I arrived in Qatar in October 2006.
My daughter was 14 months old. I remember mostly that she was the most amazing traveller ever.
We left Canada and flew into Doha via Heathrow.
The Canadian airport had no assistance whatsoever. Then I met my first ANGEL. As I turned in my rental car, a young man working for the agency helped me lug in 4 suitcases, a diaper bag, my handbag, a diaper bag, a computer case, her stroller, and a car seat (mandatory on Air Canada flights). The 4 cases checked in, I lugged the rest past Security and onto the flight.
Get to Heathrow ... lug the diaper bag, handbag, computer case, 14th month old child, stroller, car seat from the arrivals plane through Security. They ask me to remove my belt and shoes. They ask me to empty out the diaper bag and my handbag. They get me to open my toothpaste, squirt my 50 ml perfume, and apply the lipgloss that is in my handbag. i hold in every curse and expletive ever been sworn. I remove the belt and shoes; they ask me to take a swig of the baby's milk. I do. I curse them and their firstborn. Silently. In my head. Then I fumble my way back into my shoes, throw my belt into my bag, and meet my second ANGEL.
The second ANGEL, a lovely Philippina lady, asks me if she can help me. She holds onto my daughter as I tie my shoes, and helps me navigate to the Qatar Airways desk. I get checked in, and she offers to watch my stuff as I go change my daughter's dirty nappy. I come out, she says goodbye, and I never see her again. She will never know how much she meant to me in that moment, and forevermore. In my heart. Forever.
I literally RUN to catch my QA flight. Baby in stroller, diaper bag, car seat, computer case, handbag and carry-on bouncing along ... but I MAKE IT! I get to the QA gate, and the flight attendant says "we don't allow your baby seat on the plane". 'Of course not!', says I. So after a bit of wrangling, QA ticket agent agrees to stow the car seat and stroller. Bless them. Angel # 3.
Board the plane. Relatively uneventful flight, other than baby's teething, and me switching my flats for stilettos (haven't seen my hero in 3 months, must dress to impress!). So flight attendant offers baby Panadol. Angel # 4!!!!!! Goodness, yes!
Land in Doha. Finally! Walk out, with kiddo actually toddling along ... Hero has arranged for arrival service, so we are sat in a lounge and offered juice and cookies as we wait for visa confirmation. Mine has not gone through yet. But the agent waggles me a visitor visa so I can step foot outside the arrivals gate. Angel #5!
Grab our luggage, step through the arrivals gate. Stilletos on, lipstick glossy, hair ok (not a wild mess ... not bad after 24 hours), baby smiling and toddling, ... and we see ... the HERO! "Hey Baby, we're here!"
And he is there, and so begins ... life in Qatar ...