I hung out at the Zurich airport, just reading and trying not to sleep. It was a nice airport (I like the way you arrive on one level and depart on another), but it was also a little loud. So I wanted to be sure I heard my flight called. I really didn't even hear it even though I was sitting at the gate waiting. I also tried to not sleep because I figured, again, that would allow me to sleep on the flight.
I got the same exact seat, but this time no one was next to me, so while I could quite spread out as the armrest did not go all the way up, I felt much more comfortable. I wound up watching more movies again - lots of new stuff, so that was nice. But, I did manage to doze a little off and on. The food was ok, but hey, it's free! I tried to look out at the scenery, seeing the Alps, which are far more extensive that I'd thought; I really wanted to see the desert but there was too much cloud cover or haze...By the time we arrived in Dubai, it was dark.
But as we got closer to the ground, I could see that all of the uninhabited areas were all sand - it was strange and still left me in shock that I was actually doing this. In the distance once we had landed, I could see the Burj Kalifa rising up around the City. Impressive.
We disembarked (everyone who was not continuing on to Oman), and this is another airport with different levels for arrivals and departures, but flipped from Zurich. There was a woman waiting for me at the end of our gate exit. Yay! Fugro told me that I would have someone assist me and I was glad to see her at the very beginning. She led me through the terminal, which looked like a giant mall, taking me to a shortcut via the elevator. Then, I didn't have to wait in the long customs line as she took me through what I can only figure is a type of VIP line. The guy was nice enough, asking if this was my first trip to Dubai, and gave me my UAE stamp in my passport. I asked the woman about getting my visa, she was confused and said that I will do that through work. I wonder if there is a language difference - work told me to get my visa on arrival and they would reimburse me. Maybe they just meant passport stamp? I don't know. Either way, I will have to do it through Fugro this week.
She then took me to baggage claim, where I believe I was the first person on my flight to get there. My giant bags all came right away and she then led me through security and then outside (hot, but not unbearable yet), where my driver(s) met me. They loaded up my luggage and off we went. I arrived a little after 9 and was on my way before 10 - amazing! I am so thankful that after the long flight to not have to deal with lines!
It was funny to note that they have pink themed "lady taxi" rides available - I LOVE that!!! I first noticed a woman in Arab dress, but it was all pink and I thought it was interesting; then I saw the taxi - it is always nice to feel safe.
The drivers work for Fugro; one guy was a little more chatty than the other, pointing out the Burj Kalifa and such, but it was a long ride. I got to see the many sites: lots of tall buildings, Arabian architecture, fancy buildings, restaurants, etc. It was neat. It was also amusing to note everything that everyone had told me about the way people drive here: it was true! Amusing, but now I'm a little worried about when I have to drive.. We passed a street with shops and restaurants close to my hotel and I tried to take note of if there were many (or any) women present; I saw one. There is a supermarket right across from my hotel, so I can go in the morning to stock up on some basics: food, drinks, hairbrush. I need an adapter and some local currency too.
We arrived at my hotel, where I was quickly checked in. So far, everyone has been pretty friendly. After a few questions on my end, I was taken to my room; not huge, but nice and actually quite perfect. I even have a balcony; not facing the beach, but still some fresh air. I am so excited to take a bath in the big tub! I ordered a light meal since I haven't eaten in about 10 hours, but I'm so tired I really just want to sleep. Bath first or sleep first? I'll let you know tomorrow... Good night from the Middle East!!!
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