Friday, 30 July 2010


I've always been a bit lucky with travel. I seem to be able to organise to get where I want or need to be with the minimum of fuss and without it costing over the odds. There has been one notable failure in this and a couple of close calls.

The failure was not my fault. How could anyone know that a simple trip from Auckland to Doha via Dubai would end up with us camped on the runway in Karachi for hours and spending hours in Dubai's notorious Terminal 1. That trip took over 40 hours, not so flash when my bag went missing for several days as well. I learnt a lot about the nature of people from that, those who were wonderful and those who were not so. I also learnt that when using an iron to quick dry your only pair of knickers you need to keep the iron away from the lacy bits. They melt and are not too pleasant to wear after that.

The close calls range from misreading the flight time, yes 12.05 am is just 5 minutes not a whole day after today, to having my name called because I had a good book and was oblivious. This trip my good luck was pushed a bit. I booked the connecting flight from Sydney to Melbourne a bit later than I thought I might on good advice. Sydney is a pig of an airport to get through and planes are often late leaving in the afternoon.

Yes, mine was about 90 minutes late and as I sat at Christchurch I smugly thought that it really was a good idea to book that later flight. I didn't take into account the time difference, two hours late at night really does make a difference or poor Sue having to come out so late to pick me up. I had a dream run through customs and found myself quickly outside looking for the bus to the domestic terminal.

My bag weighed in at 26kgs and the allowance for my next flight was 23. Unpacking the bag was an option but I took it to the transit place just in case and the lovely man put it through there. He charged me $15 for the privilege. I thought it was a good investment, carrying that bag would have been a trial. It became a better option when he had no change for my $20 and gave it to me for nothing. Then there was the almost three hours to wait in the domestic airport. Not such a good idea. I managed to find a comfy seat in a cafe and with a good book, a couple of cups of tea and some raison toast managed to while away the time.

That was nothing compared to today's or was it yesterday's effort. Checking in was a treat, the plan was very late due to technical difficulties. Oh well, I thought. Nick was with me so we had pizza and beer, a chat and a lesson on his i-phone (I really, really need one). When he left the hours dragged and over 4 hours later, we were hurried onto the plane. It was very reassuring when the pilot shared with us that the problem was with the engines. He had to start two of them while we were stationary to make sure they went, I'm assuming. Didn't really fill me with confidence and there were a few nervous giggles from others.

There are two types of planes that travel the Dubai-Australia route. One is comfy the other is not. This one was not. I'm not very short, 5'3" is not short okay, and I couldn't reach the floor when seated. I usually wear shoes that have some elevation to fix this but even these didn't reach the floor. There's nothing more uncomfortable than sitting this way for 15 hours. Than trying to sleep when the circulation is cut off below the knees. I was so pleased to land at Dubai, to get onto solid ground and to feel the humid heat.

I got back to Al Ain only to find that I had been locked out of my apartment building. Someone had locked the bottom door and I don't have a key for that. It was getting warmish so I called people and the lovely Marilyn came to the rescue. There are very few people here at the moment, I'm the only person in both the apartment blocks in my complex, so I was very lucky. I was thinking that I might have to head to the Rotana for the night.

That thought had it's advantages but I'm over living out of a suitcase and am really looking forward to a couple of nights in my own bed before the next adventure. I'm feeling a little jet lagged and tired but am making the effort to stay awake until a reasonable time. Tomorrow it's gym time, I ate far to well in NZ and Aus, and a chill out in the sun later in the afternoon when it's bearable.

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