Amy Grizzaffi

Joined October 2016
  • Day2

    "...there lived a people..."

    October 23, 2016 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    So no joke, the first question I received after clearing Customs and meeting up with the pre-arranged taxi service was...

    "So why are you trrraveleeng alone? The others arrre trrraveleeng with theirrrr husbands and cheel-dreen."

    Luckily, my homework paid off and I was able to deflect the question about my children being in university and husband busy with work.

    We aren't in Kansas anymore Toto.

    Don't get me wrong. The gentleman was very pleasant when he asked, but (thank you internet research) I knew that even though the UAE is more progressive, it is still a very patriarchal society here. I was prepared and that certainly helped.

    Leaving the airport reminded me very much of flying into Orlando. Well kept highways and palm trees. Nice that they drive on the correct side of the road too.

    The temperature is a lovely 76 degrees with 48% humidity. Down right pleasant. Our host office arranged for us to stay at a 4 star hotel for the whopping price of $85 per night. Even though the dirham is tied to the dollar the cost of living here is actually quite reasonable. One USD equals three dirham.

    Oil money subsidizes many things here.

    I just passed the Grand Mosque and it is stunning at night, all lit up. It literally looks like something out of Scheherazade's 1001 Arabian nights. We were going too fast to get pictures, but I'll be visiting on Thursday so I'll get some then.

    Well, it's been a long day and morning comes early in he desert.
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  • Day2

    "...in a land far, far away..."

    October 23, 2016 in Qatar ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    Well, almost fifteen hours later I have arrived at my layover point - Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar. The plane's display indicates we have travelled 7753 miles at roughly 575 miles per hour.

    The plane ride here was uneventful (which, when you are 38,000 feet in the air, is a good thing). Dinner was actually a decent beef stew with Israeli couscous and veggies.

    I tried to sleep after dinner but it was fitful at best. I used to think I could sleep just about anywhere, but this sardine can that they call economy class leaves much to be desired for comfort. Luckily there were no screaming babies and because there was no one in the middle seat, I wasn't disturbed by someone needing to get out every ten minutes.

    Brunch was an omelet which was not too bad, but I really had no appetite and so only ate about three bites and then gave up to just finish my hot tea.

    Really looking forward to getting out of this tin can with wings and stretching my legs even if it's just for a little while before my next flight.

    The airport is very modern, well laid out and strangely quiet for an international airport. Have to say that with all the Indians, Pakistani and Middle eastern women around, I feel slightly under dressed. Oh well, there are enough westerners that my knee length skirt doesn't seem to garner too much attention.

    There are some very beautiful art pieces and then....well...it's a bear. Strange.

    Off again very shortly to Abu Dhabi.
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  • Day1

    "Once upon a time..."

    October 22, 2016 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C

    Isn't that how all good stories start?

    While there is nothing glamorous about Intercontinental Airport Houston, it is the start of this Arabian adventure. As this is my first trip to the Middle East, I won't let the fact that it's for business dampen my curiosity.

    I'm quickly fortifying with a snack and adult beverage prior to the flight, in the hope I'll be able to settle in and slip off to sleep quickly. So far there is no one sitting next to me, which means I can perhaps stretch out a bit since economy class is not known for its overly generous space.

    It will be a long first leg of the journey - about 15 hours to be exact - from Houston to Doha, Qatar. After a short 2 hour layover, I'll be back on a flight to travel another 1 hour to Abu Dhabi, UAE where it will be nearly 10 pm.

    I hit the ground running Monday morning and will have lost about half a day somewhere along the way.

    Where will this adventure take me? Who knows but I'm excited to see.
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