Posts tagged ‘musing’
When I landed in Doha for the first time back in 2005, I was surprise that I had to take the stairs and walk on the runway to the bus to take me to the airport arrival lounge and the immigration counter. Then I learned that for 2006 Asian Games, Qatar would use a new airport, for the athletes. As the time got nearer to the event, I wondered when would this new airport open. Then I heard the gossip that ‘they’ couldn’t make it for the Asian Games and instead they would open a temporary arrival lounge especially for the Asian Games athletes and officials.
Now, more than six years on, Qatar is still working on the New Doha International Airport, or rather the Hamad International Airport; but it’s now very close to the opening time, at least the authority is sort of announcing the soft opening date, the 1st of April 2013. The question is whether this is for real or an April Fool?
I think this is now for real, as now I am part of the team involved in the construction of this new airport, at least I know how far it is to go for the finishing of the airport and at least I know and I can see how the airport will look like; as six years ago, I never knew anything about the design or the shape of the airport.
Did I mention that it’s only a soft opening? As only 10 airlines will fly from HIA on the 1st of April, namely:
- Air Arabia,
- Air India Express,
- Biman Bangladesh Airlines,
- Iran Air,
- Nepal Airlines,
- Pakistan International Airline,
- RAK Airways,
- Syrian Air
- Yemen Airways,
So for the frequent flyers with Qatar Airways and from the other bigger airlines, they will have to wait until at least the end of the year when officially the airport will be fully operated.
Here are some interesting facts about the new airport as of Doha News which said:
“There are 41 contact gates in the main passenger terminal – Those gates have some 88 Passenger Loading Bridges. That means no more long bus rides to and from the planes – passengers can just walk down the bridge onto the plane, like at many other airports in the world. Also, the terminal itself should be able to handle 28 million people a year.”
Does this now mean a competition between 3 airports in the region? (namely Abu Dhabi Airport, Dubai Airport and Doha Airport) and is there a need to have 3 hubs in the region? I just try to compare the competition of airports in the ‘80s between Amsterdam and Frankfurt airport, when both tried to be the European air hub, but never fulfilled it’s expectation.
“Terminal 1 will have 150 passenger check-in stations. That includes 14 check-in booths for First Class and 16 check-in desks for Business Class. Ideally that also means no waiting in long lines, although that remains to be seen.”
I guess Qatar is gearing up toward the 2022 World Cup (which is 9 years away from now) when they will expect an influx of tourists and football fans. But between now and then, I can’t see any possibility that Qatar will have so many visitors except business people and expats. I wonder what will happen after the World Cup? I just remember the building of new airports in Barcelona, just for the Olympic Games, but after that, the airport was too empty….
“The next phase of the airport will handle 50 million passengers a year. Dubbed Phase 3A, and due to be completed by 2017, it will include the development of an expansion of Terminal 1 and the addition of a training center, rail station, car rental facilities, a “sea rescue” harbor and a multi-story parking structure.”
Well, I don’t think I will be there by the time the next terminal opens. Will I still be a Seasoned Traveler and using Qatar Airways to see the “New” terminal…? Who knows…..
Originally I started blogging as a journal, and a way of telling people I left behind of my adventure as an Indonesian expat living in Arabia. Mainly it was for my Dad, who loved to hear/read about me and for my friends and other relatives who might wants to know about me, so that I don’t have to tell them again and again the stories, besides the beauty of blogging is that I can add photographs to make the story more juicy.
The truth is, my Dad was too old to have his own Internet access, let alone to be able to read my blog. Friends and relatives: they acknowledge that I have ‘that thing’ in the Internet, but do they read it? NO!!!
Now, 7 years on, in between my dad has passed away, my readers come and go, my virtual friends, fellow bloggers have changed too, they have moved on, from blogging to tumbling and tweeting and maybe only Facebook-ing, so why am I still blogging? that’s because I like it and love doing it.
