With frozen toes, ears about to fall off, and complete exhaustion from a two-day affair to get out of Afghanistan, I finally made it to Dubai. I got in touch with my boyfriend and he told me to be at the airport the next day, and that my plane would leave in the morning and he’d meet me at our destination. He told me nothing of the location (I had asked him to book it and not to tell me where we were going) and I took the evening to rest up, enjoy my big bathrobe, good food, and a huge bed.
That first day out of the warzone is always amazing. There’s no other feeling like getting clean, taking a big bath, sleeping in a poofy, king sized bed and eating food that tastes like it didn’t come from a buffet. You truly learn the value of appreciation for the finer things in life! The JW Marriott was typically the place I would land myself.
As you even walk into the hotel, the vastness of the lobby opens up and is gorgeous and inviting. They begin the pampering right from the very start. I learned that becoming a rewards member was a very valuable thing to do! Every time my room was upgraded and it was nice to be greeted by name each time I came back.
So I let the pampering begin and was ready for the flight the next morning. I checked in with the airline and I still had no idea where I was going. The first stop was in a place called Addis Ababa. I had no clue where this was, but I got on the plane and away we went. It was so much fun just wondering where the next step would lead me. It wasn’t until I landed and asked the person sitting next to me, “where are we, as in, what country are we in?” Her response, “Ethiopia”. I’m like, what the… I think I may kill my boyfriend. LOL. This wasn’t the type of vacation I was expecting. Thank goodness there was another stop lined up after this!! I got off the plane and I swear I went back in time. The airport was something you would see on TV. Smoking is still authorized in public spaces, so there was a bit of a haze throughout the airport.
People did travel with their livestock (aka chickens), and the 3-foot space rule that Americans are used to…well, no longer existed. I had more women’s boobs touching my back than I knew what to do with. Personal space was a thing of the past. It’s a really uncomfortable feeling when you are used to things exploding around you and people stand at a good distance. I may have had to back a few women and their boobs off of my back with my backpack. Oops, sorry. Lol. Backoff.. sheesh. It was one different type of experience. I made it to my gate and ended up sitting in the cloud of smoke, next to a random animal. When it was time to be boarded, the concept of assigned seating was a bit lost on the travelers. We all boarded and it was a free for all to get to a seat. Ok, by all means. I found my spot located closer to the back of the bus, and away we went. When I heard next stop Johannesburg, I can say I was starting to get exited…. Thank you little baby Jesus.
And the trip continues… 😉
Thanks for reading!
Travel Till You Drop