To go further east we headed to Doha in Qatar where we would change planes and go to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The trip should be easy enough except…
Bubba and I watched on the seatback monitor and realized that the phrase “as the crow flies” doesn’t apply to commercial aircraft. We were doing a little zigging and some zagging to avoid “conflict zones”.
We traveled east to Germany, turned south east down the coast of Italy, took a hard left to skate over Greece and the north part of Turkey, a hard right to go south and wander back and forth along the Iraq-Iran border to the gulf where we made a pretty hard right (west) to skim down the coast of Saudi Arabia to finally land in Doha. By this time, we were late for our connecting flight and had to spend a few hours at the airport. Bubba speaks.
This isn’t where we planned to be hanging out. Since we missed our flight, we were a little concerned about what to do next, but we were met at arrival by a kind lady with new tickets. Seems they kind of knew we weren’t going to make it on time and went ahead and rebooked us. To go from arrival to our new gate we had to go through a security line. We ended up on the other side with a lot of time and no cash. We had US dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros, and Dirham but no Riyals. We finally were called to boarding and Rick was in the last row and Spider in the second to last. After a delay, we started to taxi. A down side to traveling with a pilot is she notices things I try to ignore. As we taxied, she turned back and whispered, “I smell smoke. Something is burning.” Not something you want to hear on a plane. And, just as I was saying, “Nah, just your imagination”, the flight crew advised us we were going back to the terminal with a “technical issue”. I may have been tired before that, but I was wide awake now. We stopped a little short of the terminal and the flight attendants went to the emergency exits, took off the little party streamer things, and stood next to them. There were looks back and forth and some quick calls on the cabin phones. Eventually, they relaxed a bit and we turned around and headed back to the runway. The plane took off with everyone sniffing for the duration of the flight to Dubai. It sounded like a flight of bloodhounds, sniffing for, but not wanting to smell, smoke.
You may have noticed a lack of photographs in this narrative. That would be because I was hiding deep in a pocket and Rick and Spider had a tight grip on the armrests and were not letting go.
We arrived in Dubai around one AM somebodies time. I lost track and quit trying to change my watch several time zones ago. Although late at night, the city was lit up a Christmas tree and was quite enchanting. Like a refinery at night enchanting. Like the spaceship landing on Close Encounters enchanting. Lots of lights on lots of tall buildings.
Tomorrow, I need to pick up a few supplies. We have been on the road for 19 days so far, time to restock. I wonder if I’ll be able to find a little shopping mall around here.