Monday 9th May 2022: UK to Dubai

Woke up at 3am to have my tablets in plenty of time before leaving for the coach station as they can sometimes make me feel a bit sick I wanted to make sure if that happened it passed before we started travelling.

I Showered and got dressed before Marysia woke up. As we had pretty much packed and sorted ourselves out the day before we didn’t have a lot left to do this morning other than make sure everything was switched off and locked up.

I was expecting my anxiety to kick in by now but fortunately I was surprisingly chilled out.

It took approximately 20 minutes to get to the coach station as there wasn’t a lot of traffic around that early in the morning. My initial wave of energy had passed quite quickly by this point and I was looking forward to getting on the coach to be able to nap a little bit before we got to the airport.

As there wasn’t a lot of traffic on our journey to the coach station in Swansea we waited for a while before catching the coach to the Heathrow. The coach journey didn’t actually feel as long as the five hours it was, this is probably due to the fact I slept some of it. Plus, we luckily didn’t get stuck in any traffic the whole way. We had bought meal deals each in Tesco the day before however my excitement for my gluten free sandwich soon subsided when I tasted it… it definitely wasn’t as nice as it looked. But it was progress actually finding a gluten free sandwich in the supermarket so I will take the small win.

Once we got to Heathrow we had a quick pit stop to use the toilets in the coach station before getting the lift down to the terminal. We got a bit confused as to where we were going but managed to find our way in the end. The walk from the coach station to the terminal felt quite long but I made use of the escalator walk ways to break up the walk!

Our check in process was really quick and easy – we also didn’t have to wait in the line for too long which was a bonus as the news made it seem that the whole airport side of things in the UK would be hectic. Fortunately for us this didn’t seem to be impacting the international flights. The guy printed out our boarding passes and checked our suitcases in then we were off to go through security.

I emptied my water bottle before hand, grabbed my electronics out of my backpack as well as the bag of liquids before joining the queue to get scanned and put our bags through the x-ray machine. Marysia beeped going through the walkway and my tray of electronics/ liquids got pulled to one side but it didn’t take too long for the extra checks to be completed and then we were through to duty free. 

After trying to find a Starbucks for Marysia and failing we got some mints, some sweets, a cold coffee, water and a fizzy drink from WHSmith – it cost a small fortune! I never understand why these things cost more in services, airports etc but it’s just one of those things you have to take on the chin as part of travelling anywhere.

Despite it being quite busy we found ourselves some seats to wait on until the gate for our flight was announced. As soon as the gate number was called it seemed as though everyone else was too! We decided to head to the toilets before walking down to our gate. The flow of people just seemed to sweep us up and keep us moving.

On the way to the gate the long corridors just kept on going but we eventually made it. We only had about an hour to wait once our boarding passes were checked before we could get on the plane. The time seemed to fly by and it wasn’t long until we were called for boarding.

It took a little while to get to our seats as everyone was trying to settle into their seats for the journey and put their things in the overhead lockers. We were sat right at the back so it was bit of a fight to get past everyone but we eventually managed to locate our seats and started to get ourselves sorted for the flight. We had our own overhead locker to put my backpack in and unfortunately Marysia’s wedding dress also had to go in there as this plane didn’t have any hanging space for it to be placed in. We managed to lay it on top of my backpack to try and protect it from getting too squashed.

I spent most of the first few hours watching the live map on the screen whilst half asleep before our lunch arrived. Due to the fact I had pre-ordered a gluten free meal mine came out a lot earlier than Marysia’s did. I was really surprised by the food as it was WAY nicer than what I remember plane food to be! I had some kind of marinated chicken breast, rice, green beans with salad and a gluten free roll. It also came with some fruit for dessert and a little cup of water. When the flight attendants came around with the food for everyone else I also had a glass of Pepsi.

After the food trays were cleared away, Marysia and I played some quiz games on the screen. Between the two of us we managed to get quite a few questions right! After we exhausted our brains doing quizzes Marysia settled down to watch a film and I started putting together the start of my South Africa blog posts. 

I could get used to this travelling malarkey!

This flight has taught me that people do not like to follow clear instructions and also do not have basic manners. I spent some of the flight with a woman basically sat on my shoulder. As well as people arguing with the flight attendants about changing seats. 

