Part 2 – Standing sublimely on the edge of Malta

* 2 mins

Down the rocky beach, I walked as far as I could, to the outermost point, stepping atop the furthest stone I can extent my feet, at the edge of Malta, overlooking the great sea sprawling endlessly and creating a perfect horizon.

Malta is a wondrously beautiful country. A boat tour around complete Malta may only cost a mere $50, but the imagery is so splendid that it’s priceless. Malta is a small country that can be seen in a quick four days. Yet, the way people may find their favorite apple orchard or treehouse that they can sit in for eternity, Malta’s tranquility and serene views don’t invite haste, but rather a deceleration of all your heightened senses, and a pen and paper.

If I sat here today and tried to write to you about the natural beauty that adorns Malta, a dictionary would run out of adjectives for me to use. And it isn’t my intention to seduce your adventurous curiosity with my words the way tour guides and pamphlets do. Besides, you can always browse through TripAdvisor, vagabonder blogs, and travel guides to read detailed descriptions of Malta, with ratings and restaurant reviews as well. In fact, I have even provided my own reviews of many countries I have visited. Check out my TripAdvisor profile page for all my personal reviews

http://www.tripadvisor.com/members/nninoss

top 1 on travel

But one word I WOULD like to share with you. As I was traveling to Malta, I had

downloaded a travel book on my Kindle. I have always been drawn to scenic oceans and seas. Maybe it’s the sound of water flowing. Maybe it’s the fresh smell of the misty breeze at a waterfront. Maybe it’s the way the sun shines piercingly through the deep blue water. I’m guessing all three are responsible for transporting my mind from the normal thoughts and concerns of everyday life into a world of pure bliss and mental liberation. I was looking forward to experiencing this undisturbed awe again in Malta. That’s when I stumbled upon a new word: sublime.

Sublime is a concept that was originated around 200 A.D. It was attributed to a Greek author Longinus, but it had faded out of regular language. Yet, it was resurrected in the 18th century. The word describes the purest of feelings that emanate inside of us when we come face to face with oceans, mountains, glaciers….nature. In the past, I had felt these powerful emotions of mental escape and becoming one with nature. However, there was always a certain amount of effort I would have to put in to feel this spiritual joy. It was like I had to meditate in order to feel something. And I was now looking for a view that would be so powerful and intense that seeing that view alone would be sufficient enough to attain the height of sublime.

So, keeping this excitement in check, my main goal in Malta was to journey towards the Mediterranean and discover this view, and hopefully feel some sort of epiphany. The area described to me through the travel guide was extremely close to the InterContinental hotel at St. Julian’s area where I stayed. One of the days, I began my voyage.

Down the rocky beach, I walked as far as I could, to the outermost point, stepping atop the furthest stone I can extent my feet, at the edge of Malta, overlooking the great sea sprawling endlessly and creating a perfect horizon.

The Poet William Wordsworth came to my mind. I had read that he preached through his poetry that nature was an indispensable corrective to the psychological damage inflicted by the life in the city. I felt the need for that corrective. After all, I have been in Iraq for the past three years – in middles of wars and ISIS crises.

Gazing into the sea, I allowed my mind to find its true balance, to hope, to feel, to wander wherever it so pleased. I reminisced about my life, thinking about my successes, failures, dreams, setbacks, conclusions, confusions, desires, envies, passions, and compassions…and the joys of realizing not everyone gets this opportunity to find peace at the edge of Malta, and taking pride that I was fortunate enough to experience this in my life.

I felt like time was endless as I sat there, like my time on this earth was as infinitesimal as the blue sea. I felt transcendent. Like nature had full control over the world and now I was unified with nature by simply sitting there. It was like I was swooped up through nature that it was almost supernatural. Like I was an eagle soaring through the sky on my first flight.

