Sunday, 30 September 2012

Paris to Dubai

The flight to Dubai was uneventful until the fifth hour when a young passenger - clearly intoxicated from the smell as she passed me - became unruly and had to be restrained. She climaxed her performance by vomiting over several fellow passengers and spent the last hour of the flight under close supervision.

We arrived at Dubai tired, both of us unable to sleep on the flight. We changed the time on our watches and changed currencies to get ourselves some breakfast. Coming trough security checks and being directed by airport personnel, it was interesting to reflect how we had learned to take these procedures in our stride and treat them in the same way as we might waiting in line at the supermarket. When we first arrived in Dubai, two months ago, we were setting foot on foreign ground for the first time and our eyes were everywhere for dangers. Both of us expected to whisked away for some bogus reason into a dark room interrogation or to be robbed without knowing and left in the UAE without medication or contact with our embassy or ... well the fears were endless.

Two months later, we wandered along, chatting about the flight and secure from imagined dangers. At the security check, we smiled at each other as newbies complained at having to remove this or that while we just dropped things on the tray, removed our shoes and belts and said thanks to the staff. By now, the lure of country of birth was reaching out across the Indian Ocean and I inadvertently dropped a "thanks cobber", causing a raised eyebrow until one of his mates explained it was an Aussie greeting. He gave me a wink and on we went.

Experience, like Sue, is a wonderful teacher.

We cobbled together some sort of breakfast combination - Sue had a selection of breads and a coffee from one vendor and I chowed down on fruit salad and the world's smallest mug of tea from another.

We found some seats and I wrote whilst Sue dozed. Once our flight was posted, we made our way to the departure lounge, along with the other 498 passengers ... less, of course, the business and first class coves who sat in a licensed lounge with cushioned chairs, literally above us. As time came and went, an announcement told us there would be a delay of an hour in boarding, meaning we were all contained in the secured boarding lounge with no access to food or drink apart from a single water bubbler. It was worse for the women, because although accustomed to standing in line and doing the dunny dance while waiting for their turn in public toilets, it was made more excruciating by the provision of only one toilet ... that's one single porcelain bowl.

Above us, Mrs Chase Manhattan was grumbling about the colour combination of cushions and drapes.

If tempers were being tested by the time we got on the plane, then the 45 minutes we sat on taxiways after doors were closed, gave them a thorough examination. Lack of cool air inside a fuselage being hit by 40 degree heat was a further cause for complaint.

We were just glad to have a seat on the bus and long before it left, we were already dozing.

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