Monday, 1 February 2010

Manchester to Dubai to Oman. Jan 2010.

In case you don't know, In England, December 2009 was cold. The snow started the week prior to Christmas. I struggled into work, on un-gritted roads, in a rear wheel drive car that turned into a 'Snake' in the snow.
In the NothWest we had a White December, White Christmas, White New Year, and its still white!
I had a weeks holiday commencing 04/01/2010. We did not have plans. As the cold weather continued, we decided to head to the Sun. So, if we couldn't get on a flight to Dubai, we would go to Sharm. Tuesday 5th of Jan was chosen as our day to travel. We woke up to this. Our Village was 'snowed in'.
The roads were chaos! The traffic on both the M6 and M61 was gridlocked. We decided to get the train. We drove very slowly to the Train Station. At Preston station the information boards informed us that all trains were running normally. Then it showed that the trains were delayed, 10 minutes, then 20 minutes, the snow continued to fall. Finally, we got on the next train heading to Manchester. At Manchester Piccadilly we swapped trains, for one heading for the airport.The driver said it would be the last one, as the snow was coming over the tracks.
Arriving at Manchester Airport at 11.30, it was no surprise to find the airport was closed. A lot of flights had been diverted to Birmingham. The status of one flight bound for Montego Bay was 'travel by road'?
At 12.00, EK17 (DXB-MAN) was listed as 'on approach'. At 12.45 EK17 landed, the first flight of the day to arrive. We checked in, and got a seat on the flight to Dubai....Sharm will have to wait until another time.
We had to go to the only gate that was open to board to flight at 14.00.The plane was packed.
Once we were all on board, the wings had to be de-iced. This took a long time as Manchester has only one de-icing machine. At last, at 16.00 we taxied to the runway. Then we stopped. A passenger announcement informed us the 'The pilot will come into the cabin to look at the wings'. He did. He was happy. Then in a blizzard, we took off. EK 18 on its way to Dubai. I don't know if any other airlines got in and out of Manchester, but we did!
From this.......................
To this, in 7 easy hours.......................................
Well almost!
We got to Dubai at about 04.00 am, went to the Cabin Crew flat and slept till around 11.00. Hired a car, got a good deal from National Car Hire. Then drove to Oman.
Dubai to Muscat too just over 4 hours. It was a very nice drive. Once you cross the boarder into Oman, you follow the coast road all the way to Muscat. The road has many roundabouts, all with different features on it. I am told that you can get a Calender with photos of the Oman Roundabouts on it!
By the time we checked into the Crown Plaza on Qurum beach, Muscat, it was dark. We had a fantastic supper at the Crown Plaza, it was a help yourself BBQ, the meat was delicious....we did the sums wrong and halved the Oman Riyal instead of doubling it!!!!! I though those two bottles of wine were cheap?? Ow well...you only live once.
After a good nights sleep, we woke to this... Qurum Beach, Muscat. In the distance,at the very far end of the beach, is the location for the British Embassy of Muscat.....I knew I chose the wrong career, should have been a diplomat?
Waking in the morning, I could see what a good location The Crown Plaza, Muscat is in. It is on Qurum beach, the hotel also has its own beach. Lovely, it was 25 degrees........worth the flight and the drive.