It was like the Mediterranean Sea was the fountain of healing and youth and life that made all my worries disappear. It aroused my mind to sublimity. I realized that in this precious moment, I can take a backseat to nature, that I didn’t have to be the driver, that I can just let go of all responsibility, if only for a moment, and breathe.

Fortunately, I didn’t completely let go of all tasks. I remembered to take a picture with my iPhone. I imposed myself digitally on this beautiful scene, (without any Instagram filters to modify its natural beauty), to bring home and remind myself of this sublime feeling anytime I needed to rediscover hope and let nature takes its course.

Malta

 

 

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Part 1- On the way to Malta

* 2 mins

One of the great pleasures in life is to travel the world. Many people plan their individual global voyages during retirement, in hopes to see every beach, rainforest, safari, and mountain, every skyline, hotel, restaurant, and bar, every new and ancient wonder of the world. That is my dream too. On the same note, I am very fortunate to have already had the opportunity to journey through so many beautiful countries, including the Great Riviera’s of France, Greece, Italy and Spain. The last country on my seemingly endless list was triggered by the countless inviting images I had seen from the Mediterranean. So, driven by my boundless curiosity, I finally booked my ticket to Malta, over 20 years after I knew of its existence.

Malta has a special memory for me. Way back in 1993, when I was an Iraqi refugee in Amman, visiting Malta had become a dream. But I never knew this dream could be achieved because Malta was one of the few countries that issued a travel visa to Iraqis, when almost all other countries didn’t. Malta had not yet been part of EU, and I just didn’t know how I would make my Malta trip a reality. Back then, I was planning to fly to Malta then find a way to get to Europe through Italy one of the fisher boats and apply for asylum in one of EU countries.

flag of Malta

Fortunately, in May of 2015, 23 years later, I found myself on my way to Malta. I had a six hour wait time connecting from Istanbul Atatürk Airport, and I had an interesting random encounter. I met a German newspaper reporter who was on the same flight as I was. He had been in Iraq reporting on the American liberation; his next destination was Malta to report on human fishing – fishing refugees from the sea. He explained to me how the collapse of Arab dictatorships and Syria war caused the biggest human illegal migration to the west, and he was determined to gather as much supporting evidence as he can to write a phenomenal, eye-opening story.

During our small chat, I explained to him that many of my friends and families came on boats from Turkey to Greece after the 1991 Iraqi-Kuwait war. “I could’ve been one of them”, I said to the reporter with a smile. Who knows, maybe he even wrote about his encounter with me…

After a long flight going from Chicago to Amman then Istanbul, I arrived at Luqa. After several hours, packed with emotions of excitement, fatigue, curiosity, and fatigue from being so curious, I landed in a country for the first time. As well-traveled as I am, this was a different feeling because I had never been to Malta. I could not tap into my visual memory like I can with other countries. I could only imagine that it would be similar to the way it was portrayed in images. Nobody here even knew my name, and I didn’t hear someone say, “Ninos” until I checked into the InterContinental and the hotel receptionist gave me a sense of belonging.

 

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Shopping for gold crosses in Kuwait

* 7 mins

Note: It seems Kuwait updated its policy. I was lucky to meet a person who lived in Kuwait as of 2013. (updated on July 19, 2015)

America, the melting pot of the world. Other large cities around the globe have followed suit. Paris, London, Rio de Janeiro. There will always be pockets of ethnic divisions and discriminations and prejudices will inevitably exist, but we are living in the modern era. I mean, we have had a black president for the last eight years, and it is very likely that we will have a female running for president in the next election. Through all of this sociocultural progress, Americans are taught to be sensitive to other cultures. And when Americans visit other countries, they do so with an open mind, a free spirit, and a large appetite. They know how to respect the host nation’s values, even if the language barrier is challenging to overcome, or if the air or water is not as clean, or if there is an obvious distinction between the richy rich and the slumdogs despite living side by side, or if there are noticeable prejudices that exist. I can truly appreciate the way Americans conduct themselves abroad. But I am a Naturalized American, and my perspective on host nation’s values when I travel is not quite the same.

gold cross

Before I tell you a story from my own experiences, I would just like to state that I will describe this story as objectively as possible so that you can visualize it strictly through a cultural and political lens. At the same time, I have strong opinions that result from this story and I hope I can invigorate in your hearts and minds the very true feelings and impressions that don’t generally surface after you read TripAdviser reviews and traveler guide books.

The story I am about to tell you is ten years old, based on shopping for a gold cross in Kuwait in 2005, yet to this day and age, it has proven to be timeless, because Kuwait has not progressed the way America has. As a contractor for the U.S. Army and part of the process of mobilization to Iraq, I had to connect through Kuwait. I probably would have never even thought to visit Kuwait if it weren’t for being part of the U.S. Mission in Iraq.

During one of these trips, I had a chance to visit ‘gold souks’ – an Indian-dominated gold market near the Sheraton Hotel in Kuwait City, but owned by Kuwaitis. On this beaming hot day, I found myself casually strolling through this culturally infused market, happy to be walking around freely with a bottle of water tasting so crisp and refreshing. Meandering from one shop to another, in my button down shirt, top two buttons undone, creating a ‘V’ at the chest, just how I like it, I was happy to be off-duty. All of a sudden, I felt a deep, profound connection to God, and reached up to my chest, only to find my chest naked and yearning for links of gold to adorn it and make me feel at ease. I THOUGHT I was in the right place.

I began window shopping for a gold cross. After passing a number of shops, I could not find any crosses on display. So I decided to go inside one of the shops and ask for gold crosses.

“Do you guys carry gold crosses?” I asked. “I don’t see any gold crosses on display at any of these shops.”

Yes…But we are prohibited to display them,” the salesmen replied.

Then, he opened a drawer behind the counter and grabbed a couple to show me.

“Wow!…Kuwait makes it a policy to prohibit the display of crosses even in gold shops?!”, I said surprised and a bit perplexed.

I looked at his face and wondered…Is he even afraid to show me? Is it even a favor that they were allowing the selling of crosses?

My mind automatically, without any conscious control, played the following movie that in a roll of cosmic dice, one of those Kuwaiti clergyman sheiks opens the door and walks in. What would have happened to us? Would he catch us in the act of committing some kind of crime against the Islamic Sharia law? Would they imprison me for life as a punishment for this crime? Or worse yet, did this warrant the gravest penalty of all: stone in public.

I felt like I turned into a pariah. And I decided not to buy it. And I certainly did not want to buy it if it were considered to be committing a shameful act.

“No, thanks! I changed my mind.” I said.

I left the shop, my chest still naked, my happiness transformed into rage, and my free spirit and connection to God feeling locked up and suffocating. I left the market wondering how a whole country in 2005 can discriminate against an entire religion, how ancient times can still be among us?

Americans are taught to observe and record these encounters as normal, maybe even analyze history to conclude why these type of cultural phenomena should be perceived as normal.

But for me, I refuse to accept that this is OK. No! Absolutely not! Someone needs to speak about these issues and make them known.

Over the last millennia, Christians have been shoved off into the shadows in Arab Islamic countries, ostracized by religious Muslims. What seems to be a relatively small issue in being unable to purchase a cross safely and openly is actually a very big deal in my mind.

As Middle Eastern Christians, I (we) see these policies as an attempt to marginalize our values in The Middle East by the Arab Islamic governments. It is another pitiful method they use to mute our voices and restrain our freedom of expression – a cultural insensitivity against the Christian faith. It is no difference than a Jewish person wearing a kipa.

Hmm…Ten years later and thinking to myself, did ISIS do the same? They are banning the crosses from public and destroying them from the rooftops of churches.

I remembered Saddam. At least under his dictatorship, my father had crosses and Virgin Mary on display in his gold shop – a heinous dictator was even more liberal than the Kuwaiti government ten years ago, and even today.

In an attempt not to maneuver around the issue, indigenous Christians live better off in Syria than in Kuwait under President Bashar al-Assad.

The experience might not be a big deal to most Americans or to the world in general, but I just sit here and wonder, how long will this go on?

We just cannot escape its history.

How can I ever set foot in Kuwait again? Not that I have a strong desire to, but Christians inhabited Kuwait for centuries and have always been subjugated by religious Muslims, even to this day. In my life, I can get a healthy dose of travel in and visit Greece or Turkey or the French Riviera. But what about my children? What about the generations to come? Will they never visit Kuwait? If they do visit Kuwait, will they be welcomed or resisted?

We need to unite and create a forum of laws, rules, and regulations that are just ancient and inconceivable in modern times. We live in the global age of social media for Christ’s sake. It is time for us to educate the world on not just prejudices against Christians, but against all religions, that we create such an intense energy and revolution that puts an end to the Middle East and the Arab Islamic world discriminating against us. I encourage all you travelers and vagabonds to look for these not-so-obvious policies and understand the meaning behind. Bring them to light. Post them on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. Let the next generation be aware. They are our strength. They are our courage. They are our power. They are everything that is pure and innocent and we will raise them the right way.

For all Christians from the Middle East.

Management Position Interview

Management Position Interview-HI-REZ

From the Ptolemaic to Copernican thinking with Nietzsche

* 3 mins
*
This is a continuation for previous blog “The fault in my stars, they aligned!”

“For the wages of sin is death”, Romans 6:23

“For the wages of sex before marriage is a tax scam”, Ninos April 11:2015

As I was writing my last article about becoming the victim of a tax scam, some long suppressed thoughts and feelings inside me were resurrected. The first curious thought that entered my mind was wondering if this scam I fell for was actually a judgment from God. I am a good person, but I am not perfect, so could God have been punishing me for some bad deed I might have committed?

Although I don’t think about God and religion every day, I was raised in a culture where church was a regular place of hope, family, and refuge. For years, they preached to us that God could and would punish us for wrongdoing. Then, we would suffer for our sins and would have to repent and learn from our mistakes in order to redeem ourselves in the eyes of the Lord. Religious punishment was inculcated in me since childhood and it had still been engrained in the back of my mind.

After I realized I became a victim of tax scam. I managed my anger with a few F$#Ks as my cathartic release. I paused for a moment of Atonement. I was trying to identify where I could have sinned. I reflected on my previous days and weeks, backtracking my steps to visualize everything I had done, everywhere I had been, and everyone whom I had seen.

I couldn’t think of anything I did that may have been frowned up by the Lord, so I shared the story with a friend of mine. Her opinion echoed the common belief that this could be a sign from God. I looked at her and cursed Allah!

“Was God toying with us humans like puppets on strings and controlling our fates? Like ISIS killing all these innocent people who maybe were not so innocent after all? Like victims of rape, or debt, or heart conditions? Like ME who was punished with a tax scam?

I started to get annoyed with this line of thought.

On one hand, it is irrational to draw such bogus conclusions. On the other hand, I can’t help but draw those conclusions because of the years of brainwashing the churches did to me, cementing in my mind that bad events are the result of religious punishments. Some people are able to stitch a few Biblical verses together and claim they understand Allah. It is like they privatized their religious belief and now own a “My Lord Says” or “My Church Says” franchise, and they go around preaching and casting a perceived religious guilt upon us.

Any attempt by me to respond to their religious arguments will only increase my likelihood of being further accused of neglecting God, for which I will have to suffer deeper for being so ignorant and arrogant. And if I don’t respond, but rather seek refuge in silence, lacking the ability to provide an answer to God’s businessmen, who are so skillfully robotic in quoting verses from the Bible, then I will just succumb to witnessing these disciples integrate God’s teachings into a unified marketing and communications campaign for public consumption.

The reality is that I know I am not alone in my thinking. All of these feelings I am having are very commonly held beliefs throughout the Middle East. We Middle Eastern (Christians, Muslims, Jews) have all been taught about punishment from God. It is like we have been diagnosed with a degenerative syndrome by the process of religious colonization and left without any antibiotics to be cured from all in the sake of heavenly seats.

But NO! I will not surrender my liberty of thought. I will scrutinize my brain. I will stand firm against all these critical religious thoughts. I will battle to the death!

So I switched off this paradigm and moved on. As refreshing as an ice cold sparkling water atop a terrace, overlooking a beautiful scene in Italy, I refreshed my mind. An intellectual reset. A mental migration from religious to secular society, from the Ptolemaic to Copernican thinking. It’s an escape. It’s a revolution.

Maybe at the end, Nietzsche was right. You start to smell the ‘bad odors of religion’ the moment you stay a bit far.

…but God damn it! Why did I succumb to this tax scam then? Did God rolled his dice and my number came up?

 

Related blogs:

The fault in my stars, they aligned! (Part 1)

Karma gets its debt instantly from me!

 

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The fault in my stars, they aligned!

* 5 min read (true story)

Life isn’t FarmVille game on Facebook. It all matters – every sin, every regret, and every affliction. (Tiny Beautiful Thing and I)

April 11, 2015
Skokie

I had just arrived back home in the U.S. about a few days ago. I had been working overseas for months at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad without having seen my family and friends. A really long time. After a very long and very lonely flight, I was excited to be home. Finally, I was in the company of my family. I didn’t realize how much I missed America, the land of the free, where I never felt trapped and was always in full control.

It was Saturday and I snoozed like a baby, on vacation now with no rush to be anywhere and absolutely no worries. I finally decided to ease my way out of bed later morning. Normal routine. I washed my face and went downstairs to eat some breakfast. I finished and went back to my desk, picked up my kindle, and started my morning reading habit in peace.

Then unexpectedly, something extremely strange happened to me. Around 12:30pm, someone called my house. There are two cordless phones in my house, one at my desk and one in the living room. My father and I answered the phone at the same time. Keep in mind, my father does not speak any English, so if I had not picked up the phone also, the conversation might have ended right then. But I did answer.

And the caller asked to speak to Mr. Ninos Youkhana. So I responded that I was him. The caller authoritatively identified himself as an agent from the Inspector General (IG) office at the Treasury Department.

Green Dot

For a few minutes, I listened to him scold me for apparent tax violations. Normally, I would hold my ground and question a lot of things, especially with someone whom I had never conversed with before, but this peculiar guy seemed to know about me and my past travel. With every passing second, I couldn’t help but believe him, and even worse, be frightened by him. My world started to collapse in front of my eyes. The thoughts in my head started to follow a seemingly rational maze inside my brain.

“Mr. Youkhana! In a few minutes after I hang up this call, two police officers will serve you with an Arrest Warrant!” the caller declared. “The past two years, IRS had attempted to reach you and couldn’t…You have been accused for wiring money internationally and failed to report properly to IRS. There is a problem in your tax documents.”

The caller continued talking quickly and with an authoritative tone assuring me of all my rights as a U.S. Citizen. He even said I would be offered a lawyer if I didn’t already have one.

After about 20 minutes of installing fear, the caller started to pass a few instructions of what I needed to do. He would be guiding me through the process over the phone. He gave me an ultimatum that if I disconnected the call, he would call the nearest police station and send two officers to with an Arrest Warrant!

However, he told me that I could avoid the arrest if I paid the court fee of $900 over the phone. He said it was the weekend and we only had a few hours left to resolve this situation.

I was scared, frantic, and breathless. Was it a coincidence that I WAS away from the U.S. for three years and I actually did wire money to my non-English speaking parents? How did this guy know that about me? But regardless of if this guy actually did know these things or if I was in violation of IRS policy, his whole story sounded true. I was finally home on vacation and now this guy made it seem like I just came home only to be arrested! In two weeks, I was supposed to be in Malta. But the only image I had in my mind now was that in two weeks I would be behind bars!

The rational wall collapsed in my brain. Fear possessed me completely. My hands shook, my mouth was dry, and my heart raced. So many countless bad events flashed in my mind.

With blinding fear, I agreed. I sat down, followed his instructions, and started to obey him, feeling powerless without any rational. I was like a sheep going to be slaughtered!

My first instruction was to pay the $900 over EFTS: Electronic Federal Tax System, as he called it. In order to do this, I had to drive to the nearest Walmart and ask for a pre-paid Visa and Master card.

Continued to be possessed by fear, I sat in my car and drove to the nearest Walmart while the caller remained on the phone. Yes, I stayed on the phone with him the whole time! Ridiculous, I know.

After I bought two Green Dot Pre-Paid Visa cards, one for $500 and one for $400, the caller told me to go back to the car. Like a sheep, I paced back to my car and sat down. I passed him the first sequence of numbers…my brain recovered a bit of sense as again I started to question what the hell I was doing. But the questioning wasn’t enough. I passed him the second sequence of numbers. And like that, $900 was long gone by now. It seemed like right after I passed him the second sequence of numbers, my reasoning and rationale was restored, but of course, it was too late.

The second step was to pay 8% of the amount owed which was $65K, as the caller claimed. It was an out of court settlement to avoid the arrest and drop the charges against me.

My intuition FINALLY came alive. Something inside me did not feel right.

I arrived in front of my house; I slammed the break, opened the car door, and stormed inside the house. I resorted to calling my tax accountant from my house phone to explain to him the situation. I told him I already paid money to this guy and now I had to pay more to prevent being arrested.

“It is a scammmmmmm!!! Hang the phone in his face!!!” my accountant screamed.

At that moment, I realized what happened to me. By then, it was too late for my brain to recover any logical reasoning. I became a victim of a tax scam.

I was still on my cell phone with this scam artist. And I was furious. I yelled and shouted and screamed and cursed at him.

Then I hung up and sat down on my sofa. I closed my eyes and tried to understand what happened and why?

I was so angry. I felt so stupid. It wasn’t the matter of $900. I felt that my dignity was lost, that my intellect was insultingly compromised. Of all the people in the world, I am the one became a sucker. I was the idiot.

Overtaken by emotions, I couldn’t keep my thoughts in any obedient form. It took about 15 minutes to gain control over my emotions, manage that suppressed anger, and numb the sharp pain in my heart – a few F$#Ks to myself were my cathartic release.

I didn’t want to think of what happened. I just tried to push it out of my memory and move on quickly. So I called my friend and went to the gym. I didn’t even tell anyone else what just happened to me. I was waiting for this dark emotional cloud to pass.

But I couldn’t get it out of my head. A few days later, I started to think long and hard about WHY this happened to me. So many small events had to occur in order to set the stage for this big event to occur and haunt me for days. Maybe it was fate. Maybe I was destined to be scammed. Maybe it was God’s way of punishing me for something or teaching me a lesson. I was trying to find reasons in places where reason does not exist…Maybe?

 

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Day 3 – on the way to Chicago via Royal Jordanian

3 min

April 3
Up in the Air

It was an early morning when I checked out from the Ibis hotel and the taxi pulled up in front. The hotel concierge put my luggage in the trunk of the taxi, opened the passenger back door and said, “Have a nice trip sir!” Then we drove to Queen Alia International Airport. The words remained echoing in my head while looking through the window at white stone facades of building, homes, shops, reading signs and gazing at mountains, and valleys as they pass fast.

“Amman is nice!” the taxi driver said.

“Indeed”, I nodded.

With that the cabbie started a dialogue. Assessing the Arabic accent from my response, he launched into a series of questions about me.

“Here we go again”, I am thinking – repeat the same lecture.

Every time someone asked me where I am from, I feel I have to give a speech entitled: “Assyrian, Christian, Iraqi, living in America”.

As we engaged in back and forth questions and answers, he pulled up to a small coffee shop on the road and ordered us both some Arabic coffee.

Then before long, the usual happened – the dialogue switched to politics. He was a Palestinian-Jordanian (almost impossible to meet a Jordanian born taxi driver). He started by telling me a story about an Iraqi guy who rode with him one day and had blamed the Palestinians for all the suicide bombings in Iraq. The driver defended that argument and warned the Iraqi guy to never say that again in Jordanian and reminded him that he was a guest in the country. Making such accusations in front of someone else can get him in deep trouble with the security police in Jordan, he had said. I was wondering if the driver was warning me, lecturing me about politics, or correcting me in case I had the same belief.

Then to no surprise, the driver in turn blamed Israel for all the chaos in the Arab nations starting with Iraq. That is where I turned my face to him and said, “No!…Why don’t you say it is the Saudis and their Wahhabism belief?”

With assertive tone I continued, “Saudis have the greatest production line of terrorism from the Wahhabi factory not only in the Arab countries, but in the entire world!” With that, I ended the political conversation.

The Dead Sea road signs broke the silence again as it passed us. Apparently he wanted to start another lesson, by educating me on the benefits of the Dead Sea salt, and, he said, if I liked, he could stop by a shop along the road so I could buy some. It seems he had setup some kickback deal.

We pulled up to the new Queen Alia airport. It was clean and beautiful with natural looking cement color to resemble the environment around. I checked in to my flight and waited with heart filled with excitement to fly to Chicago. In 12 and half hours, I was going to meet my family and celebrate Easter for the first time after three years with them.

I had learned that Royal Jordanian introduced the new 787 Boeing Dreamliner in their fleet. I was looking forward to riding in that plane. I had paid $100 extra at the ticket counter to get an exit seat. As I was walking through the tunnel, I stopped and took a picture of the plane. With a smile and welcome-aboard-sir greeting followed by hand sign to the right then to the left by the flight attendant; I headed to G25 Exit-Aisle seat.

My three-day excitement started to wear off. The seat was tight. The two seats to my right were empty. As we were taxing to the runway, people started to eye the seats and waving their hands indicating their desire to come and sit. I ignored them.

After take off, I pulled out my iPad and started to read. As I continued reading for the next six hours of the flight, a couple of people came and tried to sit but were instructed to go back to their seats. Then the flight attendant brought one person. I complained to the flight attendant and asked to be re-funded $100. The passenger told me that she couldn’t sit there because there was a non-stop crying babe next to her seat and she would not be able to tolerate a crying babe during the entire duration of the flight.

My irritation started to increase as well. I was getting the smell of the nearby bathroom every time someone used it and people were crowding into the area waiting their turns to use the bathroom.

My frustration was amplified to complete aggravation. It was not only from the bad smell, but also by 12 and half hours or non-stop crying babies.

There were many pregnant women on the flight. It looks they were going to deliver their babies in America to grant them U.S. Citizenship, I noticed this trend 20 years ago from my first flight to America.

I spent most of the flight reading with full aggravation and frustration. My past two days of excitement and anticipation of arriving to see my family in Chicago was gone. It was one of the worst 12 and half hours – a disastrous flight.

Royal Jordanian is famous for having a non-stop-crying-babies-flights.

After landing in Chicago and meeting my family, I tweeted Royal Jordanian with: “It was one of the worst flight from Amman to Chicago. Full of 12.5 hours of crying babies. Never use again”

RJ replied back with apology and promised to look into the matter.

I am planning to upgrade to an Exit seat again on the way back and film some of the moments. I am sure; I will relive the same bad experience. But this time I am thinking maybe I share the video.

 

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