From my travel journal: Sunday, 25 March, 1 am: Abu Dhabi

Against all expectations, I actually fell asleep on the plane, somewhere over Alice Springs (I’d been hoping to see Uluru/Ayer’s Rock, as the map originally showed us passing almost overhead, but we ended up veering further north, so it was lost in the haze).

I woke up as we crossed the coast and hit a wall of clouds and turbulence, then fell asleep again at about Sumatra and pretty much slept all the rest of the way (I do remember at one point opening my eyes somewhere over India and seeing the lights of a city below us).  Not ideal in terms of adjusting my body clock, but at least now (after a wash in the airport bathroom – that exorbitantly-priced toothpaste I bought at Sydney airport to replace the one I had confiscated was so worth the expense!) I’m feeling alive enough to face the 8 hours to London.

Abu Dhabi airport is a wonderful mix of the boringly normal and the exotic.  Physically it looks like every other airport in the world (though maybe a bit more bling in the duty-free shops and a preponderance of camel souvenirs), but a very different mix of nationalities than in your average Australasian airport.  Muslim women in every form of head covering from a scarf to a full-on face-covering burqa, and men too whose dress conveys their nationality – I’ve spotted everything from Pakistani to Bhutanese to (of course) the local long white robes and “teatowel” headdress.

For such a wealthy country, I don’t think much of their free internet kiosks – I had to try about half a dozen before I could get one to work (I only persisted that long because I saw other people using them, so I know at least some of them must work).

We should be boarding in half an hour or so, so time for one more lap of the duty free shops to stretch my legs before the next enforced immobility.

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