No matter how many times I visit, or where else I go, this city always takes my breathe away
Flying today is not as i have said previously for the faint hearted but demands a strong constitution and sense of humour
My travel companion this time is an elderly gentleman, not spilling over into my seat physically as has been the case in the past, but nonetheless he spills over.
The first large loud and distinctly pungent burb exploded (there is no other word to describe it) with such force several heads turned our way.
I maintained a stoic dignity looking ahead, a little unsure of the appropriate response. He is elderly, there are cultures where that is a sign of courtesy and acknowledgment of a good meal – we had been given a tiny packet of saw dust tasting nibbles – perhaps that was it?
His voice is loud and demanding and the slight Serbian air hostess is politely taking offence at his tone. She and I make eye contact and understand one another. Another Loud sound emerges with a huge sense of satisfaction and I inhale tomato juice I didn’t order 😂😂😂 and continue to look ahead – “I heard nothing”
A sneeze follows, we all jump and the sounds that follow shall not be described 😳
Special meals are now the norm and it is a circus as everyone around me seems to have swapped their seats and my Serbian air hostess is wandering around with huge baskets of specials trying to find the owner of a seat number; vegetarian Hindi, vegetarian; ( there can be a difference?) Gluten free, you ordered low calorie? Oh, nut free? Lactose free? No I don’t have an order for sugar free; boneless fish?
And finally the normal meal trolley arrives – by which time most people have had their specials so I feel special as she aims directly for me – almost the only one left to feed 😂😂😂
One thing I know, whichever meal anyone gets, they will all fit the bill of taste free.
And my travelling companion now slurps with great delight, (oh that I could share the sound with you 😜😂)another tomato juice – no ice, salt yes, no pepper! No good
Perhaps the burbs are not after all a sign of contentment
We are both after all on a long distance flight!
I too may start to burb if any more tomato juice, with or without salt and pepper is served 😳
Flying requires a sense of humour, strong constitution, short legs (score there 😜) and a very good book (score there too)
And we are still not there yet
I will, I assume, finally get to Heathrow.
I feel like I’ve been travelling for weeks
A full full flight, me at the window, not sitting but squeezing in. A charming gentleman the cause, very sociable when awake and very snorey when not. All the time he is large; awake some of the size, he contains, but asleep, well then the body relaxes, the legs spill onto mine and the arm rests disappear as his upper limb collapses onto ‘my side’ 😂
The only up side of this uncomfortable tedium is outside my window; snow capped beauty, and on my screen names of cities I’ve dreamed of visiting and some I didn’t even know existed:
Can there in this modern age of flying, be such a thing as a good flight (assuming one travels in the back of the bus so to speak 😜)?
I think not.
I remember when one dressed up smartly to fly, when security was just a word, not queues and queues of frustrated passengers in long lines being ‘processed’ by grumpy security people. (And being made to virtually strip- belts, watches, oops maybe it’s your shoes No? Well take your earrings off ). At the other end of this process is a fascinating scene of men and women reassembling themselves, wobbling trying to put shoes back on, lifting shirts often too high to thread belts back; dropping things as they get back into coats, scarves and hats.
It would all be very amusing if I wasn’t trying not to miss a flight. How did I get booked on a connecting flight with less than an hour between the two😩😩😩😩
But I digress because the first leg of this long haul was not too bad ( in the context of modern flying) and my ‘co traveller’ and I nodded hullo then dozed or dreamed most of the way.
Talk, slim, French and ridiculously young (when did I start thinking everyone was ridiculously young?). I discovered she is a university lecturer in Holland and her partner the same, but in Melbourne. How the world is changing.
So she commutes.
And knows the modern ways 😜😂
Which was wonderfully helpful 😃
She reminded me I could use the butterfly of my earring to take the SIM card out of my phone – which was fortunate as I had not brought my ‘thing’ with me.
On discovering how little time I had to connect flights, she led the way. Up you get and follow me was her instruction.
