Flying toward Nepal

I may or may not have spilled pasta sauce all over my sweatshirt on the plane. It wasn’t even like I wanted the pasta; I was full from the soup and salad that had come before but I hadn’t figured out how to tell the wonderful stewardess that I couldn’t eat any more. I ended up taking two bites, spraying myself with sauce, then leaving it in retribution. I did tell her I didn’t want dessert though.

I’m sitting now in the Doha airport aka the “Best Airport in the Middle East.” I’m way outside of my cultural comfort zone but I feel more at peace than I expected ~ this is probably because of Wensday and Malik. We met in the Boston airport although Wensday and I’ve been talking via Facebook message for a while now. It’s awesome to meet people in the context of leaving for a semester in Nepal. Now we’re whiling away the time, waiting for our flight to Kathmandu in about 8 hours. We could’ve left the airport to explore Doha, but none of us are culturally prepared and it’s nighttime here (our flight is at around 2 am) so we decided to sleep in turns and explore the airport.

So far, I’ve noticed the cultural difference in clothing (the most obvious): women have their shoulders and knees covered, and are often garbed in the burqa or black scarves and dresses. In line for coffee a man moved in front of me; I cannot say whether or not this was a cultural difference ~ perhaps he didn’t see me or was in a hurry, but I noted it regardless. Also, when asking us to move an airport employee referred only to Malik, saying “Sir, please, this is not a resting area.”

Also eye contact is different here, I think. My habit is to look at people and smile but I don’t think that’s culturally appropriate. The people who have smiled back, though, make my heart warm. 

I’m glad to have studied anthropology before this because I feel less that my own culture is right and that the differences I notice are not; i stead my interest has been piqued and I’m open-minded. 


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