Our journey continues on to Brussels, Belgium for approximately twelve hours. We spent the evening strolling around the Grand Place, looking for all the things we’ve heard we should try in Belgium, as much as we could in the brief time we had.
Which leads us to our morning flight out of Brussels Airport. While it was pretty simple to get to the airport, every step of the way after that–leaving the station/paying to enter the airport, check-in, security, and passport control–was pretty hectic, disorganized, and slow. This was partially due our own misinformation about train fares, getting slightly lost on foot in the city, and a payment snafu with the airline, but largely due to heightened security considering the bombings earlier this year, which I suppose called for much more thorough and frequent manual checks of baggage. Walking through the terminal, we could see areas that were quartered off for construction and renovation and odd makeshift detours that led us through toward the gates. Despite leaving the hotel apartment rather early, we got to our flight with a minute to spare before boarding closed. So lesson learned: if traveling through or out of Brussels, allow for extra time to catch your flight.
This brings us to our layover in Doha, Qatar, at the swanky Hamad International Airport (from where I brought you the previous post about Paris). Qatar Airways advertises this airport as “Your Gateway to the World,” which is certainly evident if you take a look at the departures board, filled with tons of locations that you wouldn’t be able to get to from certain North American airports (ahem, JFK). Piglet also had ample photo ops, pictured below, including some public art. My first thought when seeing these bronze sculptures was ‘EEEE OMG the 14th St/8th Ave A/C/E/L station’ in New York. Yup, same artist.
All in all, both flights were not bad considering that we had a three-seat row for the two of us on each flight! Minus the large [loud] tour group traveling together, seated together in our immediate vicinity who apparently were so excited to be traveling to KL that they talked the whole time and hovered over my shoulder in the aisles. I couldn’t blame them bc tourism and perhaps their spirit of adventure, and maybe they were stretching their legs to avoid swelling and such, which I got to do in the comfort of my own seat(s). Watching X-Men: First Class was probably not the wisest move on my part due to its Action/Adventure genre (also btw does not pass the Bechdel Test whatsoever), nor was the second cup of post-plane-meal black tea. Goal: To sleep as much as possible on the flights to prepare for daytime upon arrival. Not achieved, but nothing is on fire and we got here ok. Oh well, we’ve been stuck with Jet Lag again, our old friend.