Monday, 29 August 2016

A positive review of Easy Jet - Luton to Munich.

This is the first time I've flown with a low cost airline and to be honest I was a bit concerned there would be problems. I never see or hear anything positive about low cost airlines and I hear all the time about the additional charges that people complain are a rip off, like booking seats together and paying for boarding passes and in general the mass melee to get on the plane before departure.

I however was pleasantly surprised when I arrived at Luton airport to board my flight to Munich in July.

I was however, also very confused when I arrived at Luton while I waited for check in to open, to realise that I could just show my boarding pass and passport at departures and go straight through as I was travelling with hand luggage only.

There was no pushing and shoving as we lined up to board the plane, my only complaint would be that there was no where to sit while we waited to board, but other than that it was fine.

A few people had paid for priority boarding, I've no idea how much that cost them, but at the end of the day, the plane wasn't going anywhere until we were all on it, so in my opinion, it was a bit of a waste of money.

My luggage weighed 15kg, it fitted in the over head compartment and I was able to lift it easily. The luggage allowance for the cabin was very generous, most of the weight was magazines and gifts.

I was allocated a seat and after years of long haul flying I was surprised at just how much leg room there was and how clean the plane was also.

I purchased a G&T at £5.50 which was £2.50 cheaper than the price I'd paid in a St Alban's pub the night before.

The flight both ways was uneventful and I spent it reading a book and looking out the window.

Peter informed me on my return I had actually flown with Easy Jet in the past to Berlin on two occasions in 2006, that had obviously been excellent flights also or I'd have remembered it.

I'm not sure if people just complain for the sake of complaining these days. My expectations of Easy Jet were very low, considering I'd paid half of what the flight with other airlines would've cost me.

I'll certainly fly with them again when I'm next in Europe, it's just a shame they don't offer flights from Dubai, as at their prices I'd be more than prepared to put up with some of the horror stories I've read about online, in exchange for lower prices.

(Tongue in cheek) Disclaimer:
I was not paid in anyway to write this article, however if Easy Jet would like me on board as an ambassador I'd be more than happy to oblige.

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Week 87 - My Sunday Photo and #photalife #sunrise

Taken at 5.57am sunrise in Dubai. Current temperature 31c, humidity 84%, humidex (feels like) 42c, visibility 6.4km.

The view from my doorstep this morning, you can just see the Burj Khalifa in the middle of the picture. Sunsets are easier for me to capture as the sun sets out to sea, 1km behind me. There are too many buildings in front of me. By the time December comes I'll be driving to work in the dark at this time and I'll arrive just in time for sunrise.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Week 34 One Daily Positive and Project 366

Still too hot in Dubai to spend anytime outside, quite a bit of gardening to be done and a house to clean, as well as packing the car ready for Back to School for me on Sunday.

The teen and I have been out everyday, new shoes, clothes and a phone for passing his Maths GCSE, several dental visits for impacted wisdom teeth that need removing, a haircut and Brunch on Friday. He flies back to Boarding School on Wednesday for his last year in school and on Thursday child 3 of 5 arrives for a fortnight with his girlfriend, who we've yet to meet.

While I was in the UK I bought and wrapped Christmas presents for the family and this week I've made a start on writing Christmas cards to send back with child 3 of 5, for him to post in November for me.

Day 234 Old - Never too old for a paddle in the sea

 Day 235 Photography - Sorting out photos from Summer travels

Day 236 Oh Yes! - Finally the hot water tap is cool enough for a shower, however the cold water is still 39c

 Day 237 Slow - Old Fashioned communication

Day 238 Staying Cool - Bob dragged his bed under the air con

Day 239 New - Not the most exciting of purchases, but a necessity 

Day 240 Green - Still too hot to spend too much time on the beach

Thursday, 25 August 2016

HDYGG Summer in Dubai 2016

On my return from the UK after 7 weeks of travelling I discovered the neighbours had erected a fence at the back of our property. It looks OK and the more shade the better as far as I'm concerned but, did they really think it was ok to cut through the rope holding the Bougainvillaea upright and just leave it to cover the path and for me to sort out?

I'm NOT happy and I'm going to assume it will be a wasted activity going round there and asking them to rectify the issue, so I'm just going to tie it back up.

