I’ve been stuck in Dubai. I arrived on Sunday and made fast friends with my seat mate who I’d met briefly on Christmas Eve and kept bumping in to again. She was colleagues with the guy who died from Atlanta in the Serena incident. We went and got haircuts and had sushi and she headed off to Australia for a vacation.
Bush was in town on Monday and messed up my plans. They declared a public holiday for his arrival and this meant that the Singaporean consulate was closed. The reason for my trip here was to get the Afghan faculty members visas issued from the Singapore consulate. It was poring down rain when I got here and hasn’t stopped since. It is the worst rains Dubai has seen in twenty years. 4.1 inches in January. This is in a place that is sunny and beautiful 99% of the time. Schools have been closed for the whole week. Yesterday it took me 7 hours to make it to the consulate and back. Mission accomplished.
This morning I tried to head out and was stymied by bad weather in Kabul. Canceled flights aren’t as easily handled as in other places in the world. Once the flight was canceled seven hours after its original departure time we still weren’t allowed to leave because we had officially left the UAE through customs. It took eleven hours at the airport to be released and get to go back to the hotel. After no food all day I enjoyed one of the best hamburgers of my life, with a fabulous side of guacamole. Yum! We already in bed when they came to see if I wanted turn down service. I wanted to say, “No thanks, it’s already nice and toasty,” but politely declined instead.
I finally did make it back to Kabul by the skin of my teeth. A major snow storm hit within ten minutes of landing and created zero visibility. Had we missed the window we would have been sent back to Dubai. Another airline actually sent folks all the way to Kabul, circled in the clouds and came back to Dubai (six hour flight).
After settling in the group in Singapore I’m scheduled to fly on to Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, back to Singapore, a night in Dubai and then Kabul. I’m scheduled now to return to Kabul on Feb 2 and fly out to Switzerland on the 7th. This means that if there is a delay in our outbound trip it may mean even less, or no time back in Kabul. Ensallah it will all work out.
Another lazy day in my neck of the woods. Hope you are all doing well.