Flying Away for a Dream!

4 June 2014 

flight - Johannesburg (South Africa) to Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)

Finally the day had arrived! My childhood dream of going to South America was being realised! These last couple of days had almost a surreal quality to them and just simply flew by. Checking in for my flight on the Etihad website yesterday should’ve probably let it sink in more but just served to make it seem even more like a dream, albeit one that I didn’t want to wake up from.
This morning I left home early at around 5am with Kobus (brother-in-law) and my dad for OR Tambo International Airport aka Johannesburg International. Uneventful drive with my mind was racing all over the place. 

We chatted our way through a few coffees after I’d dropped off my bags at the check-in desk. I was feeling more nervous (and excited) than prior to my departure in 2011 on the solo trip up West Africa. Admittedly this was a bit confusing for me as I’m not used to this total overwhelming nervous and excitement feeling, not at this level anyway.

Security checks and boarding the flight went very quick and the flight departed bang on time i.e. 09:30am. This was the first time I was flying with Etihad and I was loving it already! Nice little menu and 'real' cutlery (some airlines insist on plastic cutlery for classes below business) with a nice array of wines and drinks on offer. Having not got myself completely off the cold I had the last few days, I decided to stick to cold drinks and water with my meal, a very tasty Moroccan chicken and polenta.

Inside Abu Dhabi airport

Today was also my first time at Abu Dhabi airport in UAE. Must say, it’s got quite a cool buzz and it’s mushroom/hive shape does it justice with the air literally buzzing with people all around you. I’ve only encountered efficiency and friendliness so far which is really what I expected. A little bonus was learning that because my flight only departs the next morning, I get a dinner and breakfast voucher at any restaurant from Etihad - now that’s service. If I had €100, I’d have booked into the airport hotel - feeling quite knackered.

Having just finished my pizza (ham, huge mushrooms and cheese), fruit salad (only watermelon but delicious) and soda, am sitting here watching people while doing the day’s diary. It’s now

22:15 and gradually less people around, so will see later on what’s going on at Terminal 3 that was super crowded earlier. This is where my flight departs tomorrow morning and also where the sleep pods are - feel I need to spend a couple of hours in one of them.

5 June 2014 

(Overnight at Abu Dhabi airport then flight to Sao Paulo)

**Abu Dhabi

Leaving Terminal 1 around 11pm, I made my way to Terminal 3 where I had to put my things and myself of course, through the security check. On the way from Terminal 1 there was a perfume/fragrance exhibit with some of the biggest names in fashion and perfumery, some of the exhibits with price tags of c.US$86,000; not that there was anything cheaper than US$1,500!
The main shopping area was much smaller than Terminal 1 but then again Terminal 3 seemed more spread out with more gates.

Walking around I found the smoking area, even a tinier place than the Term 1 spot! Anyway, this was while I was looking for the area with the sleeping pods. The price was up from the $9 I saw on the airport website, it was now $13/hr. I decided I was not going to spend it and would find some chairs or somewhere to crash.

Early morning at Abu Dhabi airport

Going back to the shopping area, I went up to the food court and thought WTH! I'll spoil myself with some fast food for the last time in awhile. Burger King it was then, while there Ai started chatting with another SA guy. He keeps telling me I look familiar blah blah, turns out he probably does having been in Hermanus when I was there during various periods and also worked for Sunway, a southern African tour company. Chances are we met in Vic Falls, Livingstone or somewhere around there.

Down along where the gates were, became my "home" for the rest of the night. My head on the fleece covered daypack and stretched out, It didn't take me more than a few moments to fall asleep. The sleep was in 30-40min increments but that was fine. 
c.5:30am I was around the food court again looking for a breakfast on the food voucher I had. Like a bunch of other people up there too, we had to wait for 6am. Breakfast was another large pizza quarter and a Pepsi, if there were other options, nobody told us but it was good though.

The morning started with a gorgeous sunrise at the airport. Soon after there was a bit of waiting but then getting through to the waiting area of the gate I was boarding through was quick and painless. 

Next stop...BRAZIL!

**Disclaimer: I received no incentive or rewards from any company, business or entity mentioned in this blog post and all opinions are my own.


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