Yes, I must admit that there are ups and downs in blogging, and the truths are:
- Blogging is supposed to be a hobby, but I end up spending more time doing it than I’ve ever expected to.
- Like other forms of journalism, blogging is no different. Prior to publishing my writing, I need to do some reading and research, so that what I write will not be total porky pies. Thus, it takes time to do the preparation, cooking and everything else before I can deliver.
- My blog posts are always behind from when I actually want to post it.
- I need to do some networking, visiting other blogs, do some reading and commenting so they will do the same favour and to get visited from other bloggers.
- Networking means not only visiting other blogs but also setting up profiles for Twittering, Facebooking, Flickring, and other social networking media, just to tell people (not bloggers) that here I am….
- Blog beautification is another thing; that is to make my blog attractive, easy to navigate around etc. I am not a techie and I know nothing about web design; thus I have to figure out everything myself, which also takes time.
- Organizing the pictures to use as my blog illustration as well as for my photo-blog, which collection has become thousands now and yet I still don’t know how to use them effectively.
- I need to post regularly and frequently enough so that I can keep my readers at least occupied, not to mention Twittering, Facebooking etc., otherwise, my readers will go somewhere else.
Yes, I can upgrade myself like using a premium theme, or upgrade to a pro and using my own domain. The question is what’s next after the upgrade? One thing for sure, I will spend more time trying to figure out how to operate the new theme instead of writing blog posts.
Yes, I have been blogging for nearly 7 years now, and yet I still think blogging is a hobby, which should not take more that 8 hours a day; I don’t want to commit to become a full time blogger, as I still have my day job that pays and consumes most of my time; yet I can not stop blogging and thinking about it….
Untuk kebanyakan orang Indonesia, terutama orang Jawa, kalimat “apalah arti sebuah nama?” benar-benar berlaku seperti itu. Di Indonesia pada umumnya: tidak penting nama seseorang itu salah ejaannya, atau apakah dia memiliki satu nama saja atau tiga nama misalnya; nama belakangpun atau nama keluarga, tidak begitu penting, kecuali untuk beberapa suku, misalnya Batak, Menado, Maluku; suku yang lain menganggapnya tidak penting dan malah mungkin tidak perlu, Nurul menganggapnya begitu
Nama ini menjadi identitas diri yang kemudian dipakai di segala macam institusi dimana kita ingin bergabung dan terdaftar; dari mulai sesederhana seperti KTP, Passport, Bank Account, sampai dengan Facebook.
Indonesia adalah satu-satunya negara yang tidak mengenal konsep nama belakang. Diluar Indonesia, nama itu menjadi penting; dari mulai ejaan nama, sampai dengan nama belakang dan bahkan kadang-kadang ‘Middle Name’. Lalu bagaimana apabila kita ingin bepergian ke luar negeri? Pengalaman saya sebagian expat, banyak negara-negara tujuan mempertanyakan nama belakang ini. Akibatnya ada surat khusus yang harus di keluarkan olaeh pemerintah indonesia. Pertanyaannya sekarang nama belakang apa yang mau dipakai? Nama ayah? (yang kadang cuma satu nama saja), atau nama keluarga?
Seorang teman expat Indonesia terpaksa menunda keberangkatannya untuk bekerja di luar negeri melullu karena kasus namanya di passport cuma satu. Begitu juga seorang teman expat yang lain, visa istrinya untuk berkunjung ke Qatar sempat tidak bisa di proses karena namanya cuma satu.
Sialnya imigrasi di Indonesia sudah terbiasa dengan kasus ini, yang kemudian menambahkan nama belakang sesukanya, apakah itu pengulangan nama orang tersebut, atau nama panggilan salah satu orang tuanya.
