Saturday 14 May arrived far quicker than I had expected it to! I was a mixture of excited and happy and sad and emotional all at the same time.
I arrived at the airport around 10h30 and went straight to check-in so I could relieve myself of my heavy bag. The Etihad check-in guy was awesome! Not only did he greet me with a smile, he also had a great sense of humour. He asked me if I had anything of value in my bag and I replied with “only my GHD”. He laughed and replied with a “thought you would say your shoes” quip.
After a quick bite to eat and something to drink at Mugg & Bean, I proceeded through to passport control. Luckily it didn’t take too long to get through and soon I was waltzing through to my boarding gate which seemed to be on the other side of the airport. The first view of the plane was awesome as my excitement started to outshine my other emotions.
If you haven’t noticed already, or if you don’t get out much, South Africans love to queue. We do it without fussing or whining (most of the time). And it made me laugh when passengers on my flight started queuing to board when boarding hadn’t even begun yet. The Etihad crew were quick to tell them to sit down until boarding began. And once it did, everyone flew to queue even though there were only about 20 passengers.
Boarding was quick and painless. I hadn’t realised that the flight had come from Cape Town and so I was expecting to have a semi full flight considering the amount of passengers at the boarding gate. I found my seat and hoped against hope that there would be a little space available in the overhead storage compartment for one of my carry-ons. SCORE! There was just enough space for my little bag. I then took my window seat, taking my handbag with me as it contained the necessary items that would ensure I didn’t have to get up, climb over my “next door neighbour” and look for something in the storage compartment. Even though the flight had come from Cape Town, there were still a number of open seats. I was hoping I’d be lucky enough not to have a neighbour. But unluckily I discovered it was taken when a guy sat down beside me. To make matters worse, he sniffed and snorted every few minutes! I tried to distract myself with the copious magazines and crossword puzzles I had but they could only distract me so much. I would have used my iPod but I was told to put it away until after take-off (who knew?!). So I suffered with the snorting and sniffing for a good 30 minutes until my unspoken prayers were finally answered and he decided to move seats. WHOOP WHOOP! I now had 2 seats to myself which meant I could spread out, put my feet on the seat if I wished, use whichever tray table I felt like… Life was good!
And life got even better when I was handed a menu (A MENU!!!) informing me of what would be served/available.
And indeed life got even better still when I discovered the awesomeness of the in-flight entertainment. There were movies and TV programmes to watch, games to play, etc.
The touch screen was a little “iffy” at times but that didn’t stop me from watching THREE movies (I am number four, The Dilema and The Mechanic)! I had a 9 hour flight on my hands so I had to busy myself somehow. And since I didn’t want to sleep in case I messed with my sleeping clock, I decided the in-flight entertainment would have to do. And it did!
The rest of the flight was uneventful. Until I got my first look of Abu Dhabi. Granted I couldn’t see much other than the lights but that was quite a view in itself.
We touched down at 23h15 (Abu Dhabi time)! It was a breeze getting through passport control. And it was even easier to locate my pink bag as it was the first one on the conveyor belt when I walked through to collect it. I sauntered through to arrivals and ended up hunting my mom down as the flight had come in earlier than expected. It was then time to go outside so we could get to the car park. It was quite a change to be in a 38 degree humid heat when I had been freezing on the plane and in the airport because of the aircon. We eventually got to my mom’s apartment at around midnight and I did a quick unpack before passing out as I knew it’d be a busy Sunday ahead…
*Day 2′s adventure to come soon…
Hugs & Kisses