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Discarded Boxes in the Airport Lounge

Bahrain Airport as the Day Comes to a Close – January 1999
This follows on from A Day at the Hilton, the Hilton Hotel in Bahrain where we spent the day sleeping, primarily, after the aeroplane we were travelling in developed a fault. Back in the airport we watched as Pakistani guest workers unwrapped their duty-free hi-fi and the package tourists queued, well what else do they ever do?
Back into buses to be taken back to the airport.
The Monarch aeroplane, or rather a Monarch aeroplane, a different one from that which had broken down, was at the embarkation tunnel but not announced on the departure screens.
We sat and watched the late night passengers departing. Most of the Arabs had gone by now. Now it was Indians and Pakistanis. Migrant workers going home, most had bought a duty-free Brixton briefcase, which they appeared to have bought in the airport duty-free shop.
Presumably the next obstacle in their lives would be convincing the customs official in Karachi that they had not just bought it duty-free, and to this end the discarded the wrapping and did a bit of minor impromptu scuffing-up. No doubt there was a dodgy backdated receipt tucked away in their tunic somewhere.
When the flight for Karachi was called, the now half-empty departure lounge was awash with discarded boxes and wrapping.
But Where Are Our Fellow Passengers?
Oh yes, of course, queuing for the aeroplane, whose departure had not even been announced yet. And why? We all have booked seats haven’t we?
Actually no, as we discovered as the last people to board. It was a different type of aeroplane. Bigger, but people had been spreading themselves out across the rows of three. And being the last ones on we could not find two seats anywhere close together, except where the crew had reserved for themselves in the rear of the plane. They unreserved a couple of seats for us, to avoid disappointment, and to avoid having to ask anyone to move over to make room.
Off We Go Again
Off we go again, up in the air, the cabin crew being incredulous that we declined a gin and tonic, which was now free on account of the inconvenience. Everyone else so far as we could see had one, many people grabbing two.
One of the reasons for the additional delay was that the airport at Trivandrum did not open until 8am, so we couldn’t take off until 4½ hours before that, at 2.30am Bahrain time.
Another airline meal of dry, squeaky chicken, and by the time that was all cleared away we got about an hour’s snooze before looking out of the window at the palm trees and white beaches of southern India.
The story continues with This is India.


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