Doha, Qatar

Doesn’t every airport need a giant teddy bear?

If you have virtually limitless oil money, you can build one hell of an airport.

This place is phenomenal: immense, spotless, gorgeous modern architecture. All of the finest stores, although I have never understood who goes to an airport to shop.

There are staff members in suits standing ready to scan you boarding pass and tell you what gate and where it is. You can’t get lost or confused here, there are too many polite, English-speaking people to help you.

Qatar is a very modern, liberal country. In the airport you see women bareheaded, in hijabs, in hijabs with a veil, and in full black burqas. Men might be in sportswear, suits, or whatever the long robes and headdress is called.

Tiny Qatar isn’t getting along with its huge neighbor Saudi Arabia. Looking at the display in the airplane as we left, I saw we had to make a big detour to avoid Saudi airspace.

I slept 10 hours on the flight from Boston to Doha, and then another six hours on the way to Johannesburg. If you have to make these long flights, sleeping is a great way to do it. I just rolled back my seat, plugged in my CPAP machine and out I went.

Arriving in Johannesburg, we were lined up at the door to get off the plane. When the door finally opened there was a crew standing outside and we we were instructed to go back to our seats. The crew then boarded and went down the aisles taking everyone’s temperature with electronica sensors. I don’t know if that’s actually useful but at least they certainly look like they’re trying to do something about the new virus. That has to be better than the clown in Washington who claims that is all a Democratic hoax.

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