Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Big Tree

Everyone wanted the Goat to start in Qatar as soon as possible. At the approval interview, the Client suggested “1st July, or sooner if possible,” and was thus over the moon to learn that the Goat could be available on 26th June.

And so it was that the Goat was sent a ticket to Fly Dubai on Saturday evening. Such a pity that the 45-minute flight took rather longer than that to get off the ground.

First, all passengers were bussed out to the aircraft and left waiting for ten minutes. Then a nice man with a fluorescent waistcoat told us that we’d “have to be returned to the terminal for a few minutes for technical reasons.”

Ah, yes. Good old “technical reasons.” What non-technical reasons might prevent a scheduled flight?

We all had to pass through Security again, so it was once more off with shoes, belts, watches, phones... What exactly is Security looking for? We were marshalled under supervision from the terminal to the bus, then from the bus into the terminal. There are very few opportunities to acquire guns, explosives, drugs or sharp objects on an airport shuttle bus. Perhaps someone was spotted sharpening a pencil with his nostril.

“A few minutes” is difficult to define, other than “more than one.” It turned out to be 50 before once more we queued fragrantly to board the bus.

Once aboard, the Captain apologised profusely. He explained that he was not happy with one of the aircraft tyres, and it had been quicker to change aircraft than to drive over to Quik-Fit.

Then Engine No. 2 refused to start. More apologies from the pointy end. Eventually, the Captain explained that the starter motor was being changed, and would everyone kindly bear with us? Like we had any choice, what with the steps having been removed from the doors.

Nevertheless, full marks for the captain for telling his self-loading cargo what the problem had been (instead of hiding behind the vagueness and obfuscation of “technical reasons”), that it had been resolved, and of course, he apologised.

And so, three hours later than advertised, Fly Dubai got airborne.

There was, of course, an enormous queue at Doha Arrivals. It took over half an hour to clear Immigration. This is normal in Doha International Airport on Friday and Saturday nights. The Goat speculates on how the authorities who have been unable to speed up Passport Control since 1996 are planning to deal with thousands of footie fans who’ll inevitably descent on Doha en masse in 2022. There appears to be an elephant in the room.

At least the company-provided temporary accommodation proved acceptable. It’s a one-bed apartment with an excellent sea view and allocated parking. The Goat wasted no time in obtaining a rental car, this being rather more preferable to waiting interminably for company drivers.

And the job started in earnest on the first day, and is utterly exhausting. No slow start for this Goat!



Martín said...

I can't say I'm sorry for your exhausting first day. I'm just glad you've got a job without leaving everything behind and starting off again samewhere else.
Good luck!

Grumpy Goat said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Martín, but I am starting again from scratch. Qatar is a completely different country from the UAE.

But at least it's only a few hundred kilometres from my Beloved Wife, so frequent weekends together are a realistic proposition.

I am going to import my motorbike, just as soon as my Residence Permit is in place. Without an RP, almost all encounters with Officialdom are nigh-on impossible.

Mita said...

Congratulations on the new job!

Paraglider said...

Welcome to Doha!

Anonymous said...

TMIL is greatly at peace that the Goat is once again among the employed. Good Luck, enjoy, and look carefully for silver linings (or is that an Americanism?)


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