Date: December 19, 2015
Highlight: Star Wars: The Force Awakens and adding a new country to our list.
Our flight out of Chennai departed at 3:15 in the morning on the Saturday after school ended. We left our home at 11:15 to head to the airport. Traffic was pretty light but the roads are in pretty bad shape from the recent flooding. We Checked in on Qatar Air and stood in the agonizing line through immigration. We saw a number of other teachers from our school also heading out.
The previous two winter breaks we have stayed in India and actually not even traveled much within the country during the break. We have stayed home, saved money, relaxed and done the things we seem to consider hobbies now. We also have not done much travel during the spring or fall breaks. Pepper and I went to China our first spring break to pick up Jacob. The next year we went to Delhi and Agra with Pepper’s mom. We went to Bangladesh one fall break. But many of our coworkers and friends teaching at other schools travel widely during breaks. We consider ourselves big fans of travel, so hunkering down at home for 9 weeks of our school breaks while seemingly everyone we know is off seeing the world was difficult at times. But we really have enjoyed being home too.
But this time, seeing coworkers headed off to chilly places in Europe or Canada or the warm places like Thailand or Sri Lanka seemed much more bearable. We were off to a combination. Our fist stop was Doha, Qatar.
Jacob and I stayed awake and watched movies on the flight while Pepper and Jordan slept. We all ended up getting some sleep on the flight though. We landed in Doha and ended up in another agonizing immigration line. We had to pay for the visas as we arrived but it wasn’t a hassle and didn’t have to fill out any forms. Our friends that we worked with in Mongolia picked us up at the airport and hustled us off to their beautiful housing compound. Jay and Shannon are friends that we did a week long tour through the Gobi and also a two week trip through Sri Lanka. They are not off somewhere exotic for their winter break since she’s pregnant and due in January.
We had some breakfast, Jacob watched a couple of movies and I did some napping. Then we spent some time in the sun at their pool. But the real big plan for the day was going to see the newly released Star Wars movie. We first went to Black Rock Grill where we ordered food that was delivered on 400 degree sizzling black stones. I was able to cook and eat my steak at the same time. Jordan got salmon and Pepper got giant prawns. Some of us were careful to leave space for some popcorn…
We went to a nice theater and watched the new Star Wars movie in 3D. I’m not usually a fan of 3D but honestly didn’t feel like there was an excessive effort to have things pop out at the audience so it didn’t bother me. I loved the movie and we all had a good time discussing things we liked, were shocked by, and look forward to in the coming years. It was great to have a movie that brought back memories from seeing some of the characters in the 80s. The desire to cheer out loud with the first notes of the theme song was uncontrollable.
One nice thing about staying at a place where there are a lot of teachers living, but most are gone, is that we were able to stay in an apartment right next to Jay and Shannon’s. They had plenty of space with just their place, but we had more room to spill our bags out and sleep in a big bed while not fighting for shower space at all.