I was getting slightly edgy (ok, very edgy) in early December because I realised that I’ve yet to book air tickets to Manchester, when I was already due to fly off in mid-January. No air tickets means no exchange trip right? Erkkk.
Here’s the deal. I’m an *insert ministry here* scholarship recipient so my exchange trip is pretty much fully sponsored, alhamdulillah! This includes paid-for air tickets. And with every sponsored item, there is, of course, a whole array of processes and guidelines to follow. (Takkan dia suka-suka nak kasi duit kaaaaan?) When I finally got down to figuring out all the processes necessary to book an air ticket via the appointed travel agency, there was thankfully enough time to get quotes from three airlines which fly from Singapore to Manchester: SQ, Emirates and Royal Dutch Airlines. I narrowed them down to the 2 obvious choices.
The main concern for me in the earlier stages was either to take a direct flight or one that has a stopover. SQ has a direct flight going for 15hours 25 minutes straight from Singapore to Manchester, whereas Emirates has a (cheaper) 7hours – 7 hours flight with a 1.5 hours stopover in Dubai. I soon found out that I had no cause for deliberation as I was supposed to take the cheapest option (duh) so Emirates it is! Furthermore, Emirates offers 30kg worth of check-in baggage, which is a lot more compared to SQ’s 20kg, so I’m not complaining!
I am also quite the opportunist, you see, so when I found out that I was going to have a stopover in Dubai, with the opportunity to extend my stopover, I immediately jumped on it! Heck, anything to feed this travel addiction of mine!
I did the necessary research and sought for opinions and I quickly developed a
desperation desire to go to…
1) the Souqs
I mean, how can you ever go to Dubai and not visit a souq right?? Plus, I’m such a sucker for abayas and I know that there are prettyyyy abayas there! Shopping! 😛
2) Desert Safari
A friend actually recommended this after reading my facebook status update about heading to Dubai and I was sold the moment I saw the Google images results for ‘Desert Safari’. Makk aiiii!! Subhanallah! Definitely on my bucket list! I was so intent on going that I emailed one of the companies running this service for a quote. It was within my budget so I was literally jumping up and down my seat when I received their reply!
So there, the 2 must-go places I came up with if I were to stay for two-days in Dubai during the stopover. Sounds like a great plan right? But me, being me, totally erm… overlooked the practical aspects of the plan and was stumped the moment the mister asked me, “Ok so how are you going to go about doing this? You’ll be alone right?” Hmmmmm.. Right. I got the same reply from my dad when I casually brought it up to him over dinner (hahaha anak mithali habis!). Don’t get me wrong. They were totally supportive of the whole travelling and seeing the world thing. They’re just being, you know… practical *shudders at the word*. Okaylah, practicality isn’t exactly my strongest point you know. 😛
So yes, with the issues of personal safety and practicality, I decided to… shove the extravagant Dubai plan onto the shelf, allowing it to rest till the day I’m once again overwhelmed with zeal to travel there, the next time, with a companion in tow. But that’s alright, cos the money that I’ve set aside for Dubai is going to be added into the money for EUROPE! More money set aside for Europe travel = more places to see, more things to do, inshaallah! *does happy dance*
Ah yes, but I’ve digressed.
So now that all the chinks in the plan have been straightened out and I’ve finally made a practical decision, I’ve confirmed with the travel agency of the dates to fly off and to return, alhamdulillah!
I will be travelling on Emirates on the 16th of January at 9.35 am, which means I’ve to check in by 7.35am! I’m so totally not a morning person so I’m praying for everything to run smoothly, inshaallah!
Now, why I chose 16 January… That’s a story!
I was actually deliberating between 16 and 17 January, so much so that I think I annoyed the mister with the constant questioning. He claims I’m very fickle-minded you see, pfft. Anyway, the thing is, international students’ orientation starts on 21 January and I wanted to be in Manchester a couple of days early to settle phone lines, bank account, self-orientation around the place etc. Going on the 16th or 17th doesn’t really afford much difference, to be honest, it’s just a matter of having a full or two weekdays to settle the necessary. BUT…