Arrival: Tunisia

It’s been almost 48 hours since I got on that plane bound to Tunisia. Everything has been a blur since then. Everything is moving so fast right now. Just yesterday I remembered being in the sky in the plane in a holding pattern because of a congestion at Dubai International.

The journey to Dubai took longer than expected. The morning fog, coupled with the morning congestion at the airport meant that it was overwhelmed with all the inbound planes. So we had to fly around dubai for an additional hour or so. But that’s not all, despite the delays, the pilot landed the plane and parked the plane near the cargo area. That meant that we had to get off the plane and onto the terminal using those busses that ferried passengers from the plane into the terminal wing. My first glimpse of Dubai was nothing short of foggy. It was surreal. I had little sleep in the plane and I was getting tired after the 7 hour journey. But seeing the foggy landscape was really surreal. I was like in limbo whilst enroute to Tunisia.

The additional delay didnt impact our next flight though. We had a 3 hour layover and we had the chance to explore a little bit of the famed Dubai International, and when I said explore a little bit, seriously the airport is just massive! I just love the airport for several reasons.

It’s huge and I cannot stop emphasizing the scope of the scale. Though we didn’t really explore everything which is practically impossible, the feeling of being in this huge facility is mind boggling. There were people everywhere and nothing but shops shops shops, restaurants, gates, shops, shops, shops and it goes on and on and on.

Speaking about the people, I have never seen such a diverse group of people at any one place at any one time in such huge numbers. When they said its Dubai International, really its international on a global scale. Due to its location on the world map, you see soo many kinds of people from all corners of the globe and the sheer scale of it is staggering. Asians, Africans, Europeans, Middle Easterns all in the airport, homegenously mixing in the crowd. I love the feeling. Being global, being on a stage with other people,connecting with other people from other parts of the world.

The second part of the journey, from Dubai to Tunis were plagued with delays as well. The morning fog despite being lifted later in the morning, didn’t really help Dubai international to clear a backlog of all the flights outbound to other regions. We had to wait for about 45 minutes to get an all clear to fly off. On top of that, they had to do some mandatory repairs on the plane that were of a safety concern. But nothing too dramatic, they just had to repair the lighting on one of the exit signs in the plane. So we had no choice but to sit in a stationary plane during the entire duration of the ordeal.

Another 6 hours went by. I couldnt sleep in the plane, but I did manage to get a snooze or two by dozing off. The food in Emirates was nothing short of amazing. Though we were not served ice-cream, which was a dissappointment, the deserts that were accompanied with the main meals were godsend. Cheesecakes and apple crumble were delicious!

Upon arrival, it took a while to collect our luggage, and by then our original arrival time of 12.50pm was pushed back due to all those delays. It got out and into the arrival hall at close to 3pm. The AIESEC welcoming party was patient enough to wait for us outside. We were greeted (and overwhelmed) by their boisterous welcome greetings. Close to a dozen of them were waiting for the 4 of us to arrive, and it took a while to first, get their names right, second, recognise them from facebook accounts and third remember their names. Here we are jetlagged and all, and there they came at us, with loud open, and warm greetings directed at us. It was overwhelming. I wasn’t prepared for that, they greeted us like we were best friends with them. But all was good. It was great to see them in high spirits. Just what we need after a long flight from home.

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