Tonight we head off to Muscat International Airport along with our Filipino neighbors: Gabby, Enrico, and Eugene. We hire a van from our Omani friend and student, Sami, and left home at 11:00 o’clock in the evening. Being a frequent traveler and “bakasyonista”, we want to be in the airport many hours ahead our flight schedule to have plenty of time in checking in our luggage or perhaps to fix things if something goes wrong. This is one good tip for a stress-free travel.
Anyway, we take the express road and arrive in the airport an hour later. Jesse and our friends slowly unload our belongings from the van. We proceed to the departure area and have our things scanned by the machine. Since I bring an LCD TV as a gift to my parents, I have it bubble wrap so that it will come home working and functional. Afterwhich, we scope out a bench near the check-in counter.
My kids are in full vivacity playing with each other or with the iPad and iPhone. I don’t see them get tired or sleepy even if it is already wee hours in the morning. And for me, it is pretty fine because I know they will fall asleep in the airplane and in turn I can take a good rest too. I just have snack bag loaded with drinks and goodies just in case they get hungry and thirsty. This is another wonderful idea if you are traveling with children. While watching over my kids, a clear realization dawn to me that this the moment I have been waiting. Going home will be a wonderful reunion for all of us especially with my parents. At this moment, my heart rise to joy and happiness that I cannot explain.
Thinking briefly about the activities on our vacation trip, an announcement overheard from the loud speaker is telling us that Emirates Airlines is ready to accept check-in baggage. We then approach the counter exclusive for web check-in passengers. The benefit of checking online is that you can have the comfort of not waiting in queue for long hours as well as the advantage of choosing your preferred set in the airplane. So it nearly 10 minutes for us to have our baggage deposited at the counter.
We make our way to the immigration officer and have our passports stamped for exit. I take a quick look at the Muscat Duty Free and spend 20 OR ($51) for chocolates that I will give to some friends. Buying of stuffs from duty free shops can have many advantages. For one, the stuff you buy is not part of your allowable kilos. Second, product prices are almost the same or a small difference with those that are sold in the malls and markets. If you are lucky, you can avail of promos and discounted prices.
About 30 minutes before the plane takes off at 5:30AM (Friday), the ground crews tell us that we can all move to the gate as the aircraft is ready for boarding. Since we are traveling with kids we get inside the airplane first then find our sets and place our hand carry baggage in the overhead bin. While on board, a delightful breakfast meals that include croissant, mango yogurt, cheese, butter, and coffee are served to us. I feed Anyah with baby food and she fall asleep.
But Andrei is still energized and watch movies from his monitor. Andrei is a bit further from us at the center column and is setting next to three young Omani girls. Later he started a conversation with one of the girls then the next I see these girls are taking pictures with my son using their mobile cameras. Indeed my boy is really friendly and conversant. Mind you he knows how to get your attention and start talking about many things of his interests. Very cute, right? And a brilliant kid, I should say.
Past forty