Pada jaman pemerintahan Presiden Sukarno, beliau mengharuskan seseorang memiliki nama belakang dan itu di cerminkan dengan memberi nama anak-anaknya, misalnya: Megawati Sukarnoputra. Sayangnya kebijaksanaan ini tidak dilanjutkan oleh Presiden penerusnya – mungkin karena Suharto cuma punya satu nama saja. Sialnya lagi tidak ada aturan baku dari pemerintah Indonesia dalam hal nama belakang ini, padahal dengan adanya nama belakang ini memudahkan Pemerintah dalam menelusuri identitas, dan keturunan seseorang; muda Saka melakukan sensus dan masih banyak keuntungan lainnya. Wikipedia Indonesia menjelaskan sistem penamaan nama belakang yang umum dipakai di Indonesia
Living in the Middle East gives me a lot of different experiences and exposure to all sorts of things, one of these is the term “trying to rain”, which where I come from, there is no such thing as ‘trying to rain’.
That is what it looks like, dark sky, not that cloudy enough, and it will go on for hours; today, its the whole afternoon, from 2.30 pm till sunset. Once it rains, it could be just a few drops of water and last only for 5 minutes.
Where I come from, on the equator, when the sky becomes dark then immediately after that it will start raining, regardless of whether it’s drizzling or ‘pissing stair rods’.
I love, but I did’nt really start traveling until I was 45. The major obstacle was finance, thus I ended up working my butt off behind a computer, just to earn a living. I always wondered how those back packers could travel with limited money. As for me, to make sure that I had spare money at the end of the month to enjoy myself like going to a café once a month is already was hard work. Everything changed when I got a job offer in the Middle East and I become an expat.
Having an expat salary really gave me a big economical boost that enabled me to finance my traveling. However there’s this other painful reality that I have to face when traveling; VISA! Being born and having a third world Nationality, going to other countries (other than going home to my own country) I need to check the visa requirements for each country that I plan to visit.
When reading a lot of travel books and travel blogs where they always say you need to check for visa requirements. However, they never say that obtaining a visa can be a real pain. A lot of travel bloggers telling stories of how they switch from being in the rat race and turn to be a traveler just like that, without any worries about visas and they just go without any preparation! I wonder why…?
However, talking to fellow expats coming from many different countries and with partners from differing countries with differing visa requirements, they moan about their partner, who needs to plan months ahead before traveling, as sometimes it takes more than a month just to prepare for the ‘hassle of getting a visa’.
This is an example of my experience when I tried to get a visa for UK in Qatar; and the same in Bahrain.
- British Embassy does not process any visa; they sub contract it to a visa agency called: VFS Global. Located in a separate building and they have no connection what so ever with the British Embassy.
- There is a long list and an elaborate form to fill-in before I can submit the visa application form to the agency; the application form can be downloaded from UK Border Agency
- I need to make an online appointment with the agency before I can personally hand in the application to the agency. In a busy season, it took me 3 weeks from the day I made an online appointment to the face to face meeting at the Agency. They give you a specific time as well; my slot was I had to be there between 12.30 to 13.00 o’clock. They also added a special note, telling me not to be late, as they will not entertain after the appointed time.
- To fill in the form, there are 2 pages of guidance notes on how to fill in the form; and the form itself consists of 8 pages of questionnaires about my personal information, and that includes my bank balance; how I will finance my travel and during my stay in the UK.
- They also asked for a letter from my sponsor (be it a husband or a company and if it’s from my husband, he needs to get a letter from his sponsor) stating salary and that I will return to Qatar after my visit.
- A photo copy of my bank statement or a printout of my bank statement is no good. It has to be certified by the bank!
- An ideal good document would also include copy of my entire old passport… thus, old passport still has it uses….
Apart from the visa agency, visiting other western countries requires the same procedure: make an appointment, compiling all the personal documents and information which takes weeks by itself before.
The question now is what if I wanted to do a RTW – round the world trip? I will only buy one way ticket and it’s an open ticket…. Could I visit UK still – even without a return ticket to my home country! And what happens if the country I plan to visit has no representative in the country I live and visas can only be applied from outside that country?