I've been amazed at what has grown since I've been away. Peter was only away for the last 3 weeks, so the garden and indoor plants have only been without water for less than half my trip.



I'm going to let the ground cover take over for now, will be planing seeds directly into pots, inside the house to germinate where it is cooler and then move the pots outside.

Inside has faired a lot better but my hydrangea didn't make it, I'm planting it outside on the off chance it can be salvaged.

Empty pot where the hydrangea used to be. I'm surprised the basil has survived.

Only 1 succulent survived, the daffodil never flowered and the white pot at the back contains last years hyacinths.

I'll need to repot these plants, they're a bit wiry, but first I need another visit to the outdoor garden centre to buy some more pots.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Expat travel and visits home

When you're an expat and you go home for the holidays, the last thing you actually have is a holiday.

For me a holiday is when you go somewhere new, stay in a hotel, apartment or holiday home, or even camping.

We used to holiday in the UK, mainly camping and made several trips abroad with the kids to discover most of France, the West Coast of America, Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt.

When we moved to South Africa, I wasn't working and made 2 annual trips to the UK alone each year, Peter combined an annual trip with work and we stayed with family and friends. It worked, they were trips of 2-3 weeks and the family came out to visit us. We also holidayed in South Africa with trips to Cape Town and Durban as well as camping in the Drakensburg Mountains and Kruger and weekend trips into the countryside to lodges.

The end of 2014 we relocated to Dubai, In 2015 I travelled to Canada for 3 weeks and back to South Africa for 6 weeks and we spent 2 weeks together in the UK.

Since starting work full time in January 2016 we haven't had a holiday other than 2 long weekends within the UAE.

I've returned from 7 weeks away last Friday, having spent 8 days in South Africa, traveling around and 6 weeks in the UK, including 5 days with friends in Munich.

Peter joined me for the last 3 weeks of the trip when we picked up car hire and travelled as far as Cumbria, Leeds and down to Lyme Regis, via South Wales, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Bath. We managed to see 4 of the 5 children. Child 4 of 5 drove down from Northern Ireland to meet me in London for a few days when I first arrived. The rest of time I relied on public transport, trains and buses which isn't easy when you're lugging your suitcase also.

We stayed in a hotel for 3 nights in Malvern while we caught up with friends and sorted out some issues with the house we rent out and a night in Birmingham to watch the football.

We've decided we're too old to be living out of suitcases, sleeping on sofas and in spare rooms, we've used friends and family as a base and left our suitcases with them when we've visited other people just using our hand luggage, but we really need a base of our own, to have some privacy, to be able to unpack properly, to leave a mess, shower when we want and eat what we want when we want, without having to think about other people and trying to keep out their way.

The teen is with us in Dubai till the end of August, child 3 of 5 is coming out on September 1st for 2 weeks with his girlfriend, we have friends stopping over later this week for a night. We've had visitors most months this year, who have their own room, bathroom and wardrobe, complete with hangers, hair dryer etc. There's a friend coming over end of November for a week, followed by my Mother for 3 weeks and children 4 and 5 and a niece are with us over christmas and the new year.

We've explained that now I'm working they will all have to entertain themselves, our lives are different now, we can't take time off to take them places during the day, they'll have to fend for themselves and in the evenings we'll go out occasionally, but not every night and we won't be sitting up drinking into the small hours, as we're not on holiday.

The problem is when we go to the UK, people have work, routines and while they do go out with us some evenings or sit up late on weekends having a drink, they don't in general stop what they normally do, watching their TV programmes, going to work etc. They also don't have the space or in some cases an actual bed for us to sleep in, so we can't stay with some of our family and friends, which means we are completing long journeys on day trips or having to fork out for a hotel or B and B's. We're really looking forward to having a base in the UK so family and friends can come and visit us for the day, evening or even the night as long as they don't mind sleeping on the sofa for a change, rather than us.

My next break after Christmas will be over the Easter holidays, I'm planning a return trip to South Africa while I'll stay with friends in various places and live out my suitcase and then it's the long summer holiday where it's just too hot to stay in Dubai. I'll return to the UK the end of June till the end of August and Peter will join me for 3 weeks towards the end.

Peter will probably be in the UK and Europe for business over the next few months and he'll be doing a lot of travel around the Middle East and in Africa. We're both hopeful we can have a few long weekends away to Jordan and India, in-between visitors and work.