So where to start…was the beginning the work trip to Burma that was cancelled just as we were due to head to the airport at 4:30 am? It was very disruptive, but it did mean my suitcase was packed two weeks before Andrew and I did a second attempt and we actually left Wellington en-route for Paris, via Singapore and Doha (Qatar)
After a long connection in Singapore we flew eight hours to Doha where we had enough stop-over time to do the three hour Qatar Airlines transit tour of the city. It was an interesting, if fleeting, insight into this Arab state made rich by liquid gas reserves. The manufactured city has boomed in the last 10 years supported by immigrant workers who have their passports confiscated to ensure they complete their work contracts.
This a country where gasoline costs 20 cents a gallon and water $1 per litre. It was so hot; 40 degrees, (heading for a high for the day of 47 degrees) that there were no motorbikes and very seldom did we see anyone walking anywhere.
The tour, in a beautifully air conditioned minibus went around the harbour, old town and new town. At the end we stopped at the souk (market) for half an hour to wander around. We are pleased we had a look, but can’t see us returning there in the near future
The new airport had only been open a couple months and certainly reflected the estimated 15 billion dollar construction price tag. For some reason on our security screening coming back into the airport as, well as taking his belt off Andrew was rather unusually asked to return and put his handkerchief in the screening trays. The man supervising the trays certainly didn’t look overjoyed with the prospect of having to touch or go anywhere near the rather crumpled and certainly not unused handkerchief!
Back on the plane for another seven hours flying, before arriving into Charles de Gaulle, Paris at 8:30pm, only to find that our bags had not made the same journey with us. We filled out the incident reports and Qatar airlines gave us each the euro equivalent USD$50 to cover immediate needs.
On the positive side travelling on the metro without bags was a breeze. And we were lucky we were blissfully unaware what lay ahead of us to get our bags back…