Salzburg to Dubai Thursday 17 July

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We begin the journey home……boo hoo

The group met again for the last time with the exception of David from the North Shore who had an early plane. He is another chap who has retired – and on being asked what he planned to do when he returned home, he said “plan the next trip”and in between ‘do genealogy research”. Interesting! Hugs all round and we split.

Rex whom we met on our India trip is travelling with us. We caught a taxi to the airport and then a very rapid train to Vienna. The maximum speed we observed was 225 kph. We had already ridden though similar wonderful countryside and we wondered why we had put in such effort when the visual feast was available from the window of a fast train! Smooth, uneventful ride and Earl Grey tea available (our measure of civilisation – the Earl Grey index!) from a mobile trolley. My inability to decide what to pack and therefore packing everything, to cover all contingencies, has come home to roost as we manhandled the luggage at the station and airport. We had aspired to eat wiener schnitzel and apple strudel at the same meal and did so at an airport café. They did not disappoint.

On our way back to line up to check in, I spotted an apparently idle Emirates check-in desk designated for First Class passengers and somewhat cheekily approached and asked if we could check in there as the queue at the Economy class desk was long. They asked if we were first or business class which of course we were not and suggested we join the economy class queue which we did. As we neared the front of he queue I was asked for my passport, and were then all issued with Business Class boarding passes!!!!!! We were effusive in our gratitude and the chap I had talked to earlier said that because I had been so polite he had chosen us for an upgrade. Me, polite? I’ve never been credited with this before! We are still amused and enjoyed the VIP attention, the giveaways and the bliss of being able to stretch out. Pity it was only a 5 1/2 hour flight. Should we try similar tactics for the 13 + hour flight to Melbourne on Sunday?

It is HOT HOT HOT and humid. Fortunately the bus from the plane to the airport building, the taxi and the hotel rooms are air conditioned, and only briefly do we have to experience the wall of heat. Even the hotel swimming pool is hot.

We had little sleep on the plane despite being comfortable so snoozed a little after very welcome showers and had a snack. Don’t know when we will crash. We will venture out when we are next hungry – it seems every foray will be a major expedition. We can make tea in our room – hurray!

The trip in the airport bus from one side of the airport to the terminal took about half an hour which gives an indication of its size and there is a lot of construction activity going on. The terminal is ultra flash.

Everything in Dubai is the colour of sand, most of it newish looking. It is Ramadan so the streets were fairly empty – this may restrict our activities here – but who cares? All I want to do is sleep and stay cool!

We hear a Malaysian Airline passenger plane from Amsterdam bound for Kuala Lumpur has been shot down near the Ukraine / Russian border, attributed to Russian supported Ukrainian rebels. 1 NZer, lots of Dutch, some Australians on board – could have been us as we have travelled in the same vicinity and with Malaysian Airlines when we went to Viet Nam as they were the cheapest – they’ll be even cheaper now or non existent after this second incident in 6 months – the other plane is still missing.

Visited Ramadan Night Market in the swept up Trade Centre complex with thousands of local, all hungry because of Ramadan restrictions to eat only after sunset and before sunrise. We note the huge numbers of Filipinos and Indians and we saw more foreigners than Arabic families. We nibbled at freshly cooked samosas and momos and taxied back to base looking forward to a decent sleep.

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