I’d like to say I did lots of exciting things with my last few days, but most of it was taken up with various forms of transport!
So, in a short summary, this is what I got up to in my last few days in Europe:
- Shopping for shoes with Anita in Bruges, which was a roaring success – all the more surprising considering about three shops were open;
- Eating Belgian waffles and chocolate, and picking out a lovely box of chocolates for Matt that got smashed to a pulp in my suitcase (to be fair, we still ate them);
- With Anita’s expert guidance, successfully making our way back to Brussels on a train which we weren’t entirely sure was the right one (have you ever heard of a place called Genk? Because we sure hadn’t);
- Successfully pack-horsing it back on the Hammersmith and City line with our three bags;
- Speed shopping in Oxford Circus on Monday morning, because everything in the UK is a lot cheaper and easier to locate than Dubai (and they have Uniqlo!);
- A delicious last sandwich with Anita in Hammersmith before my airport cab came to collect me;
- Managing to get checked into my flight with lots of time to spare, and getting into one of the airport lounges in Heathrow;
- Having a row of four seats to myself on the plane, and even getting in a short nap;
- Finding my slightly overweight luggage actually made it through in one piece;
- Getting my passport stamped appropriately at the Dubai end for my visa, and locating a ladies taxi at 4am to take me home.
Unfortunately, the cold that I had in London seems to have gotten worse, and I managed to pass out on the metro after having a blood test on Wednesday – much fun. Luckily, the passing out was on the way home after completing some of the visa formalities, rather than on the way there. I’ve had a quiet few days as a result, and am bored out of my tree. I have an assignment to do, but thats not really helping with the boredom situation.
I loved London, and I’d go back in a second, but admittedly – I’ve never seen so many crazies in my life. I’m not sure whether I had a heightened awareness of them after the attack, whether I’m attracting them (!) or if it is just wandering around as a female on your own, but there were so many. Most were probably harmless, but the dude running around covered in blood on Carnaby Street was a particular treat. Sometimes they would just yell random things at you, which made me wonder if they were trying to distract me to pickpocket me, but it never happened. I guess everyone here in Dubai has a job – the ex pats, anyway – so you don’t tend to see crazy on the same scale. I’m sure any civil disobedience would see you sent home pretty darn quickly.
You know one thing I miss in Dubai? The evening news. Yes, at home it might be all doom and gloom – or sad little local interest stories – but at least you had an idea what was going on. Last time I read the news here, it announced that it was raining a lot in Dubai because there had been successful cloud seeding projects. I haven’t bothered to read it since then.
By popular request, here are photos of Basil the Alpaca and the aforementioned falcon cushion. We now also have a duvet cover, blanket and rug for the bedroom, all of which I managed to cram into a suitcase with my expert packing skills (which may or may not have involved me sitting on the suitcase while zipping it).