Tuesday 10th May 2022 – Travel Day Continued… Dubai to Cape Town

As we travelled through the night we weren’t due to land in Dubai until the early hours of the morning.

Once we landed in Dubai it took a while before we were able to get off of the plane and everyone was stood up for ages. We eventuallyAfter trying to find a Starbucks for Marysia and failing we got some mints, some sweets, a cold coffee, water and a fizzy drink Afrom WHSmith – it cost a small fortune! I never understand why these things cost more in services, airports etc but it’s just one of those things you have to take on the chin as part of travelling anywhere. managed to depart the plane where we were then faced with navigating Dubai airport – it is HUGE and a little overwhelming especially when you are half asleep.

After a quick toilet stop, emptying my water bottle (again) and finding the liquids that had fallen out of their little bag in my backpack it was time for security again. This time my bag didn’t beep but I did, so did Marysia – after a quick pat down we were given the all clear to go through to the connections area to find our gate. We found a shop to pick up another bottle of water for Marysia but struggled to find a water fountain to refill my water bottle. Using my water bottle had started to prove to be a little bit of a faff.

One automatic lift, one train, 2 escalators later we made it to our terminal and located our gate. After nearly being run over several times by the electric buggies wizzing around – Dubai airport is even busy in the middle of the night! We managed to find some seats to wait on until our gate opened. I couldn’t believe how busy it was even at this time of night.

After connecting to the Wi-Fi I decided to try and locate a water fountain which I did but felt A LOT longer to walk to than it looked on the airport map! It turned out the water fountain I had found was hot water not cold water – I decided to just use it rather than try and find another water fountain as I was really getting tired by this point – travelling takes it out of you!

It wasn’t too long before our wait was over and we could go through the gate for next the flight, from here we had a short wait before getting on the plane and then we were one of the first groups to board the plane. Which meant it was a little easier getting to our seats and getting ourselves sorted.

The plane wasn’t as full as it looked online which meant people moved around and swapped seats which worked in mine and Marysia’s favour as we ended up with a row to ourselves. There wasn’t any hanging room for her wedding dress again although the air hostess did a vey good job and deterring people away from putting their things in the same locker as ours. 

I had intended to watch some films through the flight but I ended up falling asleep pretty quickly after take off. I was woken up a few hours later by one of the air hostesses bringing me my gluten free meal (I learnt by this point the perks of having special requirements for food is that you get your meal before everyone else). I felt as though it hadn’t been long since we last ate and wasn’t expecting to have another meal but I quite enjoyed the steamed fish, beans and potatoes which was accompanied with a bread roll. I was also given some fruit for dessert.

Once the trays had been cleared away I settled down to go back to sleep and woke up with a couple of hours left to go in the flight. I was brought my breakfast which was a fried egg, a bread roll, and some fruit however I wasn’t very hungry as the previous meal was only a couple of hours before plus I had just taken my medication which was making me feel nauseous so I picked at my breakfast and had some orange juice before stretching my legs a little bit.

It wasn’t too long after breakfast that we were coming in to land in Cape Town, we circled over the sea a little bit before landing. Once we landed we had to wait for the plane to be pulled forward as the person communicating with the pilot thought the plane was smaller than it was.

It didn’t take too long for us to get off of the plane and through the passport control area, Marysia had to follow the route for South Africans where as I went through the international arrivals line. The queue I was in was a bit shorter however we ended up coming out at roughly the same time.

We collected our suitcases from the carousel before taking it in turns to freshen up in the bathroom a little bit before meeting Marysia’s parents who were waiting to collect us. It turns out our perception of time got a bit lost on the flight and we took a bit longer than we had thought and were the last ones to enter the arrivals area.

Marysia’s parents had some cream soda Steri Stumpies for us (it is a milkshake) it was really tasty! We had a short drive, much shorted than the last two flights at least, before arriving at their house in Bonnievale where we unpacked and had a shower to get rid of the feeling of travelling.

The day was finished off with catching up whilst having some drinks and a braai – it was so good to see Marysia so happy being back in South Africa with her parents.

I was so pleased that my anxiety decided to stay at bay and I could actually enjoy the journey!

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