Friday morning a bit before the schedule of 5:45am local time my wife and two boys touched down in Dubai. From Melbourne that was 16 hours of mayhem my wife does not want to repeat alone.
I booked a driver to pick me up on the way to Terminal 3 Arrivals. The coordinator was adamant I should be picked up at touch down time, then drive the 15 minutes to the airport from my place and still have plenty of time to spare. But I couldn’t do it. I made it 5:30am, and even then I felt a bit jumpy if they were already there. In fact, the night before I had a very disjointed sleep with similar scenarios playing in my head. At times I woke up probably ever 20 – 30 minutes just to check my alarm.
When I arrived, it was around 5:40am and the board said the plane had just touched down. As Elle would have her hands well and truly full I booked the Marhaba service, which provides a meet and greet service. Apparently the extra flowers thrown in were well-received. It’s a good idea to book this when coming to Dubai to avoid practically any queues. The porterage service is very convenient also for someone weighed down with rugrats.
It felt like an eternity waiting at the Meeting Point for arrivals. I had a relatively clear view of everyone coming, and was in a constant state of readiness for when I spotted them. Each time I saw the shape of a young boy in the distance I would get my hopes up that it was Myles and co., but when they got close enough for me to see it wasn’t them, I’d swear under my breath. All the while, I’m expecting the absolute worst, that the Marhaba people never met them and they’re walking around totally lost and helpless. Almost 40 minutes later, I spotted them. Myles was holding the hand of a young Filipina Marhaba lady. Although he was 70- 80 metres from where I was standing, it was already clear he was talking her ear off. Elle was following with Lewis in a pram. It was quite emotional finally seeing them after five weeks away from them. Thankfully I had my sunglasses.
As they got to the door from Arrivals Myles finally broke sentence with the lady to look out and see me waving frantically. He looked so cool. He had new jeans & shoes, dress shirt (he still avoids wearing anything else), jacket and there was also a kids Emirates backpack they gave (full of toys) diagonally across his chest. He ran up to the glass barrier where I was standing on the other side where we did a brief high five through the glass. Then we walked out to the opening where I got a huge hug from him, once he saw it was alright from the Marhaba lady for him to run off. Elle had a huge smile, which you could tell was 90% relief. And Lewis was looking very curious. And HUGE! My goodness!
I called the driver to swing back around and pick us up which gave Elle enough time to down a rapid fire handful of cigarettes to calm the nerves. I gave the driver a MYLES sign to hold-up, but there were so many cars parked in the pickup area we did the dodgy and just jumped into the car when security weren’t watching. We’d probably still be there if we waited for a car to leave. That situation would never happen in Brisbane. There they make you feel guilty if you take more than a minute to drop someone off. But here I think the cars had been sitting there for hours, the engines weren’t even running. Our driver Zafir displayed the MYLES sign nonetheless, but the effect wasn’t the same.
We got back to the apartment and Myles was immediately curious about the place, and asking where his room was. I pointed out he was staying in the kitchen. He’d usually know I was joking, but in this strange new environment he watched me closely to see if I was being serious. I gave him a clue, that there was a present on his bed, which made him go through each room. He was eventually wrapped to see his room, already with a few of his items that I had packed with me. He was quite impressed with the Emirates Airline Boeing 777 I bought for him. However, he proudly countered it with a complete QANTAS airport set they picked up in MEL. No loyalty at all.
It was probably about 10 minutes later that my nice clean and relatively bare apartment was converted into a very busy and messy, free for all. There were toys EVERYWHERE. And it was absolutely wonderful.
After at least we moved the suitcases into the rooms they belong to, I got Elle and Myles to lie down and catchup on some much needed rest. Lewis on the other hand was not interested in sleeping at all. This was fabulous Daddy and baby time that I had missed so sorely. He’s the same baby, just bigger, stronger and much more intense. He used to love flapping around, but this has been taken to a whole new level. I think he was actually tired as well, but he was so keen to showoff his new tricks. I put him down on a rug to roll around while I started organising a few things around the place. Each time he spotted me walking past where he was, the legs would kick furiously, and the arms would flap up and down with no sense of personal safety. It reminds me of footage I’ve seen of a turtle when they’re caught and lifted out of water. Although Lewis always has a huge grin, which now has two bottom teeth! He’s also on the verge of another accomplishment with him at six months very close to crawling.
Although it was their first day, Myles and I still went for a walk over to City Centre where I had to pick up some final things – including the cot which arrived for pickup. We also walked to the local shop. Myles had asked about sand as soon as he got here, and where I’m staying in Deira it’s quite built-up so you don’t see much. Occasionally though we would pass a little plot where it was clear there was a sand base instead of grass or dirt. To this Myles would screech SAND! with an excited and hysterical sort of look.
The night was interestingly topped off with a minor emergency when I bought Indian takeout. Myles was not too excited with the Rogan Josh, Tikka, Biryani or rice, so he proceeded to make a “pizza” from putting some of the salad onto a Naan. We were just happy he was eating something on top of the snacks he had in the afternoon. However, one thing we didn’t notice was the “green bean” he put on was actually a chilli. As soon as he took a bite I knew what it was from his reaction. I bit a piece also to check it, and it was ___ing HOT! Immediately I got him to wash out his mouth with the OJ he had. Then we went into the kitchen where we each skulled as much milk as we could stomach (almost 2 litres). It was kind of a relief. However, still not enough so I smashed up some ice in a little bag and he just chewed on that until it got back to normal. Elle and I felt absolutely terrible, but the chilli looked so much like a bean, even after we knew what it was. He got an advance on his ice cream, with extra, which helped even more. But we’ve learned our lesson.