Winter Break in Abu Dhabi, Part One

Hello everyone! Welcome to the chronicles of my trip to Abu Dhabi.

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Last August, my parents and little brother moved to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I haven’t seen them in four months and I’ve missed them so much, so I’m happy to visit.

The last time I flew internationally was when I was 16. My family and I went back home to the Philippines after ten years in the States. It was a grueling flight. Have you ever flown across the Pacific Ocean? That thing is huge.

This time we flew over the Atlantic, something I have never done before. It was just me, my brother, and sister. We left on Christmas Day, which is one of the days I wish I could’ve just stayed home all day and ate cookies and opened presents but it is what it is.

Our first flight was to Dallas Fort Worth around noon so we got there around 10 a.m. However, our flight was delayed until 3 p.m. Fucking 3 p.m.! Originally, if we left St. Louis and arrived on time, we would have had three hours to kill in Dallas. But the delay put us back, like way back. It takes an hour and a half to get to Dallas so it would be 4:30 by the time we got there, but we had a flight boarding for Paris at 4:45. I was freaking out. It takes time to get off the plane, we had to find the terminal and gate for Paris (which so fortunately at the opposite side of the airport). So I exchanged our flights to one that was a little bit earlier, 2:45, to give us a little bit more time in between. And then that flight was delayed to 3:15. Fifteen minutes later then the original one we were supposed to be on! So we switched back to the 3 p.m. flight like ten minutes before that flight began boarding and got the hell out of St. Louis. When we landed in Dallas, we had to run to our next flight and made it just in the nick of time. We were on our way to Paris!

The flight took roughly around ten hours. American Airlines served us dinner, breakfast, and complimentary beer and wine so that’s what I did on my flight. For dinner, they served chicken with mashed potatoes, green beans and carrots. I could not sleep well to save my life. Trying to sleep sitting up is impossible for me. They had an entertainment system though, and I watched The Maze Runner and The Hundred-Foot Journey. I listened to country to fall asleep (which surprisingly worked!) and watched the random tv shows they offered on the flight. For breakfast, they offered a warmed muffin top, strawberry yogurt, granola, and dried berries. It was all delicious for airplane food.

We arrived in Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport, which lived up to it’s expectation of what an airport in Paris would look like. It had just been renovated. We weren’t there for very long though because we literally landed and had our final flight to Abu Dhabi boarding in ten minutes again. (Note to self, fly direct flights when going to new places.) Jet setting on no sleep and in unfamiliar territory is something I don’t recommend, especially when you only have ten minutes in between flights.

A nice lady that worked at the airport obviously knew our situation though because when we were looking for our departure gate, she came and asked us if we were going to Abu Dhabi. We said yes and she brought us to security and let us cut everyone so we could make our flight. She led us through the swanky, high-end mall looking terminal and led us to our gate as well to get new boarding passes. It was nice of her. For French being the language barrier, we were able to communicate and do what we needed to.

We used Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi’s own airline. Wow oh wow was it nice. The only discrepancy I had was with the food. It wasn’t that great. For economy, it was probably the nicest flight I had ever had. Their blankets were fluffier, the headphones they offered were legit, noise-canceling headphones, not earbuds, and the pillows they offered were the kind that you put around your neck, not one of those little rectangle ones. The flight attendants were picture perfect. Perfect makeup, skin, coiffed bun, young, attractive, and very very attentive. They used little tongs to hand out scented, warm towelettes before our first meal. There were three choices to choose from for dinner, with the consideration that some of the passengers have certain restrictions when it comes to food so it was turkey, lamb, or pasta. I opted for the turkey which was roasted turkey with a side of red cabbage and au gratins. It also came with a hot roll, crackers, cheese, pasta salad, and chocolate orange mousse. The entertainment system on this flight offered a wider range of movies, as well as other ethnic media from Asia. They also offered subtitles in Chinese and Arabic. Now UAE is an Arab country. Arabic is the main language but some speak English. The majority of the flight announcements were in Arabic aka I didn’t have the slightest clue what they were saying. It’s a very beautiful language to listen to though. It’s very rhythmic and poetic.

We arrived in Abu Dhabi after a 6-7 hour flight. After all the delays and barely missing our flights, we had made it! The only shitty thing was that my luggage was left behind in Paris. Apparently a conveyor belt broke so some luggages had to be left behind. Lucky me that one of those had to be mine. The baggage claim desk at the airport was very helpful though. They said they would bring my luggage to my parent’s address whenever it arrived, so that was really convenient.

As for jet lag, I haven’t had much yet. I arrived 10 p.m. here, which is like noon Central Time. Abu Dhabi is ten hours ahead of Missouri time. I don’t think I’ll have much of a problem with jet lag though because I am exhausted. I finally got to see my parents, brother, and their new place. I can see why they like it here because everything looks pretty modern, from the roadways to the buildings. I’m glad to be here but for as much as I like to travel, I always get homesick. I always long returning home and think about my kitty babies. But for now, I will enjoy my stay. Update you later! Thanks for reading.

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