The long haul... ** midair-dubai and then the UK

Dubai Travel Blog

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Ok – im sitting here at my desk, and am officially bored… ( and cant look it for fear of them realising that there is a superfluous position and they don’t actually need me, lol…) so that leaves me stuck trying to look busy… 9 yes, I even emailed myself the other day… how bad is that?! Lol…

Anyway, I thought since I have this time on my hands il update you on my plane trip (before I completely forget it, in my old age! Lol…) even though it is a bit after-the-fact, but hey…: one can’t be perfect all the time! 

So here goes: back to the 2nd of March 2008…

It was Sunday and my mom had just made her tearful departure from the airport… and left me, laden with winter coat, 100-ton laptop bag and handbag… waiting for my flight from Nelspruit KMIA, to Joburg, where I was meant to meet up with Steve (Marsh… u remember him, a friend of mine… fellow GAP student from Southern Cross, met me at the airport last year -ok yes, he seems to be making a habit of it, lol! – and the guy who got me a job at the Swan Hotel in the Lake District last year… good mate. Lol!!) and Opi and Gene ( u know… the lovely grandparents…!) I boarded the plane (a tad late… but hey: to quote a phrase…: TIA – This – Is – Africa… and things like lateness don’t seem to feature in a prominent role in anyone’s lives… lol.) and so began my next great trip and a phenomenal string of delayed flights… but hey, armed with a spirit of adventure and a good book – I set out! 

Hit Joburg and was amazed at the hustle and bustle of the airport… if anything Joburg International was even busier than I remembered it… Fought my way through the throngs to get the luggage rack ( where of course I realised I could have strolled at a leisurely pace… or even crawled had I know how long the luggage would take to appear,,, lol, but at last, appear it did… much to my relief… - although I must admit, the thought of being FORCED to shop for an entire wardrobe wasn’t UN-appealing1 lol) A wolf-whistle as I walked out, brought my eyes to a grinning Steve, who had shown up to give a hand with my bags… (thank goodness…I thought my arm might self-detach…like a little lizards tail!!) We had to kick and fight our way into the International Departures Area and find the queue which was so long that it practically blocked the corridor… Booooo! But it was ok – we managed to spend the time there playing I-spy, for the most disgruntled traveller, and making jokes… After checking my bags I breathed a sigh of relief and then we set off to meet with Opi & Genee. (I just dragged Steve along too, I mean why not… - plus that way I didn’t have to carry my own bag! Lol – see theres a method in my madness…!) They were waiting for us at the Intercontinental Hotel, which, as it turns out is the most spectacularly beautiful hotel I have ever seen. ( I mean, the name gives nothing away and the fact that its not even a 5 minute walk from the airport… all things that kinda lead you to believe that it might be a bit…well…scummy… but not so!! At all… infact!) After grabbing a corny photo with the beaming doorman (who was wearing a very cute little Chinaman sort of hat…) we wandered cautiously inside… (wondering whether we’d get kicked out for having jeans on!) only to spot Opi who ushered us to a little table on the little candle-lit balcony outside. We had a lovely little chat and a quick snack… (ok – I lie…it was the most divine… albeit the most expensive sandwich I have ever eaten in my life.! Lol) and then said some fond goodbyes as we realised that it was time for me to scoot my butt back over to the airport for check in. It was a short and sweet meeting with my grandparents, but im so glad I got it… time together is precious and few and far between… But we always enjoy it thoroughly and theres a lot of love there! ( yup - im a pretty lucky girl family-wise…I think I struck gold!!) 

Said my goodbye’s to Stevie, and then with a quickening heart ( for 1. because it was the first step of a large journey… and 2. well…lol, because I was running a bit late!) Ran to my gate (where I realised, yet again…that I shouldn’t have worried ass my plane was delayed… Finally boarded and found my seat… with the lump in my throat that ive now come to associate with ‘hope’… Hope of what this year may hold… the unknown of what the journey will bring, to my life and heart…. It’s the most amazing feeling. So was busy dealing with all my emotions as I buckled in, got settled for the trip ( blanket on lap: check!... book : check! Gum: check! ) Now to introduce myself to my seat- mate : which to be honest, sometimes I dont do ( - you know…when they’re the kind of people that a) look like they might be hiding from the mafia, and for a good reason or b) look like they might think that a 14hour-trip is a great way to be your new best buddy!) But lucky for me, my trip was meant to be a good one, as my seat mate turned out to be a really nice woman called Mary. We chatted a bit, and then sat there with bated breath and fingers crossed, hoping that no-one would come and claim the seat between us. Once you’ve flown in an Economy Seat for a 14 hour trip… you will know WHY…. That little extra bit of space it truly truly invaluable… otherwise you spend the entire trip playing elbow tennis with your partner for the armrest, and trying to wriggle down your seat to pick up something you dropped on the floor before the food was brought and you were completely wedged in by tray tables. Lol ( aah, I smile at memories of those moments… !) - and then of course there are the times when aLL you need is the loo, and those trolly-dollies ( a fond name for airhostesses…lol!) are no where to be seen, and you are immobilised by a tray crammed with lots of tinfoil and spaceship-type food condiments… lol!

