“Be fanatically positive and militantly optimistic”. Those are the words of Rick Steves, travel guru, and the motto I try to live by when travelling. Mostly that is an easy task since travel is my idea of fun – but there are days when the resolve is put to the test – and yesterday was one of those days.
I love living in Australia, but it does have one big drawback, which is its distance from almost everywhere else. It just takes so long to get … well, pretty much anywhere. Being squeezed onto a flying tin can, sitting in one spot for hours on end, and arriving tired and disoriented is the usual introduction to a European vacation.
The flight was tolerable. As a rule I never sleep well on planes, but this time I had trouble staying awake. I tried to watch movies but kept falling asleep. I gave up working on my laptop when the man in front reclined his seat, so I mostly dozed, and listened to my iPod and time passed. I did do one cryptic crossword (only had to cheat on one word!) – I spent the last few weeks downloading the Sydney Morning Herald crosswords to my iPad and saving them for this trip. We had 2 meals which were both very edible (airline food has improved a lot) including a dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel sauce that was just divine. And a midnight snack of a Mango Weiss bar – mmm.
Since the new partnership between Qantas and Emirates became a reality recently, Dubai, rather than Singapore has become the hub for travellers from Australia. I’m sure it will get better, but Dubai airport is not really set up well for transit passengers. We needed to spend the night here to connect with our flight to Turkey – that was the first problem. Instead of an hour at Singapore airport we had to spend 12 hours in Dubai, making a long trip a lot longer. When we arrived in Dubai (after midnight local time) there was no signage at the airport that seemed directed at us! We had to ask for help numerous times, but eventually we made our way to the hotel – 2 escalators, several long corridors, an elevator, a train, a very slow passport control queue and a shuttle bus later. The hotel is nice, the room comfortable, and it is good to sleep in a real bed – which we fell into at around 3am. We head back to the airport at 8.20am, so there won’t be a lot of sleep! It could have been worse though – we met a couple (on the shuttle bus) who were being picked up for their return trip at 5.30 am. I think I might have opted to stay at the airport!
As they say – “first world problems”. I’m just excited to be here and today we fly to Turkey and begin our adventure.