Friday, August 15, 2014

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates!

I'm here! I still can't believe it, I need someone to pinch me! But not too hard!

So, yesterday I wrote about the start of my journey and today I'll continue with the flight.  First flight, SFO to ORD (Chicago) via American Airlines.  What you would expect from an American airline company; really crowded, no leg room, no food, had to practically get on my knees and beg for water, loud, horrible customer service; so, the usual wonderful flying service!

In Chicago, I went directly to the international terminal once I deplaned figuring I would rather be near to where I had to board for the 4 + hours layover.  Bad idea!  I had to go through security again, take a tram and finally arrived at terminal 5 to find... there is hardly nothing there! A few restaurants, maybe like 4, and airline lounges which I could not get into (believe me, I tried!).  When I asked an employee, they told me everything was in terminal 3, which is the terminal I had just left!  So if you are stuck in Chicago, stay in terminal 3 until the last possible moment!  At least we had WiFi.  I broke down and paid the 6 bucks cus we had nothing else to do.  I'm holding tight to my funds so, even though the kid wanted to eat, I was buying nothing!

Our flight was to depart at 7:45 so around 6 I made my way to the gate.  Met lots of other teachers, yay, and was told by 1 that she had to pay an additional $175 for baggage! Yup, they only allowed you to have 2 carry on's weighing 7 kilos total! About 15 pounds!  I had like 5 carry on's ( see my lovely carry on pic below!)  So I only took 4 up to the counter and yup, they weighed them, told me I would have to take stuff out of all of them, even my purse!   But then she let me move some things into 1 bag  and check that 1.  For $175!  Man, my money is dwindling by the second!  But it's ok, at least I'm finally on a plane, right?!  I have to keep that  thought in mind; at least I'm on a plane, at least I'm finally in UAE, and nothing else matters!

Check out the to die for cute Issac Mizrahi carry on!

The flight was looooooong! 14 hours long!  In a very teeny, cramped seat.  But at least I had the aisle, the better for people to bump into me, and at least 2 whole inches of leg space!  But there are reasons I love international travel so much; personal tv screen loaded with free movies, tv shows, games and more, free food and drinks, and good tasting food too!  And ultra nice staff.  The air hostesses ( and 1 or 2 "hosts"!) were lovely.  Of course they were all extremely tall, and extremely thin ( it's a requirement I think! I know, the feminist in me is revolting! But just a little bit!), and they were super nice!  Stowed my bags, brought me numerous cups of water and orange juice and apple juice.  We received on our seats a pillow and a blanket and a little pack with socks, toothbrush and paste, headphones and earplugs (if only they could drown out the sound of many many babies and toddlers!  But, alas, that was a job way too large for the tiny pieces of plastic.  They gave it a good fight though!).  We received 2 FREE meals plus snacks.  And we even had a menu with our choice of 3 different entrees!  They had biryani rice and chicken, lamb and couscous, and a lentil veggie option.  I had the biryani and Ajenai had the lamb.  That lamb was really good!  Like totally tender and it had eggplant with it.  My biryani was ok.  Ajenai loved the dessert, mango mousse with roasted coconut and some kind of nuts at the bottom.  The second meal was biryani rice, lentils and garbanzo beans.  I don't know what the seasonings were but they were so flavorful!  We also had a greek salad and some veggies and a kit kat!  And there were snacks throughout as well.  I watched 2 movies, that 1 with Cameron Diaz about dating someones husband, and the 1 that used to be with Harrison Ford but now has some younger guy starring in it.  In my opinion, not nearly as cute or as good an actor as Ford!  And I watched a bunch of tv shows too.  I only slept a few hours, guess I'm too old to sleep well on planes now!  But I walked around a lot and stretched, I feel like my time in Korea rubbed off way too much on me, cus I was doing some of the same exercises the adjamas (an endearing term for Korean crotchety old ladies!) used to do in the street!

What I wish my seat looked like...
what my actual seat looked like!
At the Abu Dhabi airport, a Nirvana representative met us and lead us all safely and quickly through security; have a printed copy of your visa!  Mine was in the bag I was forced to check at the gate and it was a little bit of a mad dash to print it out again from my email.  I was one of the first people to receive all 6, yes six, of my checked bags, yay!  But I don't think anyone lost any luggage.

Now, I have read all about the heat here in Abu Dhabi, I mean, it is the desert right?  And I knew that the thermometer was hovering around the 94 degree mark, but that still didn't prepare me for the blast that swept through that open door!  Lord have mercy, cus this heat sure doesn't!  Ajenai's glasses instantly, and I do mean instantly, fogged up so thick there was no way to see!  It was so hot even the back of my hands were sweating!  The backs of my hands!  I definitely will not be partaking in any sort of walking tours!  I doubt they are even offered, lol.

Anyway, we arrived at the beautiful and highly marbled, Intercontinental Hotel and it's absolutely lovely!
Intercontinental Hotel  Abu Dhabi Lobby

I can't wait to see what today holds in store!!

See ya!

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