If you have been following the Dubai Series you are probably thinking ‘this girl has been telling us how WONDERFUL and MARVELOUS Dubai was, so whats this ‘stranded’ business all about? And what’s with the quotation marks?
Pull up a chair, and let me catch you up.
Dubai Day 1.
Location – Dubai International Airport.
My group of jolly travelers stroll into the Arrivals waiting area from baggage reclaim with airport carts in one hand, and phones in the other ready to snap away. My reason? To capture the moment we meet our welcome entourage. Okay, I exaggerate. It was supposed to be just one person.
But Alas! He is a no show.
See, the arrangement was that my full National ID names were to be displayed on a placard at the waiting area where arriving guests are received. So what happened? Read on.
It has taken us a couple of rounds rereading each and every placard displayed by the various welcoming committees, but still, my name is nowhere to be seen. Actually, none of our names are anywhere to be seen.
You can imagine what was going through our minds at this point. Strange country, with strange people around, and to top it of, we entrusted a complete stranger with basically planning our life for a couple of days and then this………. Have we been played? No no no. Positive thinking, positive thinking.
It is now 6.30am (half an hour after being done with immigration) and we are still at this foreign airport.
We don’t know the location of the hotel we are booked in. Heck! We don’t know how to actually get out of the airport to the streets of Dubai. Well, the place is grand and foreign so our predicament is understandable, right?
How different would it have been if we had a hold of a couple of nduthis (motor cycles used for transport). I mean, nduthi guys always seem to know their routes, so we would have been outta here in a jiffy.
Since I still don’t want to believe we have been ‘stood up’, I make a few more rounds rereading the displayed placards just in case our guy ‘sneaked into the line’ after our previous rounds.
I look over and see the rest of my crew now seated and pretending to be busy on their phones. I say pretend because at this point we cannot make calls or text. We tried, but nothing went through. Network problem? Beats me.
We ‘intelligently’ had all agreed not to take the local sim cards that were being given for free (you just had to purchase the credit) at the duty free shop adjacent to the baggage reclaim area, where we had just exited. Only way to get back there is to fly into Dubai again. Oh..clever us!
But somehow one of our group members phone decides to behave and send out the pending WhatsApp messages to our travel agent, and the contact agency in Dubai.
We get a reply from the Dubai contact person. Explanations, explanations, but long story short, we are to wait 5 to 10 minutes for pick up. Sigh! I mean, on one hand you want to give a piece of your mind, but on the other you are relieved to get a response.
As we wait, we take videos lamenting about our predicament. Funny enough we are all laughing about it. Well, if anyone was watching us, they sure got free unscripted entertainment for the period we were at the airport.
But everything comes to end.
“Mulilala kweli?” (Did you sleep?) One of my travel buddies who was booked at a different zone in the plane with the rest of us breaks the silence.
“Ai, hizo viti zilikuwa zinaumiza” (Ai, those seats were uncomfortable), I respond.
“Sleep where? You try to sleep the seats wake you up” another responded.
“Maybe for the tail end. At the front zones it was better.”
Its 6.44am. By now, we are all seated around a pillar with our luggage. Yes, a pillar. Like the white and silver pillars in the picture below. Why? I can’t answer that. Maybe for the drama (lol…..jk).
We were calling it “the waiting bay of lost property” and we were ‘representing’ for the lost property in the house…hehe.
“Hakuna mtu anahema akikuja?” (There is no one arriving while panting) one of my friend’s asks. Basically this is in reference to our method of trying to fish out our pickup guy. I know, weird. But then again, we were at the airport long enough to come up with such ideas.
We recap our itinerary contents, and pick up time for airport transfer was actually indicated as 4.50am. Mind you that is the arrival time for our flight. Not counting the long bus ride from ‘here to timbuktu’, as well as immigration.
Anyway, we are still waiting for this 4.50am to reach.
7.00am. No communication thus far. Or maybe there was, and we just didn’t get it.
By this time, we have become impatient and we are basically calling anyone who just walks in and looks like they are looking for someone by the Dubai contact agency name, not really expecting to a positive answer. So when one guy answered ‘yes’, trust doubting Thomases to repeat the question before believing that ‘they’ finally came for us.
Long story short, we got to our hotel a few minutes to 8.00am, of course after being given the long version of what went wrong. Mechanical problem, our guy looking for the wrong people at the airport, and what have you.
My travel group was however too hyped up so we only gave the guys who came to pick us up (driver and Mr one guy) a hard time for a short while . After that it was back to our jolly selves.
And just like chicken that is marinating itself, we went our way to rest and prepare ourselves to be ‘conned’ in the afternoon…..What am I talking about? Catch all the details in another story time on HOW WE GOT ‘CONNED’ IN DUBAI.
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