We Bought A Zoo!
Have you ever felt bad after doing something good and wished you didn't do it? I felt this way during my flight back home, after giving away my special seat for a couple with a young baby. Whenever I’m flying I like to set by the window, to enjoy the view and so that people won’t bother me whenever they need to go to the bathroom and sometimes just going to chat with friends and relatives setting away. For the record, I've only witnessed this on board of Egyptair.
Upon reservation, I requested a window seat and confirmed it at check in, however once I got board I found a man in my seat and his wife, carrying the baby, beside him. She started talking in French, apparently asking me to exchange seats. I agreed, somehow without thinking, but once I found out that I’m sitting beside 3 kids I regretted it. I began looking around for any empty seat but couldn’t find any and so I just looked at the 2- year-old boy sitting by my side making it clear that I don't like noise and naughty actions!
During the flight I discovered that the French-speaking wife is actually Algerian and that the husband in Egyptian. Though the wife may indeed not be able to talk in Arabic, I don’t understand why the husband didn’t, probably so that I won't refuse!
After takeoff, the flight attendant came and attached a small crib to the barrier in front of the mother's seat, sitting in my row, to put her baby to sleep in. I realized that I'm sitting in a seat specially preserved for the Algerian mother so that she doesn't have to carry her baby throughout the flight. I liked this feature very much and couldn't understand why they didn't want to use it and exchanged seats. As for the family setting next to me, it comprised of a young mother, two daughters around 6-years-old and the 2-year-old boy. The mother sometimes spoke to them in French, which I regarded as a good thing because she looked like a typical Egyptian house wife, i.e. she doesn't work and may thus regard learning the language of the country she is living in as unnecessary. What I didn't like though is that the younger daughter apparently couldn't speak Arabic and seemed to have difficulty in understanding it as well. The mother talked to her in French and to the other one in Arabic! I recall now the attempts of some relatives who used to live in France, and still visit it every now and then, to make their children speak Arabic through watching Egyptians satellite channels. Given the strange stuff displayed on such channels, this may not be the best way to do, but after all it is an appreciated attempt.
I continued the flight surrounded by kids, milk and diapers but thanks to the new entertainment system on Egyptair, I enjoyed the third movie I checked and somehow forgot all about the chaos around. After all I poured the coffee on my lap without any assistance from the kids!
3 July 2012