And so I did, gratefully, as she pushed and hustled her way past passengers on the plane (can you imagine how popular we were😂). The advantage of height, beauty, French and confidence – me, I kept my head down and hung onto her bagpack so I could be part of her 😂😂😂.
Then off the plane, weaving in and out of passengers going wherever they were going and on to security. (Why security again? We remain in transit throughout 😩). Which is where the undressing was taking place 😜
Her youthful long legs took it all in her stride, my somewhat shorter, and considerably older legs took a bit of a pounding and suddenly she was gone : I remain forever grateful to her
I made my connection and the journey continues, or perhaps I should say the waiting continues. Having broken the 4 minute mile record, I now sit and wait and sit and wait to board
But board this time, I will – just not sure when 😜
Killing time people watching :
Woman covered from head to toe in austere black – eyes not even visible
Sitting next to fair skinned ‘mature’ lady wearing very short shorts, shoe string strapped top not covering much and slip slops
The contrast – imagining what each makes of the other – assuming they have even noticed the Other
Abu Dhabi – so beautiful from the air
Curves – even the radio control tower is elegantly curved – like the dunes I remember from Namibia
The airport is large and beautiful but after standing in a crush (cannot call it a line) for more than 20 minutes to get through one gate and then 15 minutes of sweaty agitated bodies squeezing me as they jostled to get through 2 security checks – where Everyone had to take off shoes belts watches – (I wondered when someone would strip altogether as a protest – no one did! )
I am revising my opinion – the poor people who were trying to get on a USA connection – chaos is all I can say
And we haven’t arrived in Africa yet 😂😂😂
One poor old man lost his cool and began shouting in protest – he was quietly marched off – but interestingly the door was opened immediately for some of us – only some mind you 😜
We learn fairly early in life that sometimes it’s not a good idea to ask a question
Now is one of those sometimes 😳 ie don’t ask ….
Instead of being submerged in the African bush with its smells and sounds and fast asleep
I am in the UAE – making the most of an expensive monumental “stuff up” to use the Australian expression – (no one to blame except the author) by touring Dubai and Abu Dhabi and trying not to think too much about what just happened.
And there have been some positives : from the hotel staff who despite me not booking a room offered me the use of the pool and showers; charged my phone; scanned my new tickets;
Gave me water and organised a private tour with ‘a friend’ which took in many sights and left me back at the hotel at midnight – where once again they allowed me to shower
So now that I have recovered from the shock ( well kind of) of the costs involved and the people I’ve messed around – I need to ‘fess up
It serves no one to beat myself up; I’m lucky I can cover the cost and I haven’t missed my tour date
And after being awake for almost 48 hours I shall try and sleep before my flight
Dubai/Abu Dhabi news another time
As I dry off – you see I thought to kill time in the hopes the crush would disperse, by visiting ‘the loo’ – which had 2 cubicles – about 8 patiently waiting ‘customers’ and one eastern squat ‘affair’
I’ve used them before so ….. Clearly lost the knack – by the time I had completed my ‘ablutions’ I had almost taken a shower 😂😂😩😩
Wet denims, wet back, wet sweater
And the cubicle had a good wash too —
But the good news – DRY SHOES – a win
Thanks for your good wishes – clearly I am in need of all the help I can get 😅
It begins – (and after being sent to automatic passport check – waiting in line, watching the circle go round and round and round and ….. Get sent to normal queue – at the back and the whole process done again – manually 😂😂😂)
Let’s hope this isn’t an indication of what’s to come 😜😜.
And that was the easy bit 😂😂😂
You understand I am very organised – I even have one of those body hug things you keep your passport in – but not to be used yet ( why not I now ask myself)
Cause suddenly I cannot find my passport!!!! Visions of a trip home tonight instead of two months time !!!!
Sweaty stressed and out of breath I end up at the gate to find it waiting there for me – it just didn’t dawdle along with me; it went straight to the gate – no one knows how but it and I have been happily reunited 😂😂😀😂👍🏻👍🏻 and I shall shortly be putting it in that body hug thing 👍🏻👍🏻 – the end
– I am safely in my seat on the correct flight with my passport safely tucked away 💤