Jeddah, Tuesday 6-6-95, 0800 local (Z+3)
Just came back from breakfast at the hotel. Had an interesting conversation with a Tower captain that's flying the Indian haj. They've been operating out of Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras. Last night they were departing Calcutta and, with only 3 airplanes in the air, the controller was totally nonplussed. The crew became seriously concerned about this controller putting the airplanes in the same airspace, so much so that the captain located the nearest heavy rain shower on the radar and then told his f.o. (it was the f.o.'s leg) to deliberately fly into the rain shower, believing that was one place the other two aircraft would be sure to avoid. Indian ATC leaves a lot to be desired. Basically, they've done little upgrading of their infrastructure since the British left. It's really a sad state of affairs. C.J., remember my comment about Italy that it was "old, dirty, and doesn't work." That applies even more to India.
I'm not looking forward to this afternoon's departure. The temperature is going to be well over 100, and the humidity is in the 90s. Every time I walk outside with my glasses on they fog over completely and I have to take them off to see (shades of Ras Tanura, C.J.). The aircraft's air conditioning will not be able to keep up, especially after they load 500+ sweating bodies in back. Unfortunately this captain is a bit formal insofar as the tie business is concerned. He was careful last night to make sure his tie was all cinched up before stepping into the heat and humidity. The last captain I was with here adopted a "no tie" policy while at Jeddah. Should I ever do this again and as a captain, the ties will come off as soon as we leave the operations office in the hotel at Jakarta and stay off for the rest of the trip.
I'm going to fuss about for an hour or so to let my food settle, run again, and then go back to bed to get ready for the all night flight back to Jakarta. The more rested I am, the better I'll be able to handle the heat and the problem of understanding the foreign controllers, especially over the HF radios. Unfortunately, we'll be going back at the same time the traffic rush from southeast Asia to Europe is taking place, so the radio work will be taxing. Take off time is 1800 here. If we leave as scheduled, we'll arrive in Jakarta about 0800 there, just in time to fight the traffic for one hour plus to get to the hotel.
Okay, time to arrange my maps for tonight's flight, run and then to bed. Bye for now.