(Continued from previous post)
Flight (Dubai – London)
On this flight I had also booked an aisle seat. But the seat was actually reserved for handicap / emergency seat or whatever they call it which means my seat could be changed if absolutely needed. So this is the root of the problem. The flight, EK001 was absolutely full. When I got to my seat, the middle seat was empty and the last seat was occupied by a disabled man. Not fully disabled, but he had to use some sort of crutches to walk. Ok fine, still no problem. Then came a lady who insisted that the man was sitting on her seat. The man said a steward directed him to this seat when he showed his air ticket. He took out the ticket stub and actually his seat was the one directly behind, which was occupied by a mother next to her child, and the aisle seat for their row was occupied by a man. The original seating position is such that the mother and her young (about 3-4 yr old?) daughter was sitting in the middle seat of my row and the middle seat of the row behind. Obviously they didn’t book online, and so they were in that predicament. The lady didn’t want to give up her seat, and the disabled man had to have a corner or aisle seat, so after some jumble jumble fumble whatever, I ended up at the back row in the middle. I suppose thats fine seeing the circumstances. The worrying part was that the men on both sides of me were coughing. And I was feeling a little sick and sleepy from my illness AND not being able to eat any meat for the past few days. And I couldn’t easily get up to go to the toilet in case I needed it. Well I hadn’t been eating much so I guess it was okay. And it was. I just needed to go to the toilet once, no “emergency calls” so everything was fine. Just that it was really boring flight. I think I managed to doze off for a while , just 2 hours at most. I just watched a couple of movies and played a couple of games then finally the plane landed and we all got off. And I’ll have to endure this journey again soon.
A dingy, run-down place. Well, for Terminal 3, at least. Customs check went smoothly without a hiccup. But my baggage trolley had a squeaky wheel, so I just dumped it aside and managed to locate another one upstairs. The Arrivals hall was really small and so there was nothing much to do. After all, I had a 30kg luggage with me , a laptop bag and a rucksack. Since the email briefing about the pick-up stated that I only had to be there at about 3 or 4pm I didn’t bother looking for the uni reps as I only expected them to be there later. I can’t remember the exact order, but what I did was first – buy a sim card from the vending machine. I didn’t notice the O2 sim pack and took Vodafone instead. grrr…O2 should get a better marketing team perhaps?.. paid 10 pounds and found out that it was just for the sim pack alone. Whoops. But i HAD to get it there and then because I had to call Anand who was coming over to meet me at the airport and chit chat. I was feeling hungry. But still not used to buying stuff by the pound. So I just got two bottles of mineral water at W.H. Smith which I needed badly, and also went back there to reload my sim card after finding out that it had no credit. Then I realised that I had not saved Anand’s UK number, it was online because I assumed that a place like Heathrow would have free wifi like Dubai. But I couldn’t get a signal. So I paid 1 pound for 6 minutes of internet. (or was it 10 minutes, I can’t remember). Wasted a few minutes getting used to the layout of the British keyboard. Got the phone number, then surfed facebook and sent out some emails for a while before my time ran out. Then I just hanged around .. after a while I noticed some UWE people and went up to “register myself”. Mina was already there with them. I just chatted for a while with the UWE reps. Then came Kaisa, from Finland. Still hanged around until finally Anand called me. He was having lunch with our friend Joaquim in the city, and rushed down as soon as possible. He arrived in Terminal 3 at the exact moment I was getting acquainted with Kaisa and Mina. So unfortunately I had to cut our interesting conversation short, and went for a drink with Anand. I didn’t want to risk eating, so I just got a cup of black coffee. We had a long catch up session lah, basically. And halfway through I went to the washroom and while washing hands burnt my hand when hot water came spewing out of the tap, something I didn’t know about. culture shock.
Then when it was nearly 5 we went back to the pickup area coz we thought it was nearly time. But the coach/bus hadn’t arrived, it was stuck in the jam. And Mina and Kaisa went out to get a drink together. We then met Rene, a German student. So anyway Anand was kind enough to hang around and continue waiting with me. Finally the pickup arrived and we left at like, 7.30-ish. Oh and before that I bought an egg sandwich for my dinner because I wasn’t sure where I could get dinner on a late friday night in Bristol, especially since it wasn’t term time yet and everything would probably be closed. It was a wise move, as we only arrived in UWE close to 10.30 and by the time I entered my house, showered and changed it was 11.30 ! … Rene and Kaisa are in the same house, just opposite mine. No. 15, while I’m in No.11. I unpacked halfway then went to sleep. It was only a short sleep of about 4 hours. Probably the effects of jet lag, and no duvet and no pillow and only a tropical weather sleeping bag. My house heating system was off for the summer. ==”
To be continued