A Lost Day, a Night in Dubai and My Return to South Africa

flight screen Like many international flights, my return Durban flight wasn't scheduled to leave Boston until 10:30pm. I kind of hate the late departure, but it did afford me a chance to get packed and spend the final minutes of our sister time in a more leisurely fashion. We stopped for an early dinner at Legal Seafood (If it ain't fresh, it ain't legal!) before heading to the airport. As usual, Lin and I are not good farewell-ers. We ignore the subject the last days of our visit and then only when we arrive at the airport and I'm unloading luggage at the drop-off do we acknowledge that I'm really leaving … and then the tears begin. Mushy, I know … it's just how it is.

I was feeling a mix of anticipation and melancholy as I watched Lin drive away. I headed into the terminal,  manhandling my 100 pounds of duffels and 30 pounds of backpack and purse to the check-in counter. No trip is remarkable unless there's a bit of drama. There was no check-in counter for Emirates Air! Terminal E is the international terminal at Logan and I had arrived at Terminal E, yet I couldn't find an Emirates Airlines check-in counter. I walked up and down the terminal, then finally asked an Aer Lingus agent (the Irish are always friendly!). “Oh, you're at the wrong terminal. You've got to go back to Terminal C”, and she pointed across the airport. “Is there a shuttle?” I queried. “Quickest to walk”, she said as she gave me directions which I immediately forgot.

I hadn't worn a coat since I hadn't planned on straying far from the car until I got to the airport. It was a bit nippy out, windy and quite dark. The duffels were sitting precariously on the cart … one fell off as I headed out the terminal door. I hefted it back on, made my way to the lower level and proceeded to head across the airport to Terminal C. When you're driving, this isn't drama at all. You just loop around and you're back at the other terminals. When you're walking, it's more a challenge. I knew where I wanted to go; I just couldn't see Terminal C. After losing the darned duffel twice more, passing through a parking lot or two, crossing traffic lanes with my load and dropping the F bomb a couple of times, I managed to get to Terminal C. The queue for Emirates passengers was halfway down the terminal. I got in line … at least there was a check-in counter up ahead. I commiserated with other passengers and by 9pm, I had boarding passes and hotel vouchers. I headed to the Ladies' Room one last time before heading through Security.

As I was finishing up in the Ladies', I heard a woman ask for help. “My aunt has fallen and can't get up.” A large, elderly woman was lying on the floor in the handicapped stall with a slim, younger woman standing beside a wheelchair. Try as we could, we couldn't manage to get the hefty lady back into the wheelchair. Both ladies were frustrated and crying. I searched around nearby for a security guard or anyone who could help, but there was no one in sight. Back at the check-in counter, I asked one of the agents to get help for a woman who had collapsed in the restrooms. She panicked a bit, but finally made a call. I checked my watch. It was getting close to boarding time. I rushed back to the Ladies' and told the niece I'd called for help. I waited with them another 10 minutes … making small talk. The tears and fears abated as I saw two medics coming down the hall. I pointed them in the right direction and hightailed it through Security. I thankfully boarded the plane with no time to spare, got situated and hoped for a glass of wine as soon as possible. No such luck. Airplane paperwork discrepancies had us waiting at the gate for another 90 minutes before take-off. The flight was long and crowded. Folks were chatty, the 500 available movies were unappealing and I was sleepy. I fell asleep long enough to miss my dinner and beverage service.

dubai airport

About 13 hours later, we arrived in Dubai. My layover for my Durban flight was 15 hours, but Emirates was providing a hotel room for me. I had hoped to get a quick tour of the city via taxi, but it was too late for any exploring and I was tired. The queue for Immigration and Customs was long, followed by a long walk to another queue waiting for the hotel shuttle and yet another queue for hotel check-in. Emirate's Copthorne Hotel was beautiful and quite a surprise. I hadn't expected much, but it was lovely.

do not disturb in arabic

A comfy bed and hot shower was just what the doctor ordered. I slept fitfully, afraid of oversleeping and missing my flight, but I still felt rested in the morning. A buffet breakfast was included with my complimentary room and I lingered over a cup of tea before heading on the shuttle back to the airport. I thought I might get some pix on the way back to the airport, but fog blanketed the area and I saw nothing.

With lots of time to spare, I grabbed a cup of coffee and snagged an hour of free internet time to call David and check emails. As I write this, I'm still at the airport in Dubai. I've chatted with David and I'm about to board the flight for Durban. The agent says it's on time. Wish me luck and no more drama!