22 February, 2009

Souk's & delays, but I'm home!

Apologies for the long post...

After a day of meetings, and inspections of sites across Doha, I returned to my hotel (Royal Qatar Hotel) for a 'freshen up' before leaving later that evening (early following morning actually...)! Here is a couple more 'sights' of Doha:


Coliseum Construction Rear


Doha's Funny Buildings

So, after a shower and ensuring that the bag is packed for the return flights, I decided to head down to both the Gold Souk & General Souk which were nearby. The Gold souk, market, had a lot of stuff, cheap, but too much to look at. I had mentally picked a few items to bring home, but wanted to visit the General Souk first. I am glad I did:


Souk Storefronts


Souk Cafe


Souk Donkey Rides

I then gathered my purchases, repacked, went to the restaurant for a bite to eat, another shower and watched a bit of local TV. What was funny was, there was either a Pakistani or Indian version of Judge Judy! It was so funny, couldn't understand a word of it, but just the mannerisms and the vocal tones just did my head in!

I then had a call from reception to say that my car was ready to take me to the airport...


Royal Qatar Hotel

When I arrived, the check-in for Emirates was still to open, so I perched on a 'seat' and waited... Check-in finally opened and my bag was on its way home. With nothing else to do, I went through Immigration and entered the Doha Duty Free area:


Doha Int Duty Free

After a small walk around looking for any bargains, I found my way to my departure gate (12.45am) and waited, tried to get a nap to no avail...). It was soon time for boarding and the departure area was filling up. All of a sudden, an announcement was made that there was going to be a delay. New departure time was now 6.45am! Now, a quick estimate of times showed me that we would make Dubai at a local time of 8.45am, leaving one hour to transit, short but do-able. 6.45am came and went and many people (including myself) were at the gate agent wanting updates and information about departure times and connections. Depending on WHO you talked to, you got a different answer. And even the same guy was giving different answers to the same people (he could not even remember the same lie he had already told!). Eventually, at 8.45am, we were called for boarding and to board the bus to the remote stand that our plane was at. From memory, I was now some 32 hours without sleep, and the bus took 30 minutes to get to the stand! We boarded, and departed quickly indeed. A very quick meal service was had and we were soon on approach into Dubai.

Upon arrival, guess what, another remote stand followed by another 20 minute bus ride to the transfer station. We were all taken into a transit hall and told to take a seat and all information would be relayed as to what process would follow. Refreshments (bottled water, Chocolate Muffins and Orange Juice were on the table. I finally got processed, and instead of returning via Bangkok, it would now be the direct flight, again on the new A380. A hotel (including ALL meals) had been arranged, and we were transferred. Shower, lunch and a much needed rest was in order. I slept through an alarm I had set for the Dubai evening bus tour!

After a GREAT nights sleep, it was time to meet my friends (from Doha delays) in the hotels lobby for the bus to the airport.


Dubai Int Arrivals

This is SUCH a grand entrance (typical Emirates style...). Check-in was effortless even though I had been told I already had a bag checked. I reminded him of my days events prior, and he said it was all good and I could go. My new found friends though were not having quite as much luck, as Emirates had not processed the booking rebook as thought. After a couple of eye-rolls from the check-in agent, a request for the Supervisor (and me mentioning that they look at the PNR they might just see a case history of the problems) all was now sorted and it was time to venture through to Immigration.


Dubai Check-in Hall

I did my Duty Free shopping, and went to my departure gate 230, (YES, that's two hundred and thirty!). This is SUCH an amazing new terminal:


Gate 230 Glass Roof

The new A380 has some really special features, like the tail camera and the flight information system:


A6-EDB Screen (DXB)


DXB-SYD In-flight

And is there anything better than arriving back home, to your own city, especially when this is your arrival view:


Sydney Arrival

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