Is it too much to ask that the use of deodorant be an international norm? At the present moment, I am crammed into a suffocatingly long transfer line at Doha airport, trying to stay afloat in this sea of weary travelers. I have just stepped off Leg One of this journey into the Middle East; Dubai to be exact, where I will officially add another world region to "the list". So far, this corner of the world is as smelly as any other.
On board my Qatar Airways flight, I have passed 6+ hours numbing my overactive mind with the greatest selection of films ever on offer while in the air. Gaze fixed forward, I revel in one feature film after another, beginning with An American in Paris. It seems fitting.
Every so often, my attention is pulled from this movie stupor by the main screen overhead, where a flight map ensures that at all times, I am aware of the distance and direction of Mecca in relation to the aircraft. Mecca: due West, 781 miles. The screen soon fades, the plane touches down, and I step off the flight and into the warm, dry air, thinking to myself that this looks exactly like what it is: an airport in a desert.
Jeans and high heels brush past burqas and sandals; some heads are covered by the traditional Ghutra, others adorned with Armani shades. East meets West in this airport terminal; the modern and traditional so easily blend. I pass through security without having to remove, take out, take off, unpack, undo, open, search or show anything at all. I feel spoiled and lucky that my native language is the official language of Air Travel.
The frenetic activity inside the glitzy universe of the Duty Free mega-shop repels me; instead, I tap into a rare moment of desperately craving a cocktail, yet there is not one bar in sight in which to indulge this desire. An airport without a bar, imagine that. I can get an A&W root beer float, a cheeseburger and fries, or as many cartons of cigarettes as I desire, but no cocktail. The world is funny that way.