The day has come. I had a flight around 3 pm and once again I convinced myself the morning flights are the best. When you fly in the afternoon, you have a half of day to think. Thinking of moving away is not good. Anyways, everything was packed and soon I was at the airport. The line for security check was the longest I’ve ever seen on Zagreb’s airport (I always forget we also have a touristic season) and the duty free area was reconstructed since my last flight. I was chatting with Jaime when I realized I have 10 minutes to buy Cedevita and I run to duty-free shop.

As I mentioned before, I was flying Qatar Airways for the first time. When I was doing my online check in (you can do it from 36 hours up to 90 minutes before the flight), I couldn’t choose the seat I wanted. For long haul flights I always choose an aisle seat so I can get up whenever I want and not when other 1 or 2 persons in my row are awake. So I chose aisle seat – it told me I need to choose another one. I did – and the same story again. So I pressed the random middle seat and of course it accepted it! The middle seat is the worst one. You need to share arm space with 2 persons and you still can’t get up when you want.

And there I was, sharing my arm space with 2 people for 7 hours to Doha. First, we landed to Budapest just to pick up more passengers and stayed on the ground for an hour. Luckily, Qatar doesn’t stop entertainment when landing or on  the ground (what most of the companies do) so I continued to watch a movie. They served us three meals – first one before Budapest: tortilla chicken wrap (which I couldn’t eat because it was too spicy!) with mango sponge cake; lunch one hour after departure from Budapest and snacks like chips or chocolate soon before landing. When they were serving lunch, I asked the stewardess for something that is not so spicy, but she answered everything is a bit spicy. A bit spicy means a bit spicy, not that people who usually don’t eat spicy food cannot eat it! So I chose chicken in tomato sauce with spicy rice, beans salad, and chocolate ganache cake. Also, I had my last glass of wine in a year probably.

2014-09-03-18.00.57 First days in Dubai – OMG it’s hot!

Qatar Airways Lunch

When I went out from the plane in Doha, the first thing crossed my mind was “No way it is this hot!!”. It was midnight with 33 degrees and probably 99% humidity!! 33 degrees, feels like 8164218910! Shit. If it is going to be like this, and this was at midnight, I am going to melt. I felt like I couldn’t breathe because all that humidity so I ran to the bus and looked forward to the cooled airport. One of the first things I saw in Doha Airport was a Ferrari. Ok, wow. Everything was super luxurious and people were fascinated by its look. I was very thirsty so I focused myself on finding something to drink more than checking out the cars around the airport. I found some little duty free and bought 0,75L Evian water (the only one they had -.-) for 1,60 € and went to find my gate. In the meantime, I went to the bathroom and I am pretty sure there was some gold on the wall. Or something goldish, but who knows.

I was thrilled to see Dubai from the air in the night, but it was already late and I fell asleep even before the takeoff. The flight to Dubai was only an hour long, but I woke up few times because of cold (they are really crazy with this A/C and I was wearing a sweater!) and of course I overslept the landing. Finally, I was here. It was 3 am Dubai time, but still, there were lots of people around. I headed straight to the immigration and waited for 20 – 25 minutes in line (once again, it was 3 am, I am curious how big the lines are during the day). Most of the people in the lines were Indian or Afro-Americans, I saw maybe few more Europeans around and I started to think that situation in the city is probably the same. All the immigration officers were Emirati, dressed in long white robes (dishasha) with a headscarf. You need to give them your passport with printed visa, they make you an eye scan, take a photo and stamp your passport and paper with visa. As I entered with employment visa, now I have less than 60 days to get my residency permit. Anyways, the officer was very nice and smiley so the whole process was pleasant and done in maybe 2 minutes. I went to pick up my luggage, changed 20€ to dirhams to have some cash just in case and went to the arrival hall to find a person who was supposed to pick me up.

He found me, helped me with luggage and we took a taxi to the place where I am staying. So hotel’s residency is 10 – 15 minutes ride from the hotel and we have a bus which picks us up and takes straight to the hotel right in front of the building. I am sharing an apartment with 5 more girls, 2 girls in each room. Unfortunately, we have only rooms, kitchen, 2 bathrooms and room with washing machine – no living room – so I barely see them at home. My roommate is a Filipina and she is currently on a vacation for the next month so I have the luxury of being alone in the room. When I entered the room, it was cold to death inside so I opened the balcony door immediately and I didn’t close them since then. We put the A/C down, now it is on “only” 25°C, but I still sleep covered with a duvet and another blanket on my neck – I am surprised I didn’t get sick because of it already. When you go out from the building, the temperature difference is just huge. During the day temperature is from 40 to 44°C and around 32 – 34°C during the night. The temperature itself is not the only problem, worst is the fact the air is very humid (even with only 44% humidity, you feel it like it is much more).

2014-09-05-13.31.05 First days in Dubai – OMG it’s hot!

Everything is covered with sand in Dubai

I didn’t really go out yet, it is just too hot during the day. Yesterday I went only to the supermarket to buy some things and I convinced myself once again everything is full of sand. Our balcony is yellowish because of it and up on a picture you can see a silver car, which now looks gold-ish. I didn’t really like the supermarket – I couldn’t find normal cheese or toilet paper, there were lots of people wandering around and the store was definitely not nicely ordered like at home. I’m still totally culture-shocked and I will need some time to adapt. I just hope the temperature will go down soon so I can spend more time out. Also, tomorrow I am starting to work so I am excited and looking forward to it. This is how my first days in Dubai looked like…

* read more about how I finished in Dubai *

Photo credits: 1, other photos taken by Maja

Written September 6, 2014

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