It begins

 

20/09/2016

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)
Let’s hope this isn’t an indication of what’s to come ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ.

And that was the easy bit ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
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 ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป and I shall shortly be putting it in that body hug thing ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป – the end
– I am safely in my seat on the correct flight with my passport safely tucked away ๐Ÿ’ค

 

 

Drying off …

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21/09/2016

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฉ
Wet denims, wet back, wet sweater
And the cubicle had a good wash too —
But the good news – DRY SHOES – a win
Bored yet?
Thanks for your good wishes – clearly I am in need of all the help I can get ๐Ÿ˜…

Don’t ask :(

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We learn fairly early in life that sometimes it’s not a good idea to ask a question
Now is one of those sometimes ๐Ÿ˜ณ 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

Sheik Zayed Mosque

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21/09/2016 (Abu Dhabi)

This is quite one of the most remarkable buildings I have seen : European cathedrals point to a past sense of commitment, labour and worship: for me at least, this was about Now ; firstly a place of worship, (perhaps Solomon’s temple had this lavish feel to honour Yahweh) and then a place for visitors to marvel. We are invited in with no agenda, no charges, no conversions, free conversations, no topic is taboo – ‘they’ were remarkably amenable to discussing religion, politics, New and Old testaments. The only expectation was that you treated their place of worship with respect and to that end they are quite assertive.

Marble from Macedonia on the outside, Italy inside, pillars of ‘date palms’; semi precious inlays in detail to take your breath away : my amateur photos and words cannot begin to describe this place of worship – a special visit and humbling in a way

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Dubai/Abu Dhabi

 

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Excess:
bold: defiant: beautiful: daring – all words that came to mind as I was shown building after building and shopping mall after shopping mall and hotel after hotel

The modern golden calf came to mind

Massive displays of wealth and people spending vast sums of money:
jewels the likes of which I have never seen before:
magnificent dresses ( can one call them that?) with price tags of $27000 plus.

A population of 2mil I am told but thousand more visiting – either to spend
money or earn it

My taxi driver was Indian – his wife and children still in India – he has worked here for 7 years, 3 more and he can get a house

While the Princes have no shortage of homes – miles and miles of ornate walls behind which they live in opulence hard to imagine.

Politics is easy – what the prince decided is law so no need for elections

And so ended a long day/ night with me asleep on a pool bench on the roof of the hotel – asleep that is from 1.30-3 am when I awake with a bump having fallen off my bench
I have a whole new respect for park bench sleepers ๐Ÿ˜ณ

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Abu Dhabi chaos

21/09/2016

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚
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 ๐Ÿ˜œ

Just confirming ….ย 

For Thomas and those of you who followed my previous adventures (and if you didn’t, you could see it on “Don’t Ask”)

Here I am; 

Right airport;

Right gate;

Right time;

No reading; ๐Ÿ˜ข 

So in theory I’m all set – ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป



All set โœˆ๏ธโœˆ๏ธ

A good flight?

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 ๐Ÿ˜œ)? 

 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 two๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฉ๐Ÿ˜ฉ

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 ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜‚

Which was wonderfully helpful ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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 were๐Ÿ˜‚). 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 ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚.

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 ๐Ÿ˜ฉ).  Which is where the undressing was taking place ๐Ÿ˜œ

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 ๐Ÿ˜œ

Are we 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’ ๐Ÿ˜‚
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:

Zagros mountains(where precisely are they?); Baku, Ervil, Baghdad, Tehran, Basrah, Tbilisi, Riga, Black Sea 

Al Ain

No not L. A. Al Ain.
Okay, I too, had to find an atlas and look it up. So for those without such a useful book (which as I remember was out of date almost as soon as it was published ๐Ÿ˜‚)

Al Ain is the second city of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi being the first, the largest and the capital of both the emirate and the country.

For those interested, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consists of 7 Emirates, amongst them Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Umm etc. Okay so you knew that, I won’t list them all then ๐Ÿ˜‚.

Did you know the UAE is a member of the GCC (Arab Gulf

Co-operation centre) which includes Bahrain, Saudi, Kuwait etc. The etc again cause you know this and don’t want to be bored ๐Ÿ˜œ.

Population of Abu Dhabi is (1.6million only), the largest of the emirates (by far, 87 340sq km) with 9% of worlds proven oil reserves and 4% of the worlds proven natural gas reserves. It is seriously wealthy (see my blogs, Abu Dhabi )

Oil was discovered in 1958 and the transformation of this area has been phenomenal (from rags to riches – a good read)

So if that isn’t a good enough reason to visit this part of the world, how about Etihad stops here on its way to Everywhere?

Better still, my dearest friends live here and I have not seen them for 16 years?

Well that’s why Al Ain โค๏ธ

That’s where
Abu Dhabi houses and main road 1961
Tracks approaching Abu Dhabi 1954
The other reason
Friends