97 – When you’re happy and you know it clap your hands

3rd Mar, Nice hotel, Dubai, UAE
In the morning, i packed and took the airport transfer that Milimani Backpackers arranged for me (1200 KSH). It’s around 12km to the airport, and i had my own car and driver dropping me there. Paid my tab (my internet tab was free since i fixed their router, haha).

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is a pretty nice place. I checked in, got stopped at the security baggage check when they asked me to open up and declare my bangles. I was still wondering why they were so particular about my souvenir bangles when i heard ‘ivory’. The Chinese tourist ahead of me had his suitcase full of plastic bags of food. He had bags of biscuits which the security guy asked him to open. Inside, wrapped in foil, are chunks of ivory. Wow, what a way to smuggle through the airport customs.

Inside the waiting area after i checked in now. I was trying to prevent the need from changing any more kenyan shillings, so i was keeping to a budget over the last couple days. So now i was pretty famished after eating my spaghetti. On the plane, i ordered Beef Salami Combo (22 AED). The flight was 4 hours and UAE is one hour ahead of Kenya. AirArabia is a ‘no-frills’ airline that now flies to 30 countries. I think they are pretty impressive in being able to cover so many places since they started out in 2003. As of now, they cover the GCC, India, bits of Africa, a substantial number of European cities and even central Asia. They are based in Sharjah, and Casablanca (for their European destinations). And heading into the UAE from Singapore is pretty straightforward. There are many transport  links within the UAE for transfers between Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

I reached Sharjah airport at around 8pm local time. I’m probably very lucky. There is a bus new service that just started yesterday (Route 111, 2nd March) from Sharjah Airport to Al Rashidiya Metro Station. It passes by Al Quasis Sonapur station. The fixed price for all journeys? 10 AED. And it is oh so convenient. 50m from where you exit the Arrival area. http://www.khaleejtimes.com/darticlen.asp?xfile=data/theuae/2010/March/theuae_March4.xml&section=theuae

At the Rashidiya metro, i gave a call to a friend Fabian who offered to put me up at his place. (Fabe if you’re reading this, thanks buddy!) This meant saving a bomb on Dubai hotels. He picked me up from the station, and it was basically smooth sailing from there. We went out for dinner at an Indian restaurant, beef pepper masala, yum. It was a completely different scenario from the last couple weeks. Nice hotel, airconditioning, facilities, no mosquitoes and a very relaxed atmosphere.

Here’s a shot of my towel after 3.5 months, and the hotel towel. Both are clean, and whitish.

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