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Published: March 31st 2013
The body clock is still not adjusted and although the alarm is set for 5.15am to give enough time to shower and prepare for a taxi to the airport and out 9am flight to Rome, we still woke at 3.15am,again !Perhaps tonight we will sleep all the way through to a more normal hour.
We had been pretty efficient last night and the suitcases were packed and today’s clothes laid out. Still haven’t worked out the shower water from flooding back but what the heck it’s our last shower and we will leave them to mop up any surplus that doesn’t drain back down the grate.
Friday is holy day in Dubai and so the streets were relatively quiet and our ex-Pakistani taxi driver, who had a remarkable side profile to Daniel Craig the current James Bond 007, had us quickly to the airport. Like others we have talked to here he came to work for better money 9 years ago leaving his wife and 7 kids behind and his regular contact with them is now by Skype. He said they wouldn’t ever come to live in Dubai but he didn’t say how long he would be here before going home to rejoin them as a family. At least In NZ we have a way of life with our families that is the way it should be and we should consider ourselves fortunate as to where we were born.
Check in at Dubai airport was an interesting affair and the following are some tips and tricks for anyone who reads this and follows us to this city in the future.
Check in for all 3 terminals is done in the one place and then you head for where your plane is going to leave from. As we had another A380 to Rome our departure terminal was #3, where we had arrived and we would repeat the arrival process but in reverse
Like most people we entered the vast hall on the left which just seems the right thing to do. There were heaps of self check in kiosks but our experience of them is that you can get allocated seats apart from each other if you don’t follow a strict process of ensuring you nominate the other person you are travelling with when you start the process.
So we bypassed the kiosks also noting the long queues for the baggage drop and headed up the left hand side to the other check in where a human being helps you and sees your luggage on its way to the plane. We had noticed an arrow pointing to the right hand side of the vast hall for more check ins but they were so far away you couldn’t make out if there were queues.
So we opted for the left hand side of the hall and joined a l o n g queue and noted there were only 2 or 3 check ins of a couple of dozen spots operating. There seemed to be a lack of organisational people ensuring the desks were manned and the queue was moving.
After 10 minutes or so and only having moved 3 or 4 metres and not even into where the queue former started, Gretchen headed over to the other side to see whether that queue, if there was one, was moving faster.
She soon returned to say there were more counters manned and the very short queue was moving. We dropped out of the line and headed away from the people who looked worried that they would make their flights and within 10 more minutes we were check in and on our way to passport control.
Tip 1, trust the self check in and avoid the queues
Tip 2; don’t always go to the left if there is a right hand option.
Tip 3, when joining the emigration queue look for a group of people or families travelling together as they will be processed as one and hasten your turn.
Now we recalled that Smart Gate on our entry appeared to be having some teething problems but what we didn’t realise was that we should have had a stamp in our passport as well.
The handsome/dishy (Gretchen’s words not mine) Arabic emigration man in his flowing spotlessly clean white robe was floored by us as he couldn’t find we ‘Australians’ in the system.
After we noted to him that we were New Zealanders, he looked at the front cover of the passport and he came more flummoxed issuing four letter words like sh.. which sounded the same in Arabic as it does in English. We think in the end after consulting 2 other emigration officers around him he gave up trying to find us and handed back the passports with a wave to go through.
We cashed in the last of our Dirhams,which meant we had underspent our budget for Dubai,for US dollars.The BBA V2 is starting as it means to go on.
This time our seats were in the front section of the lower deck,where first class would be except on these planes that is upstairs.I joked with Gretchen about the story someone told us years ago about getting a seat in the rear of a plane because whoever heard of a plane flying backwards into a mountain!We were at least at the back of the cabin area with 7 or 8 rows ahead of us.
The service on this flight,again with 14 or 15 different nationalities in the crew,was better than the Auckland to Dubai sectors and we were offered a couple of rounds of drinks including one with our lunch.Our estimation of Emirates in this regard has risen significantly.
The AirShow indicated the flight path would be over Iraq and Syria then southern Greece and onto Italy.
Along the way something changed,presumably to pick up more favourable weather,and we thankfully avoided Syria and flew a more northerly course over Turkey and Albania and onto Rome.
It was another perfect quiet flight,even more so because we were seated ahead of the wings and hence the engines,and after ‘helping’ the pilot line up again, the landing was a gentle bump,the best of the 3 since leaving Auckland.
Now we know that Rome is very historic and interesting but their main airport terminal is the pits and well past its use by date.Perhaps the Euros have run out for now.
Entry to Italy and therefore the EU was a breeze with no questions asked,not like the UK where we had a half hour interview 4 years ago before we were let in,a stamp in the passport which has a date and we were off to get our luggage and onto the Terravision bus to the city being the lowest cost transport at Euro 5 each to the city.
It was a bit of a scramble as the bus was almost full and ready to leave as we arrived.Payment was made and cases lodged underneath the bus and we hopped on board.There were a lack of seats together so Gretchen headed towards the rear while I took up a seat next to this rather large(tubby)gentleman.
In my rush to get on board I had left the zip open of my ‘handbag’containing my passport and a small amount of Euros and as I sat down clutching my backpack,camera and hat as well as the handbag I had this feeling of seeing something,which I thought was the Euro10 note given in change when we purchased the tickets, drop out of the handbag.
With the way I was wedged in I decided to wait until we arrived in the city to see what had actually dropped out.I sat for the 30 minute ride fearing the telling off I would get from Gretchen if it had been a Euro10 note that had dropped out and I didn’t recover it.
Getting off was a scramble and the large gentleman next to me was keen to get off in his turn but I was in the way and wanted to know what had dropped out.The couple behind me solved that handing me a lozenge in aluminium foil that fell through the back of the seat when I got up.
That at least solved the mystery of what had fallen from the bag but not where the Euro10 change was !
I sheepishly said to Gretchen that I wasn’t sure where the change we had got was and was just about to say I would go without dinner to get us back on budget when....just like that she produced the Euro10 bill from her bag.She had had it all along and so dinner was back on for me again !
We had instructions to get to the B&B which was about 1500metres from the main railway station.
We found the place easily without even trying out the GPS we had bought with us for the car.Even the streets we walked down had reasonable footpaths to trolley our suitcases along and it was basically a flat walk to the B&B which is located in a 100 year old building with many apartments.The B&B appears to have been created by adding rooms together although each was very private from the others with our own bathroom of course.
Giorgio was here to meet us and made us very welcome providing a map and suggestions of places for food nearby.
We opted for a short rest which again turned into a 3 hour sleep and woke ready to search out our first pizza of the BBA V2.
In a very authentic little bar/pizzeria a short walk away we enjoyed a delicious Margahrita and a Proscuitto pizza each and a half carafe of house wine all for Euro20 and we were ready to head back to the B&B for sleep beyond 3.15am and be ready for sightseeing tomorrow.
Distance travelled: 4353km
Distance since Tauranga:18769km
Tot: 1.146s; Tpl: 0.044s; cc: 11; qc: 30; dbt: 0.017s; 1; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb