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22 October 2009

On leaving UAE and arriving in Ireland

This morning trying to find the Abu Dhabi airport was slightly panic-inducing. Like many things in the UAE there is no organisation, no underlying plan. Things are just done, buildings built, sometimes signs are put up. So what I am getting at is that it was badly signposted. We thought we had gone the complete wrong way and that I would miss my flight. We did find it eventually though. It is in some ways a lat smaller than Dubai airport yet at the same time seems much larger than Dublin airport, where I am sitting now. Although surely they must be about the same size. It is just that the emirates want everything to be large and impressive, and it is all brand new.

And on leaving Abu Dhabi I would like to say that it is really just not my cup of tea. I don't like all the people, especially the way they stare and spit and are sometimes very smelly and are sometimes very rude and pushy. And I don't like the heat, nor the sand. Nor all the buildings being built everywhere and the thousands of poor street cats (like this one that lives outside Mum's building and that she feeds every morning). And the whole country appears to be under construction and people drive and park like maniacs. And did I mention all the sand?

But it can be pretty, if you are lucky, and out at the right time. Though coming from New Zealand what they call nice I would still call dry and dusty.

So anyway it was a long flight, and Etihad is not really any better or worse than any other airline. They are all mostly the same. The aisle was really narrow but the tv screen was big. The service was good but there were a lot of crying babies. There was some bad turbulance, and it is windy in Dublin, I don't think I have ever been in a plane that had such a rocky landing. The weather does seem very bad here, what I can see out of the window is very windy and it was raining before, really really hard. And I left my coat in Abu Dhabi. Isn't that just great? But I have heard that the weather in Galway is better than here so I hope that is true. The weather forecast led me to believe that right now at least Galway weather will be similar to how Invercargill is right now. But that could be hugely wrong. I think I will be missing my coat very shortly.

I will arrive at Galway at 7.15pm and for all that I am paying for a student residence you would think that there would be some sort of management there to show you to your room and be available to answer any questions. But no. And it is a public holiday Monday which is good for giving me an extra day to settle but at the same time not so good because there will be nothing really open for me to begin sorting things out anyway. But what can you do? It is not so great to arrive in a place at night, I would far prefer to arrive during the day when you can actually see what you have gotten yourself into. Yet I always do seem to arrive somewhere new at night time.

Also on the plane I read a very good book. It was called 'Special Topics In Calamity Physics' by Marissa Pressl, I picked it up at a secondhand bookstore in Invers for 5 bucks ( I chose it because it looked pretty). I recommend it. But I have just left it behind on the table of a cafe because I finished it and it was weighing down my already overstuffed bags. I have got really lucky and not had my hand luggage weighed at all – I think it might be about 3 or 4 kilos over the limit, maybe more. And all that without my coat. And I bet it will take ages for Mum to post it and then a really long time to actually arrive.

Plus to top it all off, the travel and time-zone change, heavy luggage, left-behind items, airports and people and planes – I have a cold. Stupid Abu Dhabi and all it's air conditioning and jet lag and whatever else has given me a cold. My nose is blocked, my head is sore and I feel really, mind-numbingly exhausted, I just want to sleep. Which is not really a good way to feel when you have another flight ahead of you, a taxi to find, a new city to enter, an apartment to find and get accostomed to and neighbours to meet so that the making-new-friends can begin. But they say that Galway is really nice, real pretty, cultural centre of Ireland, all that. So, I guess we'll just wait and see.

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