So this is it… we are really going. I can not believe it still – even now it feels so far away and the timespan of one year that is yet ahead of us does not seem like this much and home is really close still . But now. Now we are going. Now its the time for change.
The engines of the plane hum under the wings and the seats shake like they always do. I feel the G-Force acting upon my body and the chair gets pushed into my back. We start. Now. Finally. After so much waiting. The pressure on my back, the shaking of the seats, the hum of the engine – it all increases. More and more … then… Liftoff. The feeling of freedom. The little jump the plane does, the tickling in the feet, the need to pop my ears because of the little pressure decreases – I love all of that. Now… now we are on our way to Doha. And from there on to Sri Lanka. And from there on into the world.
We have bought a flight with Qatar Airways, which is my most favorite airline since my first flight to Thailand with them. And again and again I am amazed about how much they offer, especially if one is used to the Ryanair or Easyjet conditions from cheap flights around Europe. Flo was really amazed by their service and the onboard entertainment program and all the little goodies one gets on long-haul flights from them and could not stop telling me that.
Sick in Doha
Sadly I was a bit sick and am still the moment I am writing this. The sickness made the flight and especially the 10 hour stop-over at Doha really not “that” comfortable. But luckily my Mum bought me some medicine at the airport in Berlin which worked wonders and relieved the pain so that I could sleep for most of the time, just like Flo did.
Even luckier my nose was still free and I could pressurize my ears without much hassle. Serioursly, if you are ill and have blocked nostrils, do not try to get on a plane without some sort of nosespray. Seriously. Don’t. Quite anything is better than start and landing if you can not repressurize your ears.
Exploring the airport
We didn’t just sleep throughout our time in Doha. We also tried to explore some of the airport.
In short it is quite amazing. Modern architecture, huge halls, big white arks spanning under the rooftops, a reflecting floor in which all the little airport signs and lights reflect. It almost seems a bit out of this world (like a crazy spacecraft of sorts ^^) and humans seem to not quite fit into this surrealistic scifi scenery.
But still there are many people from all over the world and during times where lots of planes arrive, the place even seems a bit crowded. Free Wifi is (ofc) available and the blankets from the plane works wonders in combination with the comfortable sleeping chairs in one of the many quiet rooms. There is also a variety of different shops and such but all of them are quite expensive.
I think that’s the concept of Qatar Airways. Get out cheap, high quality-flights but with a medium-long stop-over at Doha and expect people to leave some of their money in the stores at the airport because they want to have some food or something to drink or because there is not really much else they can do. We even went to Burger King and nearly bought something too but in the end resisted because we did not want to spend like 7 Euro on a Burger.
Our second flight was a bit shorter and the machine was much smaller, but we got the same kind of service even though it was another carrier – Sri Lankan Airlines. But they are partners of Qatar, so yeah… meant warm meals and lots of free beverages for us.
Even though the flight was enjoyable, we arrived really late at the airport in Colombo and took quite some time to get out of it. But first things first… we bought an internet Sim-Card … hello Internet, hello world :). And got something to drink and eat. In this order. That’s important.
We wanted to see whether the monks replied by now and whether we could stay at their place for the night or not. They did reply, but said we could come to their place the next day. Panic rising. Where would we sleep, where should we go, what should we do? Yet another night spent at an airport was the last thing we wanted.
“Solving” our problem
After quite some time thinking and searching the web with our newly bought Sim-Card and not finding a place that still had an open reception and a possibility to check in we went out of the building with the idea of walking 30 minutes to the next beach and sleeping in our hammocks then. What a great start… at 2:40 local time – yeah 2:40 am. In our condition we got the attention of all the tuk-tuk and taxi-drivers waiting around the building and soon we figured we will get nowhere without them following us. So we gave in and negotiated a price that seemed “ok” to us and hopped in. The driver luckily took us to a “cheap” hotel, that still had a free room. Even more important to us it also had an open reception. Around 3:20 am we finally checked in and got our hardly needed sleep in a real bed. We were a bit in fear of bedbugs and such but hey… You can not be picky at this god-forsaken time.