17 Sep, Tuesday
25° C

In Abu Dhabi

I FINALLY arrived in Abu Dhabi on Monday night after having most of my belongings packed up by Four Winds and waiting two hours at the Saudia cargo terminal to get my dog Nog-Nog checked in for the same Etihad flight I was taking.

There was much screaming and shouting at the cargo terminal since Saudi Arabian Airlines handles cargo for Etihad in Jeddah. No airway bill was stuck to Nognog’s carrier, but instead a kind Filipino wrote the number along with my name and mobile number on the plastic carrier just in case the paperwork got lost! Then I had to carry Nogy downstairs where they wanted to put him through this giant x-ray machine before he passed into the secure customs area. I balked at him being exposed to so much radiation, so the Saudi Customs officer agreed and asked me to take my dog out of his carrier and hold him up to him so he could check and make sure he wasn’t carrying any contraband.

Nogy was only too happy to be taken out and held by me, but as I triumphantly presented him to the officer, the sheer look of horror and disgust that appeared on his face upon seeing my darling pooch made me recoil slightly in anger. “Put him back, put him back,” said the officer, which I was only too glad to do in order to spare my dog the misery of having to look at such a man who obviously does not have the same love as I do for our canine friends.

The next frowny face I saw was at the Etihad check-in counter at Jeddah airport. I had changed my reservation at their office in town and they had issued me a new e-ticket voucher saying everything was confirmed and okay.

“There’s no booking for you,” said the check-in agent, with a matching look of disgust on his face as if I had just handed him a Nogy turd.

“But your reservations agent said it was confirmed,” I said. “I’m moving to Abu Dhabi and my dog is on this flight, so I have to go today.”

After a few more minutes of making faces at his computer screen, the agent finally produced a boarding pass for me. When I got on the plane, there were several empty seats, so I really don’t know why they had to make such a big drama about it all. They must like to see hapless passengers panic when they make their horrible facial expressions.
I’ve been sleeping on the floor of my new apartment on a mattress until my furniture comes. I went to Marina Mall yesterday to get a local mobile phone number and bought a few house furnishings at Ikea. I have to go back today to buy a fridge, coffeemaker and toaster.
Note to fellow Emirates Media Inc. colleagues who are coming here: Do note that the voltage here is 220V and that Facebook is currently blocked at work….and since I don’t have Internet at home I can’t answer your questions online.
Laura Koon has promised to get it unblocked….I will also ask them to allow access to Facebook. In the meantime email me any queries: rasheedaboualsamh@yahoo.com.