Stop 32: Unexpected Stopover in Dubai

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“I’m gonna miss my flight…” I said to myself nervously as we sat at the gate. We were already 45 minutes behind schedule and I had 1 hour and 40 minutes to catch my connecting flight to the Philippines. Eventually we got on the plane and I had a seat with extra legroom, which suited me fine as the nerves in my leg were giving me issues because the overeager idiot who worked for the airport shuttle bus in Istanbul slammed the car door on my leg as I was getting in.

“C’mon, I need some luck…” I thought as we circled Dubai airport. It was 1:55 and my gate closed at 2:25. If it was a smooth landing we could be off in 10 minutes and I would have 20 minutes to run to my gate. Only this wasn’t the case; we landed at around 2:05, and drove to the gate seemingly for forever. The jet bridge (the walkway that connects the plane to the rest of the world. No, I didn’t know the technical name either…) was finally connected and we got off at 2:24. I asked the Italian stewardess (as with all Emirates girls she was tall, and drop dead gorgeous. Yeah I may have flirted by throwing a few Italian words out, and no it didn’t work…) about my connecting flight saying that I’d probably missed it, assuming I had to stay in the airport until the next flight was available and she said not to worry because Emirates would probably put me in a hotel.

“GREAT SUCCESS!” I screamed like Borat. If my sub-par flirting skills won’t work then fuck it I’ll resort to my Borat impression. And yes you are right, that didn’t happen… But I did thank her in Italian and when I got off the plane I headed towards a group of people holding placards up.

I got told that not only had I missed my flight, but there wasn’t another one for 24 hours, so they gave me a ticket to show immigration saying I was allowed to stay in the hotel for the night and was given another ticket saying I was entitled to a meal at the hotel.

I was thankful, but very concerned at the same time; My flight was at 2 in the morning. If check-out was 12:00 I’d be wandering around Dubai with my bags for a good 12 hours, and on top of that I wasn’t sure if this was just 1 meal I was entitled to. The UAE is very expensive, and this layover could end up costing me a small fortune.

The shuttle bus rocked up to the Copthorne hotel and there was a stunning African girl working behind the counter. I did my best Del Boy impression cocking my head back and forth like a chicken and adjusting my imaginary t-shirt cuffs as she dealt with some Indian guy who was giving her shit for no reason. When it was my turn she looked upset. This was probably not the best time to ask if she wanted to shack up with a self published author…

Friendliness was my friend here, so I walked up armed with a smile asking what the dealio was. The girl looked at my boarding pass and said that my check out time was 12 o clock. My heart sank, knowing it was going to be a long day tomorrow.

“…At night!” She continued. “And you are entitled to free breakfast, lunch and dinner.” She added as she underlined the times when the meals were.

“I like it here!” I beamed, and skipped off to my room.

The room was a beast! I’ve been in hostels for the past 3 months so calling this an upgrade would be a massive understatement. Fucking sofas in the room and everything!

I finally got to bed at 4:30 in the morning, as I had to mess around trying to contact people who may be worried that I didn’t announce I made it to The Philippines the next day. I also had to contact Lee saying I wouldn’t be there for another day, as I was supposed to be meeting him there. Emirates also let me have 2 hours of internet for free, which would normally be 50 Dirhams (About £12) which saved me a hell of a lot of moolah (Well…about £12).

The next day I thought it would be a good idea to utilise this to my advantage and spend the day exploring Dubai. This plan was quickly vetoed when I found out we were nowhere near anything. I thought I would explore anyway and as soon as I stepped out the hotel I was greeted with nothingness. Well, nothing except some tout trying to sell me a tour and talking over me every time I spoke. I thought “fuck this!” and stayed in the hotel. It was pretty much like a resort anyway! So I spent the day relaxing by the pool, eating until my heart was content and going on a movie marathon in my 5 star bed. OOooooh yeah!

I hoped that my flight was delayed for 5 more weeks, but of course that wasn’t the case, and they had to drag me out the hotel kicking and screaming like a cartoon character clinging onto the door frame.

I want to make a point and say thank you to Emirates. There were people there giving the staff abuse because they’d missed their flight. But the fact of the matter is Emirates didn’t have to put me in a hotel, let alone such a nice one like this. On top of that the food was superb with lots of variety and I felt very relaxed there. The staff were outstanding as well, so as someone who doesn’t expect anything for free I was very appreciative that Emirates were so accommodating towards me. So thank you for the unexpected gift, but now it’s time to go back to South East Asia and see what I’ve been missing since I left.

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