It's like I've never been away, everything is just where I left it...
02.09.2015 - 03.09.2015 15 °C
Ever seen the Walking Dead? I mean, really seen them? I know where they come from: the transit lounges of International airports. Hundreds of glazed, vacant looks on the faces of shuffling figures with their wild hair and unkempt clothing (and what is that smell???) as they move in slow aimless circuits of the unnatural glare of the duty free shops. For a time, I joined them.
It was unavoidable. After 14 hours of travel through 2 major airports, by the time i reached Dubai, the heat, fatigue and airline food had started to take effect and a lethargy descended which became hard to shake. It is hard to make transit connections enjoyable after such a long flight, especially with the prospect of half as much travel time still ahead.
There is always something to find of interest in duty free. Electronic temples of delight with the latest products to rival the 2-week old i-Thing you purchased new last week. Clouds of invisible scent from the perfume counters - it's worth a walk through just to pick some up on your own clothes since you haven't washed properly in a while. Food and drink, by which I mainly mean whisky and chocolate, abound (it's like the Emerald City of Oz).
'What part of Dubai are you from?' I asked of the obviously Chinese girl at the duty free counter where I picked up some unnecessary boredom relief. She looked blank for a few seconds of translation time, then laughed as she got the joke, managing to convince me it was the first time she had ever heard it before. This was in contrast to the indifference bordering on hostility in the gaze of the bearded Lawrence in arab garb at the Dubai Tourist counter. I nodded and smiled as I passed him. He did not smile back.
Currency changes take a bit of getting used to. In a rare instance of forethought, I had packed some Middle Eastern currency picked up on previous travels, with a view to using it on diversions while passing through again. Some paper money, around DE35 (DE = dollar equivalents; see current exchange rates). From memory the currency this time was dirhams or similar, and I had 35 of the suckers. That should be good enough for some diversion, thinks I. And so it was, to the tune of a can of non-specific carbonated sugar water. Too stubborn to use an ATM, I suffered in silence. So much for diversion.
So arrival in Dublin was on time and pleasant. Till customs. The drunken Spanish gent without travel documents caused some diversion, delay and finger waving. Every customs interrogation through passport control was accompanied by incomprehension among non-English speaking passengers. Strange that a race like the Celts can master such a difficult language as Gaelic yet struggle with relatively simple Arabic. They pick up Australian fine, and by the time I got up front, my stint was no more than half a minute, and along the lines of:
Customs: How lang are ye heer fur?
Me: About thirty five days...? (I was trying calculate in my head, and kept coming up with a half...)
Customs: Izzit a holiday fur ye?
Me: Yes, well that and a wedding, you know how it is...
Customs: [STAMP] I do so.
Me: [EXIT STAGE LEFT]
Why could everyone else ahead of me not have done that?
Met at the airport exit by friends dressed in the green and canary yellow of Australian cricketing tops, which incidentally coincided with my flat cap of Donegal tweed, I was whisked away to a catch up all round, including whisky, a ham and cheese sandwich and bed.
Whisky count (to 03-Sep-2015):
1 x Teelings Irish (medium)
1 x Famous Grouse Scotch (small)