United Arab Emirates

“Can I ask you a question? I’m too dark to be a mixed race guy, right?”

Erm…. How do you reply to that?! After a very successful airport experience on take two, I was very relieved when I sat down on the plane. Of course, I wanted a window seat but booking it only the day before meant they’d all gone, so I settled for a happy little middle seat. Until one of the stewardesses came and asked the man next to me if he wanted to swap so someone could be closer to their family. He didn’t want to because he didn’t want a window seat,  but I said I’d be happy to and jumped at the chance!

Not the best idea I’ve ever had. Yes there was some good views, but my God was there some weird questions. The title of this post being one of them. At first I thought the two people next to me were traveling together. They were both blokes, about the same age, just seemed to make sense. Unlike the one of them who was “too dark to be a mixed race guy”. Who was unfortunately the one next to me. He didn’t make sense.

As the flight went on, I began to notice him doing some repetitive muscle flexing and that the guy I thought was his friend wasn’t talking to him very much. “Maybe he’s autistic”, I thought. Then the questions started and the comments started and that’s when I began to think there was something odd about this bloke. “Maybe he’s got learning difficulties”, was the thought that now crossed my mind, “Maybe the other guy isn’t his friend, but his carer. Nice of him to take him to Dubai. That’s some good caring, right there.”

When he went to the toilet, I had to find out what was going on.

“Are you guys travelling together?” I asked his friend/carer.

“No! He’s something else isn’t he? Well done you, you’re getting all the questions!”

“So he’s traveling alone?! That is worrying.”

When he returned, I had to find out more, “So are you staying in Dubai or transiting somewhere else?”

“Yeah, I’m getting a plane from Dubai to Somalia. See my family and that. Got no family in London. Gets very lonely, you know? I love London. London is my home you know? I love London.”

“You live in London on your own?” I asked.

“Yeah, 11 years. I moved here when I was 11.”

“Ah right.”

Somalia?! I don’t know a lot about Africa, never mind Somalia, but what I do know about Somalia is that there’s famine there. And pirates. “Maybe he’s a pirate,” was my next thought.

Towards the end of the flight, he asked me if I smoke weed and I decided then that maybe he was stoned. I told the air hostess as I left the plane and she said they’d all noticed him too. I wasn’t surprised.

If you’re reading this and thinking I’m being a bit harsh, then here’s some examples of what he said:

  • On opening a butter carton, “What’s this?”
  • On cheese, “Is this cheese? What do I do with it?”
  • To the stewardess whilst grabbing the bag she was holding: “What’s this?” Stewardess, “That’s full of rubbish, sir.”
  • “So are we going straight to Dubai or are we gonna stop at other countries to pick people up on the way?”
  • “What country are we in now?” constantly, throughout the flight.
  • On taking off, “Are we gonna go higher?”
  • “Is this your first time in Dubai?” x7
  • Taking a sip having taken a drink from the stewardess’ tray, “What the hell?!”. He then put it back on the tray.
  • On flyinginto Dubai, “I love Dubai man. I never want to leave.”

Think I had a valid point in thinking he was odd now? Thought so.

After escaping him and getting off the plane, I was in Dubai airport for 6 hours. That wasn’t too bad, there was a lot to do and see as far as airports go. I took some amazing pictures of Dubai as I took off to Singapore. The aerial view is fantastic. Definitely somewhere I’d be interested in going – and that’s just from visiting the airport!

I sat next to some normal French people on that flight, which was a nice relief after my Somalian pirate on the last flight.

I arrived in Singapore at about 9 last night. Got all my luggage, checked through immigration, then followed the signs towards “Train to the city”, which I assumed would be the MRT. Turned out the MRT ticket machine doesn’t take cards for payments of S$2.90, so I headed back up the stairs to find an ATM. Then across to the shop to get an idea of how much things cost and figure out how much I’d need to get out. Then back to the ATM. Then back down to the MRT. With 3 S$50 notes. Which the machine also doesn’t accept. Luckily, the information lady could give me some change for a 50, so I got myself a ticket and headed off.

My hostel is average. Considering it is only costing 5 pounds (no pound sign on this keyboard!) per night, it’s pretty good. I got a good nights sleep, a shower and some toast and set off for the day.

I won’t expose much of Singapore just yet – I’ll save it for when I’ve been here a bit longer and have more to say – but so far I’m very impressed with it all…apart from the rain!

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Categories: Singapore, South East Asia, United Arab Emirates | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

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