Monday Jan 14, 2008

Getting off LH601

This was LH 601, Jan. 6, scheduled to depart at around 3 am Tehran time from the IKIA airport. We got on board and the snow started and it did not let go. Visibility was quite poor and roads to the airport were later closed.

We got off the plane at around 10 am and taken to a "transit" area for another 10 hours or so, and later to a hotel. (It stopped snowing at around 7 pm on that day.)


I've written about the problem earlier.

Press TV reports the dismissal of the IKIA airport managing director.

Wednesday Jan 09, 2008

3 days late

My family and I were supposed to be back at work and school this Monday but it was not meant to be.

Like the German soccer team, Hansa Rostock, we also got stuck in the heavily snowed out Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) in Tehran. (Hansa Rostock had a friendly with Iran's B national team last Saturday. Besides the really bad whether, one may blame the delay on the lack of adequate winter equipment and staffing at the new airport which just opened a few months ago.)

When we disembarked Saturday night, GMT, it should have taken us 20 hours, including layover and taxi rides to and from airports, to get from my parents' home in Tehran to our home in the South San Francisco Bay Area. Instead, heavy snows in Tehran and its international airport undid all our planning, and the same trip took 100 hours to complete, including two nights of stay at hotels in Tehran and Frankfurt due to cancellations, delays and missed flights. These 100 hours include, among other delays, taxi rides, check-in and re-booking waits, etc., 7.5 hours of sitting in a plane stuck in a snow blizzard, 10 hours spent reconsidering options while waiting for word on the weather in the transit zone of IKIA, a night at a Tehran hotel, 10 hours of waiting for news form the airport, 10 hours of waiting at the airline check-in at Tehran to ensure that we could restore our place on a new flight, now as "stand-by" passengers, another 7 hours of sitting in the plane while the path out of the gate was blocked by planes abandoned in snow, and a night spent in Frankfurt due to a missed connection. All this and more after our early morning Jan. 6 flight was canceled due to heavy snow. (I guess this was my birthday present.)

My wife and I missed three important work days, which we now have to "account" as vacation, and the kids were automatically dropped from the school rolls but we hope to be able to overcome these problems.  

The only positive thing I can say about this experience is that we made and met a lot of good friends on the way -- others who were going through the same or very similar ordeals, connecting through to other locations in Europe, Canada and the U.S. 

I will post photographs and videos later. 

Thursday Jan 04, 2007

Snow Flakes

Small tourist towns such as South Lake Tahoe, near where I was fortunate enough to ski with my wife and daughters over the Chirstmas holidays, can still sustain independent and small businesses such as the Neighbors Bookstore.

We went there to supplement the books we had bought or borrowed from libraries back home--one must have alternatives to skiing when snow pack is insufficient. In the very small but well-stocked drama section, I was yet again fortunate enough to find and buy the single copy of Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in The Creative Interpretation of Human Motives that still stood on the half full shelves.

I found this passage particularly apt given how it started:

Science will tell you that no two snowflakes have ever been discovered to be identical. The slightest disturbance in the atmosphere, the direction of the wind, the position of the falling snowflake, will alter the pattern. Thus there is endless variety in their design.  The same law governs us all. Whether one's father is always kind, or only kind occasionally, or kind but once, or never kind, will profoundly affect one's development. And if the paternal kindness coincided with one's happiest and most contented moments, it might pass unrecognized. Every move hinges upon the peculiar circumstances of the given moment. 

There you have it -- lots of philosophy packed into a fragment from one paragraph by Egri, found on a cold snowy night in South Lake Tahoe with no laptop in sight.


For the physics of snow crystals, see here.




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