Sunday, March 11, 2012

In an Airport in Dubai

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6

Thank you Lord for your comforting words.

After waiting n the Check-In line at Phx Airport for an hour and a half, I missed my flight to LAX. I was put on another flight leaving three hours later, meaning I would have to haul booty to make my connecting flight to Dubai at LAX. And that's exactly what I did.

Getting off the plane at LAX, I overheard a woman with three kids ask a security guard where the international flights were. She seemed in a hurry, so I asked her if she was also on the Dubai flight. She was.

So, we ran. I grabbed her little daughter's hand as we raced up the escalator, praying the flight would be delayed.

We all arrive at the check-in counter breathless, throwing our passports on the counter, pleading for travel mercies from the unhappy looking woman behind the computer. We have 15 minutes to catch a 16 hour flight.

While we wait, my running buddy changes her baby's diaper. "No one's looking," she says.

The manager makes an exasperated noise and switches computers. The printer is not printing our boarding passes.

My new friend and I exchange glances, bite our lips, and say a silent prayer. She has to get to Pakistan. I have to get to India.

Our boarding passes and passports are handed back to us and we run. We run like our lives depended on it. Gate 101: the very last gate at the end of the terminal.

As I race to the gate, I hear my name mispronounced over the loudspeaker, telling me I had better get on the flight..or be left behind to find another flight to Dubai.

I make it to the gate, panting, beads of sweat appearing on my forehead.

I make it to my seats with few minutes to spare.

A few hours into the flight...

While waiting fo an open restroom, several other passengers and myself congregate in the flight attendant hang out area, making small talk while the attendants stand around eating their dinner.

I let a man know I am going to India, Kolkata to be specific. He points to his wife, with whom I had been talking earlier, telling me she was born and raised in Kolkata. I also tell him I didn't need any more immunizations since I visited my parents in Kenya last summer.

"Do you speak Swahili?" he asks.

"Kidogo Kiswahili,' I reply. Little Swahili.

He laughs and tells me he is from Tanzania, but has lost a lot of Swahili because he moved when he was young.

"How did you meet your wife?" I ask, curious to know how an Indian and a Tanzanian got together.

"I traveled to India and we met and were married," he says, as if that explained everything.

"An arranged marriage," his wife adds, clarifying.

Perhaps knowing the western view of arranged marriages, he looks at his wife, smiling. "But, here we are, thirty years later.

An attendant comes over and unlocks the bathroom. There had been no one inside.

Twenty minutes well spent.

Now, in the Dubai airport, using free internet, I listen to the Muslim prayers being spoken, sung, over the loudspeaker. I'm off to read the Bhagavad Gita.

Thank you for your prayers.