For the second time, my travels have taken me through the airport in Doha, Qatar. Each time I have been impressed — if not amazed — by the high end shopping available… at an airport, of all places. If you want any famous label on your clothes, purse, or jewelry, then the airport in Doha is the place to go. Would you like to see some examples?
Mclaren is considered one of the fastest and best made cars in the world. In fact, they fall into the Super Car category. I don’t know how much this one would cost, but hopefully they will negotiate the price! I must admit, this was the first time I had seen a Mclaren in an airport!
In the shopping areas, I saw many bottles of expensive alcoholic beverages. Some of the bottles were quite large, as you can see in the photo above.
Speaking of beverages, apparently tea is taken very seriously in Qatar. As you can see from this display, you can have many different ways to prepare your tea, and there are several different types of tea to enjoy.
In the event your travels lead you to Doha, Qatar’s airport, you may want to budget a little extra time and money for shopping. Enjoy your traveling!
For my last trip to Asia, I was looking for the least expensive airfare I could find. The best rate had me going through Doha, Qatar, so I thought it would be nice to see a new country, and the trip was booked. My itinerary had me going from Doha, Qatar to Hyderabad, India. The flights went well, and so did my getting through customs in India, but that is when my travel plans fell apart!
I arrived in Hyderabad at about 1:00 AM and made it through customs easily and reclaimed my luggage. To check in for my next flight, I had to go outside and up to a ground level floor, where I was stopped by armed military men. I told them that I had just arrived and needed to check in for my next flight. One man with a rifle and pistol took my itinerary and walked off. His partner told me to wait by the door, and the guy with my paperwork was gone for almost 30 minutes — and then my new day turned for the worse!
When the man with the guns and my itinerary returned, he told me that my flight didn’t exist! Then his partner took my itinerary and passport and went to the ticket counter for my alleged flight. I could see him the entire time, unlike the first man; and he came right back and told me to go to the ticket counter at 8:30 to get booked for their next flight to my next city of Visakhapatnam, India. Finally, I was given my passport and itinerary and allowed to enter the airport!
My first stop was to the ticket counter, and they told me that my flight never existed, and they didn’t know how my travel agent booked the flight. I asked for their next flight, which was at about noon, so I had a very long layover in the Hyderabad airport. I did, however, make a new friend — would you like to see?
Yes, that pigeon decided to share breakfast with me! I had seen other flights on other airlines leaving before my flight, so I asked at the counter about a reciprocal relationship with the airlines so I could get on an earlier flight, and I was told that there were no relationships like that with their airline . . . so I waited . . . and waited. Oh, did I mention I had a long wait?
When it was finally late enough for me to work my way to the gate, I saw a sign that was extremely ironic and even painfully funny at the time. I will show it to you below!
So, the airport where I had been somewhat detained by armed military men that took my itinerary and passport, booked on a nonexistent flight, and had about an 11 hour layover had been chosen as the number one airport in the world. Wow, I would have hated to have seen the worst airport in the world!
Oh well, when you travel, you have to be prepared to have things (some good and some not so good) occur that are out of your control. Trust me, you will have much less stress and frustration if you accept what you can’t control and try to make the best of the new situation!
On my last trip to Asia, the best airfare I could find had me going through Doha, Qatar, on Qatar Air. I thought it would be interesting to see a new country, so I was pleased to find an inexpensive flight, and it was booked. Would you like to see Doha?
My apologies for the quality of this photo, but since it is so hot in Qatar, all of the windows to the exterior of the airport were treated to block some of the sun. I can’t imagine how hot it gets there during their summer months! Hopefully you can make out some of the tall buildings in the background. This photo doesn’t display how large an area Doha’s skyscrapers occupied, but trust me, it was expansive.
During my flight to Qatar, I found it interesting that one of the options on your personal entertainment screen was the Quran. Also, when I arrived in the Doha airport, I learned that women had a separate prayer room from men, as you can see from the sign suspended from the ceiling. Obviously I don’t know much at all about the culture in Qatar!
