Our last day in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), we have stayed in three of the seven Emirates, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. While all have had massive and continuing growth, there is a different feel for each one, even though all have masses of high rise buildings and vast road networks. With the bikes packed, we spent the last night at a movie in the Mall of the Emirates close to where we were staying and watched the skiers and snowboarders on the indoor slope there.
The previous afternoon we had hired a car and driven down to Abu Dhabi for the night. Anne had not been there for five years or so and I had never been. Anne was interested to see the changes and the development of the new art and cultural centres that had been proposed at the time of her last visit. It was strange driving a car after three months of being only on a motorbike, getting used to the size of the car in traffic, especially as it responded like a slug to any use of the throttle.
Anne found the changes amazing: spectacular buildings that had been isolated in the desert at the edge of town are now surrounded by more recent construction and three suburbs from the edge of town. We took a taxi to the Emirates Palace hotel, a seven star hotel that Anne had been to a lunch with one of the Abu Dhabi ministers before the hotel even opened, but that’s another story you will have to ask Anne about. The hotel is opulent to the max, I have never been in such a place before and am certain that we will never stay in such a place. Having only seen part of the ground floor and that took 15 minutes, I can confirm it really seems like a palace.
The next day with the bikes loaded, we set off for Emirates SkyCargo following the three bikes loaded on the truck. Three bikes, no not error we had met up with Kristjan from Iceland who is also travelling in the same group through Myanmar with us and has a similar BMW bike. We decided that we would ship together to Delhi as our timetables coincided.
We arrive at the Cargo Terminal and start the process of shipping by securing the dangerous good clearance, which requires us to hire a third party to undertake. We had hoped that the process of shipping by air would be quicker and simpler than sea shipping. We had been told that the process should only take about half an hour, but as we found as the day progressed, while the paperwork is less as there is no Port Authority involved, the time taken due to lunch breaks and hand overs, which seems to involve a gap on an hour meant we started at 11am and finished at 6pm. I fear that this would have been longer without the help of Ibrahim from Emirates SkyCargo and one of the people undertaking the dangerous goods processing. Full details of the process can be found under visas and borders (when I write it).
Anyway, all done and we are off to Terminal 2, the budget airlines terminal for our flight to Delhi. Our next post will be from India as we continue our journey.