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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 35, Friday - Kuwait to Muscat

Spent the morning re-packing since it turns out I found some more things which need to make it into my suitcase. A little tip: turns out that it is true that if you roll your clothes they take up less space than if you lay them flat. My suitcase is proof.

This afternoon I sat outside during the day for the first time since being in the Middle East. Aunt Lina, Latifa, Nassar, Delal, Hiba, Dana, and I had lunch on the water at a nice restaurant connected to one of the malls. It was a little hot for me still, but you get used to it. I seriously think there must be some biological difference between me and the locals because they do not feel the heat the way I do. When they say it is getting cool, I still think it is warm. I’m serious, when then come to Seattle in August, they all wear coats.

Lina took me to the airport and went with me all of the way through the check-in (got me a discount on my baggage since they were over the weight limit) and then we said good-bye.

After waiting in line for a short time to go through Passport security, I was ushered over to the GCC Nationals line, which was empty. I noticed that most people going my direction were not GCC nationals but Indian nationals. Oman seems to be a common hub for people traveling to and from India. The other group of people on our flight was from a performing arts group of disabled people from China (I noticed them traveling in a group and saw that they had what looked like instrument cases with their group label on them).

Oman Air has been my best flight experience so far, but it isn’t exactly a fair comparison. Let me explain: after going through both the main security check and the security for my gate, I was sitting waiting for them to tell us to board when a gentleman from the airline came over and asked to see my ticket. I was afraid there was a problem, so I handed it to him and watched him scribble on it.

He handed it back to me and said, “You’ve been upgraded. Your new seat is 2D.” I guess it pays to wear a suit. :) I am also guessing that the flight was full and they were looking for someone traveling alone. Yay me! I have never flown business class before and it was very nice. They put a table cloth on the tray for your meals, bring you juice, and tea/coffee, and nuts and the meal was very good: ravioli with a fruit tart for dessert. I tried to enjoy it because I’m assuming that it won’t happen again.

After arriving in Oman, I went through passport control to get my visa and the guy looked at my passport and said that it didn’t look like me. I wasn’t exactly sure what to say since I know it’s an old picture but no one else has said anything, and it is me. It’s not my fault they issue 10 year passports starting when you turn 16. I told him it was me and asked if he wanted to see my driver’s license. He said sure, so I gave it to him. I’m guessing he has never seen a Washington State driver’s license before because he asked me about it being from the US and then he said it was expired. I tried not to laugh a little when I told him it was new (I got it right before I left home). He said okay and let me go through. I think he was just bored because it was the middle of the night and no one else was there so he wanted to talk to somebody.

Basil Al-Kiyumi, Uncle Rashid’s oldest son, met me at the airport and took me to their house. We got to the house around 1am (technically Saturday morning now) and we put my things in the guest bedroom. This is the room where my parents stayed when we were here three years ago. Driving to the house, it was fun to be able to recognize the roads a bit and the street that their house is on. It doesn’t feel like three years have gone by since I was here.
View of the common area of the Al-Kiyumi house from my room.

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