Monday 8 February 2010
Dubai International Airport
I am experiencing a strange clenching in the pit of my stomach, and a slight but insistent nausea that comes and goes in waves, but I suspect that this has less to do with emotional upheaval than with the multiple bottles of imported Oyster Bay that my cousin and I glugged our way through last night while watching heavily edited BBC dramas on Arabic network television. This is our quality time. Knock it at your peril.
My feelings on leaving Dubai are mixed. The larger and nobler part of me rejoices at escaping from a country where my every noseblow is anticipated and prepared for by an effective underclass of waiters, porters, maids, and bathroom attendants. On the other hand, I am still experiencing feelings of persecuted indignation after having been forced to actually depress the pump of a soap dispenser using my own hand in the departure lounge bathroom, rather than have the usual sensors pick up on my presence and deposit a burst of pre-lathered suds into my waiting fist.
In other news, I am becoming more and more bothered by an as-yet unfounded conviction that the extremely large and smelly American from the queue for security may not only be booked onto my 19-hour flight, but will actually sitting next to me. I am watching the gate entrance hawkishly for any signs of his arrival. It’s pretty late in the day to be reporting to the gate, but he’s probably chowing down in the food hall on fatty, flatulence-inducing junk foodstuffs.
Less Sauvignon Blanc, more sleep.
0857 (but not really)
Tuesday 9 February
Fatty did not board my flight. Thank God. He’s probably in LA by now, continuing to be happily rotund. I feel a bit bad about the scale and cruelty of my paranoia, but all the same was grateful when a reticent and slender female deposited her small backside on the chair next to mine – which, I might add, was the most uncomfortable aeroplane chair ever made, ever, ever, ever. The steward I consulted on the matter was very sympathetic, and confided that he thought the chairs had been designed for ‘Chinese, Japanese, and other such small people’. This does not explain why there was a hole where the small of my back should have been and my feet were unable to touch the floor at any angle of reclining.
I am about to return to this throne of torture for a further 4 hours of masochism. We’ve been decanted into a transit area apparently designed with the primary aim of flogging brightly-coloured boomerangs. I’m off to do some sit-ups. Ow. Ow. Ow.
Tuesday 9 February
Auckland, youth hostel
My brain has gone a bit screwy through sleep deprivation, so the maths may be off, but I’m fairly certain I last slept around 30 hours ago. Am quite highly-functioning despite this. Apart from the twitchy leg. Have made friends with an Israeli who doesn’t seem to mind. But I have no idea where he is. Are we still friends?
More later on, but for now, two PLUSSES in Auckland’s favour.
1. They have public drinking fountains everywhere. This is a Good Thing.
2. When the ‘green man’ shows for pedestrians, he’s first of all animated (presumably to teach you how to tackle flat surfaces) and then he is replaced by a count-down ticker indicating exactly much time you have left to cross. All this about New Zealand being thirty years behind is clearly complete bollocks.
And a MINUS:
1. It’s full of tanned harem-panted gappers.
By the way, films watched were:
– 500 Days Of Summer (that bitch)
– Bedknobs And Broomsticks (“rub your knob, Paul”)
– Michael Jackson’s This Is It (first 20 minutes, feel cheated)
– Ice Age 3 (first 5 minutes, retch)
– Where The Wild Things Are (first 20 minutes: couldn’t get into it, and besides, I was on a roll what with all the channel hopping)
– Paranormal Activity (think it was meant to be very very scary but the contrast was a bit wonky on my console so I might have missed a bit)
– Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (enjoyable)
– Mary Poppins (suddenly realised that Julie Andrews has been typecast in childcare films)
– 2 episodes of Malcolm In The Middle (genius)
Eyes are still swirling.
It’s very hot here, by the way. And with this profound observation I retire to bed.