Dubai to Kabul… quite an adventure.

As I write this it’s 0700 local time and  I can hear my neighbor in the next room waking up.  I’ll spare you the details, at least in this post, but the walls are thin here at the ‘Ville. (note to self: buy earplugs)

Thought I’d share the second day of the trip with you.  As previously mentioned, Dubai (what little I was exposed to) was quite opulent.

Sahar and I made our way from the hotel back to the airport with all of our luggage in tow.

She bought her bag at the PX; it's almost as big as she is.

I learned (to my dismay) we’d be flying out of the ‘third world’ terminal and the Starbucks I’d hoped to visit was in the terminal we’d flown into the night before.  Not whining, mind you, simply explaining the lack of corporate endorsement in coming photos.

Mind you, this was the subdued terminal. Everything glittered and it was the cleanest airport I've ever been in.

In addition to being clean, it was calm.  There was no PA system screaming at people.  There were no final final final seriously, really, this is the FINAL boarding call announcements. In fact, I didn’t hear a single announcement  on either visit to the Dubai airport.  There were monitors everywhere, though, and a scrolling message said “We eliminate announcements to enhance your airport experience; please review the screens for flight information.”

The absence of a PA system added a noticeable level of serenity to the travel experience.

There was a lot of shopping, though.  Gold, cars, designer clothes and more alcohol than I’ve ever seen in one place.

Not sure if the photo does it justice... check out the video!

Lets see if the video messes with your vertigo like it does mine.  I’ll work on my steady-cam-hand but thought you’d get a better feel for the stores.  VIDEO WAS A NO GO.  I’ll look into that.

One of the things that amused me was the yellow and black stick people type caution signs they used throughout the airport.  Some included English and Arabic, some only included Arabic and pictures.

This was to dissuade those who might otherwise sprint across the polished marble, I suppose.

This one caught my attention because with the exception of a blonde toddler in the customs line the night I arrived, I didn’t hear ANY kids at the airport. I saw them, everywhere.  They talked and engaged with their families but there was no screaming, no fits… It had a bit of a Stepford feel, now that I think about it.

Wonder what the sign ACTUALLY says…

It was posted on the moving sidewalk.  Which, IMHO (in my honest opinion, Piper) was itself worthy of a photo.

The kicker? The palm trees were SO life like I had to get an up close look. Yup; they're fake and I looked like a complete fruit bat touching them, I'm sure.

For the record, the neighbor’s morning routine lasted 27 minutes. (urgh!) I hope I NEVER have to make eye contact with him.

Before I forget, did any of you get the memo about the whole Swatch watch comeback?  Meh… I missed it.  Dubai, however, did not.

Dozens of watches lead to HUNDREDS of options (as I'm sure you remember.)


This row required a close up.

This advertisement screamed “Duartes have a reason to come to the Middle East” but I’m sure that’s not going to happen so Gabe, enjoy the picture.



Once we finally stopped walking in circles like tourists (I needed post cards and a magnet for Gram) we boarded a bus. It was so crowded some people were lined up as though they’d been screamed at by drill instructors. (something about bellybuttons) and in a quick minuted we were disembarking to board the Kam Air flight (yes, Kam, I grabbed you a souvenir)  and head to Kabul.  It wasn’t the biggest plane I’d ever flown on.


All I could think (as I rubbed my seabands) was, "this thing has turbulence written all over it.

No one else seemed wary, though, so I lined up and boarded with everyone else.  Funny, an American (man or woman) stands out on a flight like this.


It's not like I had a choice at this point. "please don't be bumpy, please don't be bumpy"

The service was great;  a full meal on a three hour flight and two rounds of beverages is something you don’t see on a domestic flight anymore.  I could neither pronounce nor identify the ‘chicken’ so I skipped the actual meal but the salad was good and the mango nectar was awesome… despite the turbulence.

The rest of the images are actually videos and they won’t work right now so… oh. I didn’t take any photos at the Kabul airport because the angry man with the funny hat and a weapon asked me not to.  Funny what you understand if it’s in a foreign language and delivered with increasingly concentric volume and spastic hand gestures.

This guy didn’t mind having his photo taken, though.  I posed with him at the Dubai airport as we waited in line for our passports to be verified. For the fifth time.

He looks annoyed but he actually paused to straighten out his keffiyeh before he agreed to the photo.

And that, my friends, brings you up to date on my trip TO Afghanistan.  Happy New Year!


3 thoughts on “Dubai to Kabul… quite an adventure.

  • November 18, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Went through there when I took my RnR to Australia when I was in Iraq in ’08. I wish I’d taken more photos then. You described pretty well the way I remember it. Though it was busier in ’08, there was a whole group of Indonesian women going home after having worked as house keepers and I don’t know what all for Kuwaiti’s. They flew out of KC with us and it was interesting watching the ‘cattle drive” the Kuwaitis were doing to get them on the plane. From what I could pick up from them they were not treated well and were very relieved to be going home.

  • January 1, 2011 at 11:25 am

    I’m loving this! Thanks for sharing

  • January 1, 2011 at 7:32 am

    “If your child hands you a ball and you want to stick the ball in the side thing then hold your child’s ball and slowly squish the ball with your other hand, minding the gaps by your feet”. ?? I’ve always wanted to get an inside view of the discussion of what will represent all of the things the signs say! Still smiling with your pics. Only you can get yelled at (maybe) and then have someone pose with you in a picture. That’s the magic of Jennie! XO happy new year, kabul style (well, minus the new “roomate”)


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