Sunday, 2 June 2013

30 May - Dubai to Deutchland!

So after a really bad night's sleep, we arrived in Dubai at 5am (3am South African time). Walking through the security scanners was quite scary - it beeped for both Malcolm and I, Malcolm because he was wearing safety boots and for me because of an alice band. The guard was really unfriendly and abrupt which seemed unnecessary but we were really glad when we got through. There we met another obstacle: finding our boarding gate which was not indicated on our pass. We had missed the first board showing the boarding gates, which was before the security scanners, so after wandering around trying to find another, we eventually went back to the unfriendly security guard for help. He very vaguely told us to go downstairs so we did. There we found a man wearing a "can I help?" shirt, and he was much better at directing us to a board to find our gate!

Now that we knew where to board, we could make our way there slowly, walking past all the duty-free shops. What a lot! We had two dollars on us and were determined to spend one just because we'd never spent a dollar note before! We eventually found some postcards that were two for a dollar so we bought them and then found our gate. We managed to connect to the internet there which was nice, then just dozed until it was time to board.

Again, boarding was intimidating because there were a couple of men before us who were being questioned quite extensively before being allowed through. However, we had no problem and could soon board. From Dubai to Frankfurt was just over 6 hours - 6 very uncomfortable hours. We were sitting in the middle block in the middle, so with a person on either side of us - very different to the first flight where the seat next to us was empty! We were  very, very happy to arrive in Frankfurt and be able to move again, and we were even greeted by a friendly security guard!

In Frankfurt, we went quite problem free through customs - I don't think the man I went to realised how terrified I was of being discovered as being "not a real German" despite my passport! Malcolm also got through without too much hassle- they asked for his letter of invitation which he didn't have, but then were satisfied by his Visa. We were beyond relieved when FINALLY we had got through all the red tape and FINALLY into Germany after all the admin and expense. God's grace and generosity really was so evident!
Our luggage came through all right, one bag was just missing it's handle, but everything else was fine. Petra (my cousin) came to pick us up and we were quite proud when all the luggage managed to fit into the car! The drive to her house was SO beautiful and the fields of flowers were so refreshing... being on the "right" side of the road was quite terrifying though when a car would speed past on the left or we'd turn into what we would think of as the fast lane!

just an average house, you know, all picturesque...

the house Petra stays in - we were on the top floor :)

chocolate bed-bugs from Petra :)

Petra had gone through a lot of trouble to accommodate us - we had a room upstairs (lots of stairs!) and even had little chocolates on the bed :) After a shower and water we definitely felt more human again! It was weird getting used to little differences - the way the windows open here, the different light switches, the bubbly water...

In the late afternoon (or maybe even evening?) we went with Petra and Lenard for a drive up to the highest point on the mountain range close to Frankfurt. We walked up through the forest, and were amazed by the view from the top. There we even saw our first German castle! :)

the view from the top!

Lenard and Petra

When we got home, after a cheese-fondu supper, we headed for bed - it was quite strange because the sun only sets at about 10, but despite the light we were SO tired we fell asleep easily :)

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