Anyway, im staying of point here: well Mary and I got our wish and had all three seats to just the 2 of us, which made a world of difference. She was just the right kind of fellow traveller, who chatted just enough to be nice and interesting, and no too much that you have to fake coma-like sleep so they will shut up…! We survived the food, inflight movies, and all and as the plane landed it was as if I had a partner in crime. We both had the same connecting flight from Dubai to London, so figured a coffee shop was the way to go. In the queue we got chatting to Beth, a fellow woman traveller ( ok let me just make it known they were a tad older than me…read like 13 or so years… lol!!) who had a totally wicked sense of humour… So after the three of us were practically strip searched and removed everything metallic from our person so we could go through the check-in gate, we set off to find a Costa coffee and a wireless hotspot… ( and like modern women of the world sat there sipping our lattes and typing away on our laptops – ok so I might have taken a while longer to set mine up and all, but give me some credit… id only had it for a week, and was still figuring it out!! Lol) We had a really great chat about the ups and downs of the world and more importantly… Facebook men ( ok - let me just fill that in for you for those of you that don’t know the world of FACEBOOK… its an online community that you can join, and then keep in touch with friends via email… and search for aquaintances and all… so yeah, its pretty much a great way ok keeping in touch with old people and meeting new ones!! - and I for one think it is taking over the world, but enough of that for now… at least u have the gist of it! Lol) soon it was time to board out next leg of the flight ( oh I forgot to tell you I flight that we had been on had taken 2 hours longer due to turbulence, and then mist on the ground… but it all wound up ok, as the connecting flight was also delayed because the airport had been shut for a while due to bad visibility… so in all its chaos and confusion, we were still in time for out next flight! ) To our disappointment none of us were seated anywhere near each other, but we swopped email addresses and quickly were hustled along in the direction of our perspective seats. I was seated next to a seemingly harmless Indian-type man, 9 who didn’t say more than 2 words the entire trip, not that I really minded!) Then came the other person of our trio… A not-too-bad looking ( ok at all…in fact one might say he was pretty ‘good’ looking… if asked to describe him…!) young guy in a suit… mmmmm, ( you know what they say: there just something about a man in a suit - hmmmm, ok maybe they don’t say that, but we all think it…lol, I mean come on… be honest!) anyway, we didn’t chat much and I threw him the surreptitious glance or 2, but eventually we hit it off and spent the rest of the flight enjoying the in-flight alchohol ( I only had one or 2… lol… honestly… !) and it was all good fun. Finally landed ( about 2 hours later…) and after swopping email addresses… ( which to be honest, meant that we only emailed about once…I think theres something about being 500 miles in the air that is condusive to friendships that one otherwise wouldn’t have on the ground…lol!) I took my first steps into England… Managed to secure my bag, and exchange my money ( lol – was devastated for a second to see all those Rands disappear into what looked like VERY few pouns…lol!) and buy a SIM card for my phone…. And then made my way, with my squeaky trolley through to the underground…( good old London tubes… u gotta love em, and u gotta hate em…lol!) at first I thought everyones trolley was as squeaky as mine, but after a few steps I realised that NO, mine was by far the noisiest one out there and I attracted more than a few glances, but by that time, I way beyond caring so simply stuck my noise in the air and carried on as if I liked it that way ( ok and I did almost pull an arm muscle trying to lift it like half an inch of the ground and sort of drag-carry it…lol!) Anyway, managed to wrangle myself and my belongings onto the tube, and then change at Gatwick and hop on the train… Finally made it through to Horley train station ( the closest one to Smallfield, where Shani lived…) at about 9pm… I wont lie, I was absolutely exhausted and drained… and it took way longer than it should to carry my bag those last few steps up to the station and outside… but it was ok as I was greeted by a friendly smile and Shani was waiting for me with her mom… they swooped my up and carried my away and after a cuppa tea ( there is no tea such as the English make it…mmmm) and a little bit of smalltalk… ( im afraid I must have been quite boring, as I sat stifling my yawns trying to sounds bright and witty…lol!) I fell into bed for a good few hours sleep…. Aaah… to be back in England !! Welcome back Sarah, it seemed to say, as I drifted off to sleep….!!

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photo by: vances