Monday, August 30, 2010

My Travels, Part One: Riyadh Airport Musings

I have always wanted to blog while I travelled. Something interesting always happens, so I regret it when it isn't written to help me reminisce. This time, I shall not err! I am going to write!

Right now, I am in Riyadh's international airport, in their First and Business class lounge. It's not too big, and uses orange cafe lighting in oranges and reds. It's very, very warm. It also has a very distinct smell which I believe is air freshener, but it is kind of smoky and it burns my nose.

I am travelling on a Lufthansa flight which will board in approximately 1 1/2 hours. I am travelling via Frankfurt to Boston's Logan International Airport. As this is Riyadh, I have only one thing to say...

I am so BORED!

There is really nothing to do here! But you know, it is always the same in every airport. Where could I go with my bulky laptop bag and even bulkier lime green carry on luggage? And yes - it IS lime green because a) I love bright colours and b) it's so easy to spot. If someone ever tries to steal my bag, I can tell the airport officials and random bystanders that my bag is lime green - it can't be missed! It also has a turtle on it. All I need to say is "lime green with a turtle on it" and BAM! That bag is caught!

Okay, okay, I am smart in choosing my bags, but only for the sake of fashion and superficial things like that - honestly, I just liked the colour. My Mom gave me the second reason, assuming that I had chosen this particular case for that reason. My eyes widened and I said "Oooohhhhh yeah that IS a good thing, isn't it?" It's like that cartoon lightbulb finally went off in my head.

As I was saying, there is not much you can really do in an airport, especially a small lounge. All I can do is sit around and listen or watch people without looking too much like a spy or a weirdo. I listen to people, too - right now some woman is yelling about the tables being too dirty or something. I always cringe when someone is being loud and demanding in public. She's still ranting about something else now - oh, she's mad about there not being labels in the food area. All I can think is...woman, you are in RIYADH, what do you expect? Go sit down and stop yelling at the poor guys who have no control over any of this!

In Dubai's airport, which I have gone to numerous times in transit, the lounge is bigger and prettier and you have a little more space for yourself, but that's even more annoying - there is so much walking. Oh Lord. And all the places in between are not even worth it! I used to love it when I was younger because of all the lights and shiny thing, but after a few times I realised that it was all razzmatazz and no substance. Yes, there is a UFO shaped light that emits smoke, but there is only so many times you can stare at it before you go crazy. But I do have to admit in the lounges, it is a lot more comfortable to wait for the flight. I tend to just sit around and use the internet, but I can do it while drinking juices and eating delicious foods.

The Riyadh airport's food selection (of COURSE I need to talk about food again!) by comparison isn't really that good. I just ate a very buttery salami and cheese sandwich that would have made my parents squeal with disgust. I'm not even sure that it was salami! It was some kind of luncheon meat - I hope that wasn't a bad idea for my stomach! As I said to my friends on facebook: I am just getting ready for the garbage that will enter my system in the US, of course. Oh, that just reminded me of the sad fact that a lot of the great food I ate is no more! I need to change the subject from food before I get too depressed.

Ah! I just thought of something to take my mind off of food - I am going to Frankfurt airport for about 6 hours or so (I think). I'm pretty excited because I have never been to that airport before. My very little grasp of German might help me there, but I highly doubt it since Germans speak very good English anyway. I might still try, just to give me a new opportunity to embarrass myself.

I get very excited at the idea of a new airport. I can't wait to compare it to everything else! I also get excited at the idea of seeing a new country. I have never actually been to Germany, the country of my Dad's dreams. He loves German, and Germany (although I think that Austria might almost be tied for first place), and has always reminded us of the fact for as far back as I can remember. I kind of wish I was forced to spend a day or two there just so I could have a lonesome holiday and let my Dad know whether I liked it or not - not the kind I had in Saudi, of course. This holiday was...well...

Oh, Saudi...if you readers think that all of this excitement is taking away the feelings I mentioned in my last entry, think again. I don't want to think about it, but there is a slight ache right in my chest and at the risk of sounding like a Bollywood movie, I can't deny it. I have decided, in the car on the way here, that I am going to miss it here and that it will be a big shame if I don't come back. I am going to miss my parents so much, and Mr. F too. I tried to laugh and smile on the way to the airport, and I am truly happy to leave, but the truth is that I don't feel 100% happy about leaving.

Sitting here in this little lounge, I still feel like I have some kind of unfinished business. I keep on checking my bags, rifling through all of my things...but everything I can think of that I need is here. I gave Mr. F my US contact information, I told my parents I would miss them, and I looked around my room for random stuff I might be able to slide into either of my suitcases or bags.

There is nothing. I'm here, and I am leaving it all behind. I am so anxious and scared about grad school right now as well, so there is this witch's brew of emotions churning in my stomach. I am so, so, so excited about starting a new life and being in a different place other than Saudi, I am so nervous about travelling, I am so frightened by grad school, and I am worried about my new living arrangements with so many new people I don't know - everyone is a stranger in this new place I am going to live in.

Before this post gets super depressing, I need to tell you that I am sitting here feeling all bubbly, but with a bit of a heavy heart. I am not crying my eyes out, or throwing myself at the mirrored wall (this lounge has some ritzy elements!) but I am feeling the effects of departure. I guess it is always very hard to leave what is familiar and go to a new place. However, there is definitely a part of me that is optimistic and raring to go!

I am going to take a deep breath, get another sandwich, and play some Plants vs. Zombies. That should calm me down! If only I could finish my Dragon Age game...naaaah. Too much of a hassle finding that mouse in my overpacked bag!

Next time I will be blogging from Frankfurt, hopefully, if they have a place with internet! If not, I will type up my post and put it online when I have a chance to when I get to the US.

P.S. That naggy woman is back...and she is rifling through all the food again. I wonder what she will find to complain about next?


  1. Frankly, what else is there to do in airport lounges but update your blog? ;)

    I totally understand the mixed feelings that go with moving. But, you know, this is what we do - you will miss stuff in Riyadh, but you will also cherish what comes your way back in the US. And you will handle the new living situation + grad school just fine. :)

  2. hahahaha lucky that atleast you have internet connection! everytime im in the airport I just wander around look for something to eat and then concentrate on that "alone time" ....

    have fun! and keep us posted! :D

  3. Haha there is nothing to do in the airport!

    Hotcakes, I just spent a couple of hours without internet here in Frankfurt! It was horrible! I will be posting about it soon.