Honestly, I have tried hard to put the experience of traveling "with three kids on my own for a 15 hr flight" out of my head. Go figure, it seemed to work out!
I headed to JFK with my mom, Aunt Gloria and Uncle Glenn. It was like arriving with an entourage. Everyone helped to carry or wheel in bags. Thanks to no traffic and leaving early, we arrived at the airport at 8:30. My flight was scheduled for 11:20. We got through everything at the counter and I said an "almost" tearful goodbye to my mom and stepped through security and away......
By the time we got to the Air France terminal we had almost an hour to spare before boarding. The kids watched the planes and tv and hung out.
We boarded around 10:30 and had to walk past the amazing super-first-class section, the first class and the almost-first-class section before seeing our tiny, cramped economy seats. Sigh......
We spent an hour on the runway with Cameron's non-stop two-year-old questions. Did we take off yet? Why aren't we in the air? Are we in air now? Who's plane is this? It is Aunt Gail's plane? Is it Aunt Gloria's plane? Why are we on the plane? When will it leave? Are we in the air now? etc.........
We FINALLY took off. The ride was uneventful. Cameron eventually conked out. The kids acted suprisingly well. They didn't touch their 100's of dollars worth of backpack activities, games, cards, books, pens, pencils, sticker books, toys, etc.... They enjoyed the snacks, Alexander's DS, watched the onboard tv, played on my iPad and took varying degrees of naps.
We arrived in Paris after a 6 hr+ plane ride.
I was a little unsure about what to expect there but all was smooth. I followed the people and the signs and ended up where I needed to be. I was just fine.
We had to walk a bit, take a shuttle for 10+ minutes walk a bit more and eventually make it to our gate while they had already boarded most of the people.
The plane was a little smaller, the food wasn't too great (except for the yummy sliver of Camembert cheese). All the announcements were done twice. Once in French and once in English. The kids did great and it was uneventful.
We arrived in Abu Dhabi after 6+ hrs and the kids had a second wind and were super-giddy. We had to circle for 10-15 minutes before landing because someone was setting off illegal fireworks but aside from that, no problem. I didn't even hyperventilate from the possible idea of a firework hitting the plane and blowing a hole in it or anything! Everything was "Just Fine". We landed on the ground and Cameron kept looking out the plane window and asking where Daddy was.
We gathered our things and followed the THRONGS of people to where I figured was the right area to be. There were tons of people, all dressed in different ethnic clothes and speaking different languages with lots of different smells...... I held Cameron's hand tight and waited my turn. The kids were antsy, but we finally made it through customs with our first passport stamp!
We got to baggage and our stuff was some of the last items in a pile. Someone helped us load up two full luggage carts (there were several men with carts ready to help for a fee.....). We headed out to the waiting area and there among 100's of waiting people with signs we found Brian and his boss.
We stepped outside and I nearly keeled over from the heat. I'm pretty sure we are now living on the equator of hell. The air was thick and moist and I was sweaty by the time I hit the car. It was 11:45 at night.
We headed to the villa and after going through the " circle of death" (lots of crazy drivers and accidents) roundabout, we arrived.
The villa is bigger than the pictures looked, the ceilings are high, there's lots of marble/tile everywhere and I am sooooo getting someone to clean it besides me!
I enjoyed some Coke Light, the kids and I tried some chocolate camel's milk (tasty and better than the thick chocolate cow's milk). I feasted on some yummy Date treats (yum to the coffee bean topped and chocolate-coffee bean filled one, not-yum to the rose petal topped and rose-flavor jam filled one). We eventually showered and headed to bed by 2 am. Abu Dhabi is 11 hrs later than WA and 8 hrs later than NY.
The Adventure Begins......
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