Our airline crew on this trip has been fantastic! First Officer Phil Gardner always comes to my seat before the flight and gives me a print out of our routing, which in this part of the world is often not in the straight line path you would expect. For example, when leaving Jodhpur, we had to route south for about 20 minutes because the straight line track to Jordan would have taken us directly over India's nuclear missile silos pointed at Pakistan. (We also had to fly around Israel as no aircraft leaving Arab countries can fly across their space). Anyway, Officer Gardner's thoughtfulness has really reaped dividends for all of us, since I like to point out to folks all of the things of interest we are flying over. If I know what's coming up, I can get people to look out the windows more often. The flight stewards are professional and truly interested in the experiences we are having. They stay at different hotels than us and so when we return home to the "mother ship", we exchange stories of our different experiences. It's a fun group!
We had a great flight west from India that took us over some countries with tantalizing names to Americans - Pakistan, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia. As always, when ever I mention that we are crossing into these territories, many people always ask, "Are we allowed to?" The answer is yes but the flyways are strictly enforced. We were not allowed to fly over Afghanistan or Iraq but we came close. The day was extremely hazy and the photo's not the best. But when seen from an altitude far from the war-like calls from governments, these counties look like any other with regards to their geology. How I would love to be on the ground in south central Pakistan and southwest Iran, places that approximate things we see in the American Southwest!