Knowing that I’d probably get stuck in some decent traffic on the way to JFK, especially since I was leaving at rush hour, I left myself plenty of time to get to the airport. It also gives me incredible anxiety if I don’t give myself more than enough time to get somewhere when I am traveling. I’ll spend the whole way freaking out that I will miss my flight. And, since I made sure I left time for traffic and anything unpredictable, I had plenty of time to kill at the airport.
So, I headed straight to the bar (not that JFK really has any other option for killing time, there’s not much to do there). I ordered a gin and tonic, sat at the bar and pretty much just stared at my phone for a half hour trying to look busy until I ordered my second drink. The bartender had asked where I was headed and the man who had sat next to me asked my why I was going to Bali. I started talking to him about my trip. He was a private chef living in New York and on his way to Argentina to visit his family.
We spent a while talking about the value of traveling, especially while you are young. We discussed how so many people funnel themselves through this path of “college to grad school to job” in order to start their lives. But, what happens is so many people forget to actually start their lives. A career is important, don’t get me wrong, but a career isn’t a life.
He encouraged me to travel and even work abroad while I’m young and still free to do so. Internships and jobs give you a certain level of experience and skill sets, but so does traveling. Traveling gives you the ability to take what comes to you and work with it. It gives you confidence and tolerance. It allows you to look at problems in a different way and find solutions that you didn’t know existed.
Meeting people like this is always encouraging. I do sometimes worry that I need to get a steady job sometime soon and figure out a more solid life plan. But when I meet people like this, who remind me of my options outside the 9-5 (like finding something I’m passionate about and apply for a Fulbright scholarship as Jose did for me), it helps validate this path even more.
After I finished my drink and he finished his meal, he paid for both of our tabs (he wasn’t flirting, he’s gay). I told him he shouldn’t cover my tab and he responded by saying, “it’s only money” – something his father used to tell him. Sage words.
Both our flights were boarding so he wished me luck, we hugged goodbye, and I got on my plane to Doha, Qatar.
Awesome airline. this was my first time flying with them and I’m pretty impressed. The seats are pretty comfortable (as comfortable as a seat can be after sitting for 12 hours I suppose), they have a huge movie selection, the food is good, and the booze is free.
Naturally, like any basic white girl on her way to Bali, I watched Eat, Pray Love while drinking a glass plastic cup of red wine and eating an airplane portion of toffee swirled cheesecake.
By far the best airport experience ever. I had an almost nine hour layover and it was not bad at all. I actually enjoyed it. First off, this is the quietest airport I’ve ever been to. Getting off the plane and making my way through transfer to the departure terminal, it was almost silent – I later realized that this is partially due to Ramadan but whatever. Anyway…
So I made my way through to transfer security (in a matter of minutes) and headed to departures. First note: this is the only airport I have ever been to and probably will ever go to that has directions posted in relation to a giant teddy bear statue. So I headed downstairs (past the teddy) and walked around the shops and restaurants for a bit. Doha blows JFK out of the water (Jose actually said that JFK is so far behind from what other airports have become, it’s like it’s stuck in the 80s).
Why was this airport so awesome? So I knew before I got there that their is a hotel inside the airport and you can pay to use their pool for your layover. So for about $35 USD you get access to their pool, fitness center, and locker rooms which includes a spa jacuzzi. It sounds a little expensive but sooo worth it, especially with two days of traveling.
So I get to the pool and I am the only one there! I had the jacuzzi to myself in the locker room and the pool to myself as well. After a 12 hour flight, it was godly to soak in the jacuzzi and swim laps in the pool.
I was so relaxed after that. Until I got lotion all over my pants. Not something you want to do when your amount of clothing options are limited. I had a spare pair of pant in my carry on so I washed my lotion stained pants in the sink with a little Dr. Bronners and dried them the best I could with the hair blow dryer.
I kind of ruined my shower since I was sweating by the time I was done with that. But I actually went back a second time an hour before my flight was boarding to swim a little more and shower again before my next (over nine hour) flight.
Next highlights: one, food that wasn’t overpriced. I paid about $13 USD for a seared tuna nicoise salad. That costs $20 at JFK. And two, quiet lounges. They should honestly just call them nap lounges. All of the chair are reclined for maximal chilling. The one flaw: allowing children. This one woman’s child would not sit still and kept talking. A woman across from me kept trying to shush her.
After a nine hour layover, time for another 9+ hour flight. Next stop: Denpasar, Bali