Day 2 … Saturday

So, today is Saturday and it is my second day here in Abu Dhabi, and is the second day of relaxation before the first orientation day tomorrow.

Breakfast – just as yesterday – and on my way back to the room, I noticed it again. I forgot to say yesterday that as you leave the lift and enter the corridor there is a distinct smell … honey. It’s lovely. I noticed it yesterday and couldn’t place the smell as it was completely out of context, but there it was again today.

Spent the morning by the pool – swimming and laying out – trying to finally work the knot out of my back from the flight. The swimming really helped.

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Tomorrow is Sunday, and is the first day of the working week here in the UAE – not too difficult to get used to really (after two days off!) once you get into the full swing of the place, but slightly stressed that I’ll wake up tomorrow, think ‘Oh, it’s Sunday, and promptly roll over and fall asleep again! Must remember to set alarm AND get up!

We got our itinerary for the next week in our welcome letter when we checked into the hotel and have been reminded via another note today that the session tomorrow starts promptly at 10am and we should arrive by 9.45am. The session is strictly for teachers only – no family. Still plenty of time for a buffet breakfast though. 😍

I think it will be a lot of form filling and paperwork checking mostly, preceded by a welcome speech and overview. I really cannot wait to get started – and I’ve been waiting for this moment since January.

I’ve got my copies of paperwork to hand in (probably best to take the whole folder to save me having to leg it back to the room should they ask for something else) and have even ironed a shirt.

So I’m ready … and for the rest of the day I’m now chilling.

… by the pool …

… in the cafe in the lobby …


… Zzzzzzz

 

Day 1 …

Marhaba!

So, after a fairly good sleep I woke pretty early and went down to check out the breakfast buffet around 6.30am. Every conceivable breakfast desire you might have (and some you’ve never thought you might need!) is catered for and is included, as the hotel provided by ADEC really look after you. The staff are super-friendly too!


I went for a swim and lay out in the shade for about an hour, dozing in the warm 37º breeze, returning to the pool at regular intervals to cool off again. My back is playing up a bit after the flight, so I returned to my room to chill and stretch it out.


Even the birds go swimming in this heat!

Around 12.30pm, I ventured out again as I didn’t want to spend the whole day in the room -as lovely as it is – and took a taxi to Yas Mall. The heat had risen to a balmy 49º. Air conditioning is welcomed.


The mall is huge – kinda like Westfield Stratford (for those of you who know London!) on steroids. I found and imbibed my first UAE Starbucks and found another of my all-time favourite American stores, Potterybarn. I resisted today but can’t promise that my new flat out here won’t have one or two lovely big lanterns or cushions from there!

I watched the roller coasters at Ferrari World for a little, but didn’t ride today (my back is threatening painful spasms at the moment and a 360º loop or a ride on the world’s fastest roller coaster – Formula Rossa, with a top speed of 239 km/h or 149 mph – might just put me in traction. Not a good look for my first day of orientation on Sunday.

I am back in the room and have set the air con to 21º, which is perfect when the heat outside is in the 40s.

I’ve had a message from a couple of the other teachers who I have connected with via one of the forums prior to leaving the UK and will try to meet up later to add friendly faces into the mix.

Day 1 hasn’t been too shabby at all, and I am looking forward to another relaxing day tomorrow where I will most likely stay around the hotel and get mentally ready for the orientation – there will be so much to take in over the next few days and weeks, that I’m glad I was one of the first to arrive from Group 1 this year.

I hope that my blog posts and comments in the forums can help other EMTs as they prepare for the trip out to the UAE and life here.

 

 

Inflight entertainment 


Well, here I am at 41,000 feet, somewhere over the Zagros Mountains … Yep, I hadn’t either … Look them up!


We are currently 1 hour and 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi (5 hours and 9 minutes into the flight!) and I’m writing this to pass the time. 

I’ve eaten a bag of Lilliputian crackers and had a lovely Bloody Mary to take the edge off, delicious meal (seriously, choose the Paprika Chicken!) and a snack was just served.



It’s 6.22pm in Abu Dhabi, according to the screen in front of me – 3.22pm in London – and I’ve taken a cool video animation of the journey from said screen, which I will add later. 

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I listened to Katy Perry’s Prism album for a couple of repeats – which helped me to sleep a bit, then watched Alligiant.

I’m looking forward to getting there now, stretching my legs and finding out where I’m staying. I had a message on Facebook from another teacher I had connected with through one of the ADEC forums. She was asking if I was leaving from Heathrow, so perhaps she’s on this flight and we might meet up when we get there. I must remember to look out for a little sign with my name on at Arrivals. 

Here ends the inflight program. Let the main event commence. 

So this is it! 

D-day has finally arrived. It’s 3 am and I’m wide awake. In about 6 and a half hours I will be on the plane, taxiing to the runway. Nervous? Excited? A little of both, in equal measures.

I’ve had a fantastic couple of days catching up with family and friends, and am fully packed and ready. Saying goodbye to family was emotional. 


Yesterday I travelled across London to the Hilton Heathrow T4, which is 6mins walking distance  from check in – this way I get an extra couple of hours sleep (who was I kidding!) and could take the stress out of an early morning trip to the airport. 

I spent the day relaxing in the swimming pool, steam room and sauna. I had a lovely light lunch and dinner was fabulous. The cocktails weren’t bad either. 

So … here’s to new adventures, and although it’s the end of a wait that was at times excruciating, to say the least, it is really just the beginning. I can’t wait!

Bring it.