Hollywood is known for being dramatic - without drama, it simply would cease to exist. Therefore it is not uncommon to hear on the airline action movies "Is there a doctor on board this flight?" I have always wanted to hear this announcement over the loudspeaker so imagine my surprise when I got to hear this on today's flight. Imagine my further surprise when I realised this announcement was for myself.
It had all started like a rather normal day. I had arrived off my Emirates flight into Dubai from Auckland, via Sydney and with the 20-hour flight and 9-hour layover; I had been away from home for, well 29 hours. Even I can do that Math!
During my time at Dubai International Airport, I had encountered burly security men who had questioned me regarding a suitcase I noticed was left unattended at 6am. Such was their dedication to this security threat, that when I returned to the same gate 9 hours later (at 3pm), it was still there - unattended. Sure make me take off my shoes for inspection, allow me to take only a small bag of liquids with me in a cheap plastic bag that splits as soon as I look at it for security, but unattended luggage - no problem. I suspect this suitcase would not have experienced the same reception if it had been spotted in Los Angeles or New York, or any part of America. But here in Dubai it is a case of Inshallah or 'Allah (God) wishes' - something I like to term the 'Que Sera Sera' approach.
So there I was boarding my flight to Cairo. Everything had been normal. I had walked around the airport for the past nine hours, I caught up on my emails, tried reading, attempted to watch a couple of movies, and even managed to get some food. But this calm was to evaporate as quickly as the oxygen in my lungs after takeoff.
Food was being served when I asked the Flight Attendant for paracetamol for my thumping headache. She asked me if it was important, and with a shake of my head I told her it wasn't. How quickly I regretted my response.
The Flight Attendant left my area and continued serving meals and all I could hear was the pounding of blood rushing around my head. I noticed people around me were getting spotty and blurry and when another Flight Attendant saw my distress, she quickly took me out of my seat to the bathroom area where I promptly fainted and had to be administered oxygen. Yes, a very romantic image of me there lying in between the toilets, passed out, oxygen mask on, legs raised. I was the picture of health and beauty.
At some point I regained consciousness and I remember a woman tried to walk over me to use the bathroom. Thankfully the Emirates staff there were polite, but firm and told her to sod off", nicely of course. Yes this was another manifestation of ATS (Airport Travel Syndrome" - see previous blog for definition).
So like I said, here I was sprawled out in front of the toilets, looking as elegant and graceful as could be. Finally after what seemed like an eternity on the oxygen, but in reality was 40 minutes, I was well enough (?) to head back to my seat. I had been seated next to an older Indian woman, who was nice and reassuring upon my return. She held my water bottle while I spent the rest of the rest flight vomiting and sleeping. I knew she didn't mind, she did the comforting Indian side waggle and I knew this was her way of saying, 'Rather you than me. I hope you feel better soon.'
At the end of the flight I was met by medical staff who, after checking me out, took me through to the Arrivals Hall. Severe dehydration was the diagnosis. Ironically because I slept so well on the flight to Dubai, I hadn't drunken nearly enough and the walking around the airport, only added to the problem. This further proves my suspicions that exercise is bad for you.
So after the all clear, I purchased my Egyptian visa from the bank for US$15, I practiced basic Arabic on the customs officials and then I was able to collect my luggage and make my way to the King Hotel. So this will be me for he next few days. I had planned to spend tomorrow relaxing and maybe walking around getting my bearings. Maybe I'll still do that, but before I head out I plan to find at least two 5 litre bottles of water which I intend to strap to my backpack, like the pack horse that I am, so I never have to suffer from dehydration ever again. But first I have to find a store that sells water ... Inshallah
ترجم هذه الصفحة from Cairo