Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Flying Safi Air

Only in Dubai... Maybachs at Duty Free!
‘You’re in luck, Mr. Brotherton’, the Safi Airways (The International Airlines of Afghanistan) agent declared on check-in.  ‘Today we are using our really big aircraft.  Usually the plane is much smaller.’  Why I didn’t feel as lucky as he encouraged me to, I don’t know.  Another on-time departure, leaving the gate 45 minutes late, to wait on the tarmac for 45 more.  Leaving Dubai during the day was a treat in that it afforded me the opportunity to see this amazing place from the air.  It is literally a city crawling out into the sea, a la Amsterdam or Venice, without the old world charm but with better weather.  I look forward to returning to swim in the gulf and marvel at the architecture.

I am really amazed at the terrain from Dubai heading north.  This is a part of the world I have never been.  The massive unoccupied desert all the way to the sea puzzles me.  Why no resorts?   Having flown over endless foreboding Alaskan mountains dozens of times, I can reluctantly admit that I always reflect on what it would be like to end up down there (i.e., “in case of a mountain landing,…”).  I think I would prefer the getting dumped in the Brooks Range to the Hindu Kush. These mountains that seem to be sand dunes, devoid of any vegetation go on forever. I am pleased to have just gotten a ticket to fly to Mazar I Sharif tomorrow..  I last traveled that route by road but that is no longer practical.  I will learn my lesson and study the map before getting on the plane.

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