It all started with my unsucessful Stand-by session which I didn't get pulled out of, so I was forced to stay in Doha for almost six days in a row ( new record since I started flying ). Because of this I was kind of looking forward to operate my next flights , just for the fact of flying and leaving the city.
So I was wearing my huge smile on the briefing room for my rostered flight: Doha-Dhaka-Doha-Tripoli-Casablanca-Tripoli-Doha-Dubai-Doha, all of these sectors with the same crew.
It's like rostering gives you a package of seven days to bond with some crew members and try to work things out in diferent flights and days.
Luckily for me, the crew were very nice and we really worked together pretty much well in all sectors ( we were 'Suffering Buddies' ) and the enviroment inside the aircraft was very positive, even in the harder sectors which I'll be explaining step by step.
Most of the crew are a little scared about Dhaka flight , considering that Bangladesh is a really poor country and most of our passengers bound there are labourers working in Qatar or the UAE with no basic sanitary conditions such as proper toilets, so you can imagine how messy the flight can be, but even though one passenger vomited on the corridor while we were serving meals, the flight went without any troubles and the passengers were quiet and peaceful.
On landing into Dhaka, my crew seat was facing my bengali passengers and I just got impressed with the glow in their eyes on touchdown as they knew they were finally home. I can identify myself with the feeling of getting out of the aircraft as quick as possible and just hug your beloved ones when arriving home(I can't wait to go home).
Dhaka Zia International Airport is quite modern and neat, the hotel is near the airport and has all the amenities of a decent terminal and the hotel was brilliant and very comfortable. But is it worth to spend the whole time at the hotel when you have new world to discover?
I slept for one hour , had a huge buffet brunch and took a taxi to downtown Dhaka and explored a little.
My luck was that they were celebrating Eid festivities in Bangladesh so traffic on the streets was very light and had time enough to see all Dhaka main sightseeing spots.
The city is really messy and you see beggers eveywhere , yet the contact they have with their own culture shown in the way they dress and the way they live their life in general still impresses me big time. ( maybe the whole experience was completed with a little help from my taxi driver who kindly made me listen a Hindi music CD on the car radio,changed at the end of the day for a mixed 'Female Pop International Collection' one ).
Went to the former Royal Palace, a beautiful pink building surrounded by well-groomed gardens and lots of guards and then to Dhaka University with a typical Indian/British architecture.
The taxi driver also took me to the Parliament , a huge building with the architecture completely based on geometrical forms ( triangles, squares, cylinders ),then to a Hindi Temple named Dakeshwhari and in the end of the day, straight to Gurjan zone to buy DVD's.
The taxi driver was crazy for me to try some typical Bengali food but I just wouldn't like to go back to Doha as a dead-heading passenger all sick and full of virus running through my digestive tract.
Got to hotel just in time for dinner with some six of the crew members and we just ate a lot ( the food was brilliant ) , talked about many things, laughed and had a great time dining.
The next day it was rainy and cloudy the whole day , so I decided to make it a 'relaxation and lazy day' which meant: waking up , look through the window, sleeping more , waking up again, order room service, sleep more, watch half of a movie , internet , gym , some pool when the sun was out for like an hour , some more internet and then prepare for the flight back home.
The flight back was not really full and I got my galley again ( seriously, now I'm Mr. Galley ) and we were just enjoying the flight laughing so the five and a half hours just flew by very fast.
Got into Doha at almost midnight and went to bed as I would have only 24 hrs before the next 'leg of the race'. Didn't really have much time, so I just did some laundry , went for a quick lunch with my friends at Chilli's and went to the Mall to buy some things and groceries in Carrefour.
I didn't even unpack my suitcase, just took out the dirty clothes and put some new ones on it , the rest remained the same.
