So we made it to the airport, and first thing inside was a baggage scan – all bags went through, and soon we were in the check-in area which was absolutely mobbed. Took probably 30 minutes to get to the front of the queue, and check-in was taking place from a list of names that had been printed out…and they were checking them off! Based on the list, we were the only ones with prepaid and pre-assigned seats, so we were in 1A and 1C again.
Upstairs, into the security check, and some how these folks I think managed to be more efficient, more aware, and shockingly more respectful than the average TSA agent. Go figure! Then we were dumped in a giant holding room from where four flights were boarding. One was a domestic flight, another was a flight to Delhi on Ariana, and a fourth was headed to Karachi. Sharjah here we come.
Watching the mayhem of boarding was amazing….as soon as a city name was announced on the loudspeaker, a mass of humanity would surge towards the door which led out to the busses to the planes. I don’t know if we looked official or something, but confused people kept walking up to us and waving their boarding passes in our faces as if we could explain to them what they should do. We got very good at pointing “go that way” or “sit down” in response.
Soon the Sharjah flight was called, and it was through the door out to the bus to our plane. It was already departure time, so it was clear we would be at least 30 minutes late. No announcements that we could understand were made, so who knows what was going on.
Once boarded, the entire plane was packed except for 4 seats…you got it, 1B, 1D, 1E, and 1F! We occupied 1A and 1F to have window views, and the flight attendants did keep the other four free. Best $15 each we ever spent! On another note – the flight crews looked absolutely terrified to leave the plane. They seemed to have a 30-40 minute turn around, and wouldn’t even duck their heads out of the plane, lol.
Soon we were off, and in flight. Amazing views of Kabul and the mountains from above, and purchased some sort of sandwich and a diet coke in order to ward off the hunger. Soon, we were in clouds and the views were gone – so I got out the laptop to watch some tv.
Now, this may not rank as the brightest thing I’ve ever done, but I was behind on my tv, so I fired up an episode of Desperate Housewives to catch up. 10 or 15 minutes go by, before I get that feeling on the back of my neck that something just isn’t right…and it isn’t.
All of row two has their heads craned to watch my screen, with people peeking between the seats, over the seats, and even a couple standing in the aisle. Now, the crowd on this flight is not exactly what I would call urban Afghans. It very much looked like people who had never set foot in Kabul before, much less on a plane. I can only imagine why they had looks of amazement on their faces not only at the laptop…but at the antics on Wysteria Lane.
When I noticed the audience I had attracted I was about to shut it down, before realising that several of them were smiling. I even got a thumbs up from one of them. Ah, the universal sign that Bree Van de Kamp is hot. LOL
Soon we were descending into Sharjah, and after a quick dart through passport control, we were at the taxi rank. We were attempting to head to Abu Dhabi (Emirate #3: Check) in order to get the one “out of the way” emirate done before continuing on our trip.
Found a driver with a spacious minivan, and soon we were off….well, for a mile or so. Our driver pulled into a gas station, and I’ve seen enough episodes of Amazing Race to know what was up: he was out of gas. Soon we were on our way, and about 90 minutes later we rolled into Abu Dhabi. Only one problem: he didn’t know the city, and had no clue where our hotel was. Thanks to Google Maps I was able to locate it on the iPhone, and managed to guide him in. What did we do before the internet?!
Spent a quiet evening wandering Abu Dhabi, since it was up early the next morning to head back to Dubai to catch the flight to Kish. One shot below of a fascinating billboard we saw in Abu Dhabi. Overall, Abu Dhabi struck us as much less modern, and much more run down than Dubai. There was still construction going on, but it just didn’t have the same modern look.
Next Up: Part VI. DXB-KIH-DXB on Kish Air and tour of Kish Island, Iran