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Friday, 23 October 2009

Stop-overs at Dubai and Singapore

Partly out of curiosity, partly for vaccination against a reflex apprehension of otherness, I approached the ‘men’s prayer room’ where some staff – in its small lobby – were going through housekeeping checklists for the vast atrium of Dubai Airport Terminal 3. “Is it alright to enter the prayer room if you are not a Muslim…with respect?” Did I detect a miniscule hesitation, perhaps no more than puzzlement, then a gentle smile “Of course”. I went in and sat quietly, rinsing out my detestation of the greenless concrete blanket that seemed to summarise the place, and thought of Dhiaa and faithlessly but sincerely prayed for his safety on his short return home – a country we’d flown over on our way. Then I collected my bag, put on my shoes and, nodding to smiles at the door, returned to transit space. As I strolled across the flow a member of the cleaning crew asked me diffidently where I was from. “Birmingham. And you?” “Kerala” “Ah. Not been there. To Rajasthan. Yes. To Accra, Delhi and Jodhpur. Not so far south as your home. What is your name.” “Firoz. Your name?” “Simon” We shook hands and the dead world of Dubai was become a pleasant memory. Between us – Firoz and his colleagues – we’d made it into a place somewhere.
45 minutes to get off the plane, have a coffee and orange juice in transit limbo, then back on board via Gate C20 to finish my film Suspect X then continue with my Inspector Haritos Deadline in Athens - the superb Hellenic police procedural Richard Pine had recommended.
It's 2040 here and I guess 1440 in UK and 1640 in Ano Korakiana(note that the village website is still down - Εργασίες συντήρησης). On the first leg to Dubai from Birmingham I was sat next to an enormous man who occupied a third of my seat space. Emirates cabin steward shifted me to another seat to the satisfaction of all.


  1. Medicate yourself with copious amounts of brandy. Works for me.

  2. I'm a wimp. Relied on flat white and carrot cake.


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Simon Baddeley