The flight did, indeed, take off at 0210 this morning as promised, and landed in Dubai about eight hours later. There, although I didn't have to get off the plane for the one-hour layover before our onward journey to Bahrain, I was upgraded to Business Class as the flight was very full - so that was nice!
I'd forgotten, as I often do until it actually happens, that when one is flying into the Arabian Gulf from an Asian country, Economy Class passengers are treated appallingly badly. I'm sorry to say that this is, pure and simply, racism - perhaps the training manual was written by Trump. The vast majority of Economy passengers heading into the Gulf from across Asia are migrant, low-paid workers. In fact, I didn't see any other Europeans in my cabin at all, and the flight attendants adopt the attitude that they are dealing with a planeful of badly-behaved children, or perhaps recently-released convicts.
The crew don't smile; they slam the meals down, don't come and remove the food trays for hours, and fail to serve tea or coffee after the meal. If you ask for it, they behave as if you've requested a golden egg. Then they don't bother to dim the cabin lights for absolutely ages. At no point throughout the flight do they come and ask if you want water; questions are greeted with a snap. It's appalling, compared with the treatment you get aboard an Economy flight headed into Europe, the USA or Australasia, for example. I gazed at my pillow for some time, wondering whether it had actually been cleaned, or whether the covers are just very old and tired. Anyway, the one good thing about the leg from Hong Kong to Dubai was that I had an empty seat beside me, so I was able to lie down and sleep.
Moving from row 42 to row 12 was like entering a different world. Did I need help to stow my baggage in the overhead locker? Would I like juice or water before takeoff? And here, have a hot towel. Is there anything I can get for you, Mrs L? Beaming smiles; starched napery and silver cutlery for the salmon wrap served with coffee during the one-hour hop across to Bahrain. It's incredible what a difference that curtain makes.
I was thrilled to be reunited with my luggage in Bahrain - it had actually made it from Hong Kong on the same flight as me, and I honestly hadn't expected it to. Nicky came to the airport and picked me up, and soon we were back at the house, where Mehmet was sleeping happily under the glass cabinet on the cool tiles (the apparent temperature outside is 41º). He looks so clean !
Had I not been delayed, I should have arrived on the last day of the End Al Adha holidays, but it was a work day for Nicky today and he had to go into the office for a while. The day passed in rather a blur of tiredness!