Doha’s airport was modern and clean, and it had several play areas for children. One of the interesting observances I had while there were all of the upscale shopping options. Also, within the airport, very tall palm trees were growing. One person told me that most of the hourly workers at the Doha airport were people from Syria. I don’t know if that was true or not, but the person that told me this has traveled extensively, so I believed him.
So far my trip was going well. But you will need to read my blog scheduled for the 15th of June to see if my good fortune continued!
Recently I was traveling to China, and I had a layover in Newark, NJ. While I was in the airport, I saw a couple of things that were once very popular, but I hadn’t seen them used in a very long time. Can you guess what they were?
Not only did I see a shoeshine stand that was in use, but there was actually a line of people waiting to have their shoes polished! Man, I can’t remember the last time I witnessed a line at this type of a business, even if it wasn’t in an airport.
Shortly after feeling good about seeing the old shoeshine place having a thriving business, I saw the opposite. Near the shoeshine stand, I saw a wall full of pay phones. I think the cell phone industry and technology have had a huge impact on the use of pay phones. I had to wonder why those pay phones were still mounted on the walls. Maybe if someone left their cell phone at home before they started their trip, or were just entering the country, they may want to use the pay phones, but I think most people defer to their cell phone.
It was good to see that not all of our culture is obsolete!
Some don’t know this, but Beijing actually has two public airports. Everyone has heard of Beijing Capital Airport on the northeast side of town, which has the huge new terminal built to handle the influx of travelers for the 2008 Olympics. But did you know there was also another airport on the south side of Beijing?
The southern airport is called Nan Yuan Fei Jie Chong, and it was once a military airport. When I first started using that airport several years ago it had some amazing charm to it. One of the most interesting things about it was how a tractor with a flatbed trailer would haul the luggage, unloaded by hand, to a barn. The people would walk into the barn, and then the tractor would bring in the luggage. From there, you would exit into a parking lot, where you would argue and negotiate prices with a group of taxi drivers. Believe it or not, it really was a lot of fun going back and forth with those guys. It would always end with laughter, a couple of pats on the back, and a thumbs up. Another interesting thing about this airport was how you would see old military plans parked around the airport.
Now this airport has undergone massive renovations, and unfortunately, it has lost some of the charm it once had. Your luggage now comes into the terminal on a conveyor belt, so no more barn and tractor. Also, most of the vintage military plans have been moved. Additionally, there is an orderly system of getting a taxi now, and you don’t have to negotiate with the taxi drivers.
The terminal itself is now much larger and more modern. There are several gates now where there was once only a couple, and there are many shops within the airport where there once were none that I remember. Ahhh, I guess this is progress!
One of the more interesting things that is still consistent with the updated facility is the loading process. You still exit the terminal’s gate, get on a bus, and drive on the tarmac where you board your plane via portable steps! It truly is an interesting process to enjoy!
Have you ever been to either of the airports in Beijing?
What do you do after flying across 12 time zones and you have to wait on a connecting flight as you try to stay awake? I like to walk around the airport and look for interesting sights. Something that I can consistently find at the Beijing Capital Airport is unique paint jobs on the aircraft taxing around the buildings!
Often I can find new designs or bold colors, like the aircraft above. Then again, I may find some interesting logo or flags.
I have seen planes painted to look like a dragon, and I have seen another painted canary yellow, which really caught my eye.
Yes, I can find some interesting paint jobs! And I apologize for the quality of the photos — they are taken through a window, and the air quality in Beijing can be an issue at times.
As I watch the planes take off and land, I think about how many pounds of thrust the engines must produce to get that much weight going fast enough for the required lift to take place to get the plane off the ground. Fascinating to me, but some travelers never want to think about that aspect of their flight’s safety.
What do you find most interesting about air travel today?
There are sights to see almost everywhere we look, even at an airport in a country where you have visited many times. If you have followed my blog posts, you will know that I not only encourage people to travel, but to have a camera ready when they do travel.
