Archive for August 8th, 2004
Back in Dublin after pleasant flights, marred by mixups at Heathrow. It amused me to book the same seat on the Dubai legs, and it turned out to be the same plane too, so the return flight would have seemed a continuation of the outward leg, if not for different cabin crew. Getting from Terminal 4 to Terminal 1 means a bus, which is a little archaic, but manageable. However, I hadn’t flown out of Terminal 1 in years, and had forgotten how it is laid out. I had a boarding pass already, with a gate number (86), but when I arrived in the Terminal I found no signs pointing to it. Then I remembered that flights to Ireland from Heathrow are considered “Domestic”, and in a separate section of the Terminal, but could I find that either?
After asking for help – generally a last resort for me – I managed to find the right route. The “Domestic” gates are so far from the rest of Terminal One that you could almost consider them a separate Terminal: I will try to remember this arrangement, in the future, by calling it Terminal Half; after a half-mile slog, I made it with time to spare, but with a smelly shirt and gummed-up contact lenses clouding my vision in more ways than one. A nice coda: though I had been assigned a window seat, someone else took it, and gave me their aisle seat – always my preference.
My stay in Dubai has given me plenty of food for thought about the possibilities available to me. I’m not seriously considering moving there, not any time soon, it will take more research about the financial and other implications. Decent driving skills are an absolute must, something I would need to tackle first. While Dubai is tax-free, it’s not cost-free: the government gets its money from you in other ways, and there are fees on everything. Want to own a car, a house, a cat, or bring in your sister to look after the kids? It will cost you.
Just being an expatriate resident means you take biannual health checks, including a HIV test; anyone with HIV or another serious disease is considered a public health risk and has no rights of residence in the UAE. The UAE is a monarchy, after all, but one with more resident foreigners than locals, mostly those from the Indian subcontinent. (I saw the term “Keralite” used heavily in the “Marriage Proposal” classifieds today, and had to look it up: it refers to people from the Indian province of Kerala, on the south-west coast around Trivandrum.)