Getting through to airside at Srinagar airport is a lengthy business. We realized that the security would be tight but that was an understatement. After having to firstly have our bags xrayed quite a way from the airport terminal and then again when we arrived at the terminal we had to fill in departure forms. They then practically turned all my bags inside out and we were frisked three times and had all our small wrapped items unwrapped. We checked in and luckily they checked our baggage through to Abu Dhabi but although it was a codeshare flight with Etihad from Delhi to Abu Dhabi they did not have the facility to issue us with a boarding card for the following flight. Luckily we enjoyed a very pleasant one hour flight to Delhi and were served us a beautifully presented tasty meal and drinks in the half hour before we started our descent.
We were told to just go to the transfer desk in Delhi and then go to the lounge which we wanted to do as we had about seven hours wait in Delhi.
Things didn’t go according to plan. The transfer desk sent us up to departures where Etihad were to give us a boarding card however the flight had not opened and the security man told us to wait for three hours before we could even get to the counter. We sat in the Costa coffee shop and then at the specified time went and found an Etihad person who did give us a boarding pass and we could finally get into the lounge where we stayed for three hours.

We had forgotten what the airport was like in Abu Dhabi and it was archaic with having to walk down the aircraft steps to buses and be transported to the terminal which had no travelators and huge queues for immigration. We managed to be processed in over an hour and found the bus to the city and then a taxi to our hotel. We got to bed about 3am after starting from Srinagar at 9am the previous day.

Our friend Tina who is working as a nanny for the Royal family in Abu Dhabi met us about 10.30am and we spent about three hours chatting at a cafe at a local mall before heading to the grand mosque which was a spectacular building with amazing
chandeliers and inlaid marble work. Tina and I had to put on Abayas with the rest of the women before we could enter the mosque. We all agreed that we actually preferred the grand mosque in Oman to the Abu Dhabi one.
We were all tired by the time we left the mosque at six o’clock as none of us had had not much sleep and Tina had flown in the previous day from Switzerland so we caught a taxi back to our hotel, collected our luggage, said our farewells and then caught a bus to Ibn Battuta in Dubai and then a taxi to Alan’s house. We had met Tina in Bali two years ago then caught up with her in Stroud in England last year and then in Abu Dhabi.

Mary the housekeeper let us in and Alan flew in again two days later. We spend our week in Dubai relaxing, walking to the
beach and having a swim. Since six months ago they have really made changes to encourages holiday makers to Dubai by installing showers, toilets and kiosks at the beach and an 8 kilometre rubberized jogging path which Indian workers sweep
every morning. There is ever more construction and a bridge being built so that the existing creek is extended through to
the gulf. We found a very good new Turkish restaurant called “baba iskender” and went with Alan, his daughter and fiancee to
a French Moroccan tapas restaurant with very tasty food. The only expediation we made was to the local coffee shop and supermarket and to the Mall of the Emirates a couple of times. The temperature was very mild (about 30degrees) when we arrived and slowly built up to 41degrees but it was a pleasant dry heat.

We noticed many more African workers this time and together with Indians and other foreign nationals they make up more than 90 percent of the population. The local Emiratees are in the minority. Since we were last there six months ago the UAE has brought in National Service and our friend Salim was in the process of doing his nine months in the army.
On the 2nd of May we took off for Rome to visit my aunt, have dinner with Maurice’s brother and his wife who arrived the same day for a European holiday and to leave most of our bags at our lovely B and B ready for our flight on Aer Lingus on the Monday for a week in Dublin for a 70th birthday party and family reunion with Maurice’s sister and husband and cousins and spouses flying in from England, Germany and the USA.

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