In transit

10 hours in Dubai

Thing is, I’d already written most of this post in my head before I even left home. Ten hours at Dubai International are fairly predictable. The post went something like this:

First hour: Get from disembark point to airport terminals, AKA the giant shopping mall in the desert.

Second hour: Head down, make it through the crowds to a quiet spot with carpets and reclining chairs. Remain calm at all times. Enjoy the accents.

Third hour: As above. Redeem McDonald’s food voucher. (Let’s be honest, it was always going to be McDonald’s.)

Fourth hour: Curl up in a ball on the floor. Shame is no longer your domain.

Fifth hour: Curse the name of paid internet.

Sixth hour: Buy internet. Curse the name of slow internet.

Seventh hour: Watch the boys go by. Applaud recent life decision.

Eighth hour: Question all previous life decisions.

Ninth hour: Find boarding gate. Berate self for being early.

Tenth hour: Count to 100 ten times to make time pass. Attempt to read. Give up. Stand in line. Curse bureaucracy.

There would be something romantic about this torture, a rite of passage I would have to go through in order to truly appreciate the freedom and adventure that awaited me in South America. A taste of discomfort to come; an opportunity to settle into my new way of life. Except, that’s not how it worked out on this, the first 18 hours of my 34-hour journey to Sao Paulo.

My brilliant uncle Adriaan and his better half Dion were on their way back to Malta on the same Emirates flight as me. When I made it through passport control at OR Tambo International, I received a text from my mom: “Tap and Dion are on your flight. They’re waiting for you in the lounge.”

I walked to the smoking lounge but it soon became apparent that this is not where they were waiting. Instead, we were to meet at the Diner’s Club lounge where the Spiced Gold and orange juice were on tap, literally, and the large leather seats whispered, “Come with us, child.”

We had a quick drink and catch-up session before boarding our flight. I couldn’t really wrap my head around what was happening. I was not going to suffer in Dubai; instead, I was going to have the company of loved ones, free (great) food and drink, soft sofas, a shower, a sleep. Sleep!

The flight was a flight. Emirates’ on-board entertainment is something else. Cried during Katy Perry documentary; watched Moonrise Kingdom and confirmed that Wes Anderson is a genius. Disembark.

Here is the actual chain of events:


First hour: Get from disembark point to airport terminals, AKA the giant shopping mall in the desert.

Second hour: Head held high, mosey through the crowds to the Diner’s Club lounge. Giggle at Adriaan and Dion’s familiar and loving banter. Arrive at lounge.

Third hour: Have a smoke on a comfortable chair with a view. Drink Perrier for the first time. (Dis asof ‘n engel op my tong gepiepie het.) Praise free, fast internet. And Diner’s Club. And my uncles.

Fourth hour: Recline, relax, release… Sleep.

Seventh hour: Get a massage from a chair. (Do androids dream of electric sheep?) Shower. Breakfast. Adore the company of these marvellous and generous men. Start dreaming of the Mediterranean in 2014.

Eighth hour: Start writing latest blog post. I smell good, my hair is clean, I’m having a cappuccino.

Ninth hour: Memorise directions to hostel in Sao Paulo.

Tenth hour: Be smug at the boarding gate.

Karma llama

Now now, it couldn’t all be smooth sailing could it? According to the laws of karma, there would be some kind of retribution for this spot of amazing luck.

Two things:

  1. I think I sat on my cellphone on the flight and somehow my pin code has been blocked; a PUK code is now required. I don’t have this PUK code with me. Phone is not working, Mother is going to worry. I’ll have to wait till Friday morning before I can make a probably expensive and possibly unsuccessful phone call to Vodacom in South Africa. Please work with me here, Vodacom. I’ve already changed my voicemail to let people know they can SMS me on my South African number.
  2. I lost my moisturiser. I obsessed about this fucking moisturiser before I left. I spent a morning looking for it in every single store. I didn’t find any, but my friend Jim did. (“How can I help you today?” Jim asked. “I need. To. Find. This. Specific. Moisturiser,” I whinged. “Looking at a tube right now, shall I buy it for you?” Jim rocks.) And now it’s gone. It’s probably in the plane.

Er, life lessons. Plenty. Don’t obsess about moisturiser, or cellphones, for one. Good (or bad) luck is right around the corner.

Speaking of luck. I’m having a philosophical moment. My great luck (hanging out in luxury with people close to me at a time when I thought I’d be desperately alone) was balanced out by a little bit of bad luck (moisturiser, phone).

I struggle to really believe in karma because good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people all the time. I prefer the idea of entropy as a guiding force. The idea of chance is more comforting than fate. So, maybe, not because of but rather in spite of luck, I find myself fed, clean, rested, happy and ready. Whatever bad things are going to happen out there, there will be plenty good things too but most of all, it’s about how I handle both occassions. Strategy: Lean into either scenario.

What did Baz Luhrmann say? “…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.”

More news from Sao Paulo! (Wish me luck, I don’t speak a word of Portuguese.)


12 thoughts on “10 hours in Dubai

  1. Woohooo! I love that lounge! It is the shizness. Hey, instead of fighting with vodacom, can’t you pick up a new pre-paid sim in each country?

    • Managed to sort out the phone thanks to Jim’s genius (that girl!!) but do intend on getting an Argentinian number when I get there (2 weeks or so). They have similar RICA issues here but should be able to get a number. ❤

  2. I have just discovered this breathtaking blog … and read through all the posts! Ingrid you are MADE for this project. Facebook my friend Gustavo Barros De Carvalho – he is pukka Brazilian and connected to the UN and organisations that make a difference.
    Rooting for ya x

  3. This was a hilarious read! I am a bit late in discovering your blog, so sorry for the delayed messages.

    I can tell that I will find your blog seriously entertaining. 😀

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