-like-afghanistan scenes... we were exiting a traffic circle, trying to get around a truck that was barely moving... we were just to the right rear of the truck and, from the passenger seat, i could see that the truck's passenger side door was open... as we pulled around it to the right, we could see an afghan policemen standing on the truck's running board, scuffling with someone sitting in the passenger seat... my afghan driver rolled his eyes and ruefully explained to me that the cop was, quite literally, shaking down the two men in the truck for money... the passenger was trying to push the cop off the truck but the policeman was holding on tight... it looked like they were engaging in the kind of slap fight kids get into... it would have been funny if it hadn't been so pathetic...

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