So the trip home works like this; up at 1.30am (local time) to check out of the hotel and then get a car to the airport. Bag drop, security, immigration, and a bleary couple of hours sat around before being loaded onto a plane for 4.40am departure to Doha. Arrive Doha and at least find a decent cup of coffee to kick-start my brain before more sitting around in various lounges and then the actual bloody plane is delayed on the tarmac for over an hour, before the 7 hour flight back to Manchester, landing just after 2pm, which given the time zones means I've already been up 15 hours on about 3 hours sleep and some catnapping on the aircraft. No wonder I struggled to use the e-gate properly!
So to step back a little, Thursday was always going to be the "do everything else we'd not got around to" day, which made it a little bitty and disorganised. Work-wise I ended up just trying to go back and clarify bits and pieces that my notes indicated I'd probably not quite understood, or just needed a bit more clarity, I suspect more of that next week too, once I've caught up whatever I'm behind on with "the day job". We also got a trip out to the projected new offices the India Team are moving to in the next month or so, which doubled as our first exposure to a couple of hours without near-constant Air Conditioning.
Wednesday was the warmest October day in three years at 38.2 Celsius. At least its the start of winter, because its well into the forties in the summer. Ironically, this means that the India Office is cooler in the summer than the UK office, because they keep the Air Con at a nice 20 degress (ish)! Anyhow, the new office is still pretty much a building site - I had a moment when I realised most of the power tools are just spliced into other cables, rather than having plugs - but it will be pretty cool when finished and a big upgrade for them.
The trip out also involved a stop off to get snacks to bring back to the UK office. The shop was stacked high with pretty much everything you can imagine, Indian food wise, and the guy behind the counter was very cool letting us out-of-place looking English try a load of samples before picking what to take back. It's pretty eclectic and getting reactions from the office will be interesting, I think. And then that was pretty much done for the trip, just a final stop off to say goodbye to everyone and then back to the hotel to try and scavenge some sleep before the aforementioned early call.
A couple of final observations from the way back. I mentioned earlier that the poverty seems further away than my last visit and I think thats true, but night-time does expose it again, especially the density of people living and sleeping on the streets at night. Also at night you see a lot of police checks and road blocks, and oddly the road blocks themselves all have adverts on them. We didn't get stopped of course, just waved straight through, which may be my White Privilege showing. And lastly, a vignette from Doha Airport security. We were waiting in line to pick our carry-on up from the Transit security when there is a hold up ahead of us. One of the passengers is haranguing the Security Guard for being "disrespectful" and its all looking a little heated. Finally, the Security guy picks up the passengers passport and waves it at him, yelling "I have your Passport now. You will not get on an aircraft today!" and he's lead off. The moral of this story, I guess, is never upset someone who can Cavity Search you on a whim.
Anyway, it's good just to be home and sleep in your bed.