As I rang Tubby Taslim the Bangladeshi Taxi Driver another technical problem came my way when the fuse box in the kitchen exploded and the air-con and fridge packed up taking a few electrical sockets with it. No air-con in the desert is seriously bad news and I have absolutely no idea how people survived here before the modern day 'in-window' invention arrived in 1945 created by Robert Sherman of Lynn, Massachusetts. God bless America. Apparently olden day desert dwellers would dampen blankets and lie on them.
As we took our seats, yawns echoing throughout the cabin, an obscenely arrogant local man started snapping his fingers at the Asians and ordered them to move elsewhere so that he could accommodate his family. Needless to say there was no please or thank you, his nationality trumping theirs. They acquiesced meekly.
When the plane did take off - to me we were travelling in a backwards direction to Dubai on a 50 minute flight - the 3 year old daughter of the guy with the enormous and lame ego began to scream and didn't stop until we made our descent into dustbowl central I'd somehow nodded off for about 5 minutes and was jerked awake by yet another screech piercing my eardrums and being grouchy as I should have been landing in Amsterdam at this time, I swung round in my seat, faced the father and bellowed, "That kid should not be on an aircraft. She's in pain."
Used to people obeying him at the snap of two fingers, raw anger burst into his eyes at this insult to his pride but his tongue was tied, giving me time to carry on bellowing, "She's too young to travel on a plane! Look at her, she's in agony!"
He was still speechless and fuming while the surrounding passengers seemed to enjoy this early morning contretemps but I knew he wouldn't lave it at that..
"Didn't your family take you on holiday?" came his eventual reply.
"What's that got to do with anything? Look at her. I've been on planes before and had ear problems for days afterwards."
"So how should we go to Dubai?"
"By car (it's easily reached from Saudi by land) or better still stay at home," this brought a ripple of early morning laughter from the cabin. I wasn't finished, "And DO NOT inflict that noise on other people!"
I turned round and could feel his eyes boring into me and his wife to my immediate left did the same until I looked directly at her through the slit where daggers lay. If this plane had been going in the opposite direction, for sure he would have made problems for me on the ground.
In Dubai at 6am (the Saudi followed me for a while, trying to look tough. I ignored and soon lost him) there were 25 minutes before the next leg direct to Frankfurt and I did manage to squeeze time in for a quick smoke (God bless airport smoking rooms!) before crashing out on an almost empty Emirates Airbus which had a flight of stairs on it for the toffs in the upper classes.
The stewardesses were all lookers (apparently Emirates is one of the best payers) and one such beauty woke me after a few hours asking if I wanted breakfast. The answer was no, not really, but I couldn't refuse her and scoffed it all down in a matter of minutes before another kid started bawling, a boy this time but not as high-pitched as the last one. More of an excited wimper. So I snoozed until Germany, having tried and failed to watch American Hustle for the 3rd time, then went on a 2 mile walk to the next departure gate where I smoked and with a wry grin observed the 'It's All About the Journey' sign on a nicotine stained wall. I gawped too at the vast array of females on show; a bonanza of entertainment after those barren, zero eye-candy weeks in the desert.
We flew an hour to Amsterdam, which seemed like 10 minutes, arriving 11 hours late at 4.45pm, and so my Magnificent Journey became the fastest on record as I zipped into the city on a 15 minute train ride, walked the walk to Prix d'Ami where I went in and out in a matter of minutes, paused at a canal for 30 minutes, admired the views, enjoyed the cool air and back to Schipol airport for a 7.25pm final leg to the UK. We were there in a hop and a skip and a jump and as I touched down on English tarmac, soft drizzle enveloped us and so I stood there for a while longer, relishing the raindrops cooling my overheated body.
Mmmm .... hmmmm! Godamn that tastes good.