Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gulf Air from Bahrain to Amman, and a Four Seasons welcome in Amman


So I got to Bahrain in a pretty painless way, being one of 7 people in a Gulf Air flight in a pretty spacious cabin of 2 rows of flat beds, that's actually a space for 4 rows of business classs seats in other airlines. What a luxury -- I almost didn't know what to do with all that leg room.

SMALL BUT EFFICIENT

Bahrain airport itself is pretty small but modern -- in other words, very navigable. From the airplane gate, I went straight to the lounge to chill before my connecting flight to Amman, Jordan. That's another great thing about this Gulf Air flight, if you're flying to Jordan: the waiting time is something like an hour in a nice lounge with good food. That's the quickest connection I've found so far.

At the lounge, I went to the salad bar and also tried a couple of hot dishes including an Egyptian dish and some other Middle Eastern specialties. There wasn't much time, though, as the connection was just over an hour. So it was a quick meal, a check on the Internet, and then I was off again on 2.5 hours to Amman.



FLAT BEDS ON A SHORT HAUL

As Bahrain-Amman isn't at all a long-haul flight at 2.5 hours, I was already steeling myself for one of those small planes where they take out a seat in between a usually 3-3-3 configuration and make it into a 2-2-2 configuration. In other words, business class is actually upgraded economy class. But as it's just a short flight, I tried not to make it matter to me, even if I do have this thing about space and seats.

Wow. Shock of my life but I had exactly the same seating configuration and seat kind as on the way to Bahrain from Manila on the long-haul -- which meant I had luxurious flat beds, an even more spacious cabin with a large galley, and quiet a sophisticated dining service.



GREAT INFLIGHT SERVICE

The onboard chef poured tea out of a large brass kettle to start, and the meal was served by a British steward and two Filipina stewardesses. I was planning to make full use of that super flat and spacious bed with the comfy duvet -- this was certainly not one of those flannel shawl-things that lots of airlines try to pass off as blankets -- after dinner; but after I'd had another meal of Arabi mezzes and a fish dish with rice, I turned on my iPod to some music I liked and finished editing some articles to send these back to Manila in time for Friday work.

Pretty soon, we were actually landing. Those were the quickest 2.5 hours I'd ever experienced on a flight, especially while listening to George Michael's Fast Love on my iPod and thinking about a couple of things in my life.

10 MINUTES TO MY WAITING JAGUAR



Upon landing in Amman, I was the first one off the plane and my luggage was about #2 off the carousel. It took me 10 minutes to get through immigration and to the arrivals lounge where the Four Seasons airport representative was waiting for me, and he had a pretty nice Jaguar waiting to take me to the hotel.



The assistant manager was waiting at the hotel entrance and he took me straight to my room where lots of Middle Eastern goodies like baklava and pistachio nut pastries awaited me at the hotel, with a very nice card from management and a Dead Sea mud mask treatment in a bottle.

Talk about a warm service for my arrival in Amman, with all the nice and thoughtful details only the Four Seasons thinks of.



This is supposed to be the best hotel in Amman, and which is why I booked it for a solo few days in Jordan before meeting up with some people in Tel Aviv. What an arduous trek it is to get to Tel Aviv from anywhere in the Middle East, though; and I'm only finding this out now as I flew Rome-Tel Aviv the last time, and that was no problem at all. But that's another story for later.

In the meantime, I've booked some nice Dea Sea spa treatments this morning and arranged a private tour of the city in the afternoon after the city has cooled down a bit, followed by dinner with some new Jordanian friends in a traditional restaurant in the city. You'll hear all about my day later -- but first I have to get back to sleep at it's 3 AM where I am.

Good night from exotic Jordan.




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