So, there I was standing in the security line at the airport when I noticed the most unique backpack I think I have ever seen being carried by an adult! It truly caught me by surprise, and since I am a dog lover, I liked it very much! Check it out below!
Another image that caught my eye not long after getting through the security line at the Beijing Capital Airport was for marketing. I think most of us know who Michael Phelps is, and apparently so do the people in China. After the scandal that rocked the Olympic Swimming Team, it is good to see that some are rewarded for not “messing things up!”
Don’t forget, travel when and where you can, and have your camera ready.
I regret not capturing some of the sights I have seen, because I didn’t have a camera with me and ready to use. There have been many other mistakes I have made, so keep reading my blog posts and you can learn from my mistakes!
What’s the most interesting sight you’ve seen — that you missed a chance to get a picture of, because you didn’t have your camera ready?
Friends are a good thing to have! Anytime and anyplace, having friends you can count on is a wonderful feeling. Who knows, they may even help you from time to time — that is what my airport buddy does in China.
Over the years, I have had many interactions with a man in the Beijing airport. I don’t know his name, and he doesn’t know my name, but we recognize each other when we see one another. He solves a problem for me, and I appreciate that very much!
To exchange American currency into Chinese currency when I go to China, I like to go to the Bank of China in the Beijing airport. Other money exchange booths charge unwanted fees, and I am sure the Bank of China has the correct exchange rate. The bad thing about using the Bank of China at the airport is you have to wait a long time in line. They do personal banking and business accounts at the bank, so the line can sometimes be quite long. Also, it can be quite hot waiting at the bank in the summer.
My friend in the picture above not only does the transaction right away, but he also doesn’t charge any fees, doesn’t record your passport information, and gives me a slightly better rate than the bank. Additionally, there are no forms to fill out when dealing with him. For the life of me, I don’t know why the bank lets him hang out around their lobby and take clients away from them, but they do. They even let him use their money counter, which sifts through the bills and counts them quickly. All you have to do is give him your American dollars and he will give you Chinese currency. He is must faster than the bank, and that is wonderful when you have a connecting flight.
I always feel safer on the streets in China than I do on the streets of America. To show you how safe it is there, he walks around with a satchel of money and a suitcase full of money. I used him on my last trip, and he even let me take a picture of his “vault!”
Have you ever needed to exchange currencies in a foreign country? Did you find someone as helpful as my airport buddy?
From my many domestic flights within China, I have noticed a few things that are consistent. It appears to me that if there are many foreigners on the flight, they will all be seated in the middle of the plane. Maybe this is to make sure a flight attendant with strong foreign language skills can speak with us, or maybe they assume we are all friends. I don’t know.
The other seat I am usually assigned is in the back of the plane. I don’t mean near the back, I mean the very last row. This is where I was on my last trip, the last row. The flight was full, and the only foreigners I remember seeing were with me, so in the back we went!
I will have to say this for the fleet of planes I have flown in China; they are almost always spotless on the inside and look new. The flying experience has come a long way since I first started going to China. Years ago there were no assigned seats, so when we boarded the plane there was a crazy rush of people getting on the plane, because everyone wanted a good seat.
This is the view when you are the last passenger off the plane! If your patience can last that long, it is very easy to exit the plane this way.
During my last visit to China, I was in a rush going to my gate at the airport. However, something caught my eye. The walls of the long corridors leading to the gates had some huge and beautiful murals on them. I wished I had some time to stop and admire them, but I didn’t. (Well, actually as it turns out I did, but I didn’t know it at the time. This is a story for another day!)
Some of these murals were of typical sights in China and others were from very recognizable locations. I apologize for the quality of the photos but, like I said, I was in a hurry to get to my gate.
Hopefully you will enjoy these photos as much as I did. This was a pleasant surprise in the airport. I hope you can recognize the Great Wall of China!
To read more stories about the airports in China – click here.