First impressions

Why is it that the airport transfer in a new country is always so memorable? Driving out on to the highway in Abu Dhabi (by the way we’ve been pronouncing it wrong, it’s “a” as in ‘cat’ Abu”) brought memories flooding back. Of Samoa in the middle of the night (where you could just make out the shape of sleeping bodies in the open fale’s) and before that of Buenos Aires, with the taxi driver weaving his way into gaps in traffic that didn’t even exist. The trip from Abu Dhabi airport was different again (cars so big they make an SUV on NZ roads look like a little Suzuki swift) but what all these trips have in common (apart from the fear of death in a car accident) is the slightly disconcerting feeling that comes from knowing that one day these strange and unfamiliar streets will soon feel like home.

On other impressions, the dust is like the haze in a nightclub that’s just been pumped with dry ice. Cars for sale on parking lots are covered in a blanket of yellow powder.

The taxi driver Imran Khan from Pakistan who has lived and worked in AD for 11years, and who has 4 children at home whom he sees for just 45 days each year. And he’s probably one of the lucky ones. Yes, the service industry in this country is something to behold, and I’ve only been here 24 hours. It’s hard to look at all these smiling faces that make up this “global village”, as Imran proudly called it, without thinking of all those children in far flung corners of the world with absent parents. On that note, a Book recommendation for you: “global woman”. I forget the author, will post later if you’re interested.

Kids are doing great, it’s fair to say I think they are impressed with the hotel, which has a pool that is the stuff of a fairy tale. The view isn’t too shabby either! The jet lag has knocked us all around a bit. At 5pm local time we all fell so fast asleep it was like a zombie land in here. Then at 5am we were all up again, ready for action. Hard to believe that through all of this Malcolm has worked, when we slept, he was out on business calls with the minister. And his first appointment this morning had him leaving the hotel to drive to Dubai at 5am.

I hope things slow for him but somehow I think that’s not likely…

Anyway, better go kids starving and the kitchen has FINALLY opened. More soon

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