So again I was on the aircraft with the same crew going on what was going to be a really long flight starting with boarding when most of our passengers wouldn't speak English and none of the crew members would speak Arabic, now imagine how to tell a passenger that refuses to hear that he has to take his/her seat as the plane is full and can't simply swap because they want to chit-chat during the flight.
How come ground staff don't figure out that? How come didn't they passengers say that to them?. There was a time that all of the crew doing boarding looked at each other and started to laugh , it was just useless to even think about a solution.
Felt like playing 'Passenger Tetris' after a while , as we were already delayed and just asked to the passengers to seat in the nearest available seats and try to arrange them in a way that they would feel a little satisfied ( maybe? ).
Flight departed and we were doing just fine, the service went quite well and the passengers were quite happy with the service and the meals...Dejej? Samac? Cafe? Chai?.
After five hours in the early morning we arrived into Tripoli and around twenty passengers disembarked here, so we still had pretty much a full flight to Casablanca. Transit was peaceful but I was feeling really tired already.
Last part of the flight and we had another service, again the passengers were pleased and I was impressed by the new use of the air sickness bags: you can stow some of the useful things that come with the tray and even some hot meals ( for later ).
Anyway , landed into Casablanca and the weather was just beautiful. The queue in the airport was massive , even for the Crew fast track lane, so we got to the hotel only two hours after our arrival.
I didn't notice much , as soon as I boarded the bus , just fell asleep heavily and woke up at the hotel door near Casablanca City Centre.
Had a quick one-hour nap and headed straight to the train station to take the train to Marrakech, where a lot of people told me that was beautiful.
Anyway, the Concierge at the hotel gave me the wrong schedule so by the time I got there, the train was already gone and it was not worth to catch the next one as I was gonna get into Marrakech too late and would have to come back too soon to Casablanca.
Went back to the hotel, had some water and decided to walk around the city.
My first stop was Ancienne Medina , an old market full of streets with old-fashioned and creepy hotels, stores where you could find anything you could imagine and seafood restaurants.
Then following my 'cheater map' ( call it like that because on the map everything looked so close, which of course it wasn't ) I got to the Grand Mosque , which some people told me it was the biggest mosque in the world...not sure about it , but it was quite big and impressive.
Every details in the walls , fountains , ceilings and corridors was prefectly thought and the place is peaceful and beautiful.
The way they managed the lights, the shadows, it could be really hot outside but inside it's always pleasant and well lit.
Took several pictures and met a lot of tourists , most of them were Spanish and Portuguese coming on several cruise lines that arrive to Casablanca and then continue by bus to Marrakech or Fes.
The mosque is by the ocean so the Atlantic breeze was perfect for the mild weather and clear skies we were having.
Decided to go further and went walking to the Lighthouse ( a bad choice as the place was very dodgy and dangerous) and then found a Mc Donalds when I had a quick pit stop and then just took a taxi back to the hotel.
Already tired, decided to quickly check my e-mails, ordered some room service and had a nice sleep until the next morning.
Next morning I was feeling lazy and knew that I had to be well-rested to cope with the return sector , so just stayed at the hotel , went to the gym, ordered a huge breakfast, watched TV, slept more and did a final photo shot round on the Ancienne Medina before preparing for the flight back.
Flight back was very challenging , from Casablanca to Tripoli was quite empty so it was really easy, the worst part was that most of our passenger embarked in Tripoli and then it became really heavy as they wouldn't speak any English as well ( nor we'd speak Arabic ), most of them were very rude and we even had some unruly passengers on board.
Just got home this morning incredibly tired and went straight to bed as I had minimum rest and then woke up and got ready for the Dubai turnaround.
I like this flight, it's usually peaceful and hectic so you can't even notice about timings as when you finish the service , you are landing already.
Anyway , I finally got back and have two well-deserved days-off. Next month is gonna be really hectic as well and even though I feel tired, I kind of like it!
Also bought a ticket to Cairo for my days-off , so next month I'm gonna see the Pyramids and some other things I've been wanting to in a long time.