Ahmed Eltawil's Blog

Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

The flight from Toronto to Vienna was long, boring, and tiring. And did I mention how uncomfortable the seats are getting? So now I am sitting in a café at Vienna International Airport waiting for my next flight to Damascus, Syria. Thank God for the free Wi-Fi in the airport (something totally unexpected), if that wasn’t available then I would absolutely have nothing else to do. It’s really a boring airport with nothing much to do except to sit down and watch the planes go by from the window. But then again, it’s not like I am expecting a lot more from an airport. At least it gives me a chance to stand up, walk around and stretch my legs after a 9 hour flight.
To be honest, I don’t like going to Syria. Let me rephrase that: I hate going to Syria. I went there once before and it was more than enough to make me decide to never go there again. But here I am on my way there again. ‘Why’ you ask? It’s definitely not a business trip. It’s a family matter. It was urgent and I was forced to go. Something came up and my presence in Syria was required so I had to book the first flight going to Damascus.
Syria is a place full of people who don’t work unless they’re bribed. It’s a country where their government is over employed and under paid. So in order for a single document to pass through government officials you need to bribe at least 20 people. Taxi drivers always overcharge. Stores and gift shops extremely overprice their products which means people there are used to bargaining (which is something I am not used to and never had successful stories with). Pollution is way over the red line and they aren’t even considering or thinking about doing anything about it (every single car, motorbike and bus produces thick black smoke from its exhaust). In other words, the country and its people needs a complete overhaul (which probably will never happen cause someone will probably bribe someone else to bribe some other person in order to stop the overhaul). Seriously, it’s that bad.
I am sitting in a plane going to Vienna from Toronto and I have to admit that the seats seem to keep getting smaller and shorter. Or am I the one getting taller? I highly doubt the last part.

I mean, I am a tall guy and it’s always difficult for me to get comfortable sitting anywhere, but airplane seats just seem to get worse with time. Airlines are just trying harder and harder to cram more and more people into their planes. It’s getting to the point where the economy class is their playground for saving as much green as possible.

It’s pissing me off.

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It might be a couple of days late to blog about this but I am doing it anyways.

The Bell Centre in Montreal was filled with more than 21,000 UFC fans and their cheers filled the air and rocked the stadium. Those people were so pumped up, including yours truely, and we all couldn’t wait to see GSP fight Serra. But we knew they would save the best for last.

After 8 great fights between popular fighters, it was time for the main event that everyone came for. First, GSP showed up and that’s when everyone stood up cheering the Canadian fighter. And when Serra came out the crowd didn’t show much appreciation.

The fight started and GSP seemed to be on top of Serra all the time. As a matter of fact, he completely dominated the fight giving Serra zero chances to fight back. The fight ended with a knockout from GSP.

The joy and satisfaction from GSP’s victory felt overwhelming and I am pretty sure anyone in the streets of Montreal could hear the crowd within the Bell Centre. I almost lost my voice from all the yelling and cheering. In the end, the experience was unbelievable and totally worth the wait. It certainly beats watching it on TV.

A while back, my generous boss decided to take us all to the first UFC fight in Canada held at Bell Centre in Montreal. While the tickets and the hotel booking was paid by my boss (a million thanks)  I have to obviously cover my personal expenses. The one hour flight from London (Ontario) to Montreal (Quebec) was comfortable and trouble-free.

After we landed and checked in the hotel, we left and took a cab downtown Montreal where all the action takes place. I honestly haven’t seen that many people in several streets walking and making a lot of noise in Canada. There were hundreds of bars and clubs, restaurants and cafes, limos and cabs concentrated in several streets. And the traffic seemed to get worse as time passes by. And believe me, time does fly by so very quickly in downtown Montreal on a Friday night .

So anyways, after we had our share of fun, entertainment, meals and drinks we headed back to the hotel at around 1:30 AM.

So far so good.

Note: This post was originally typed on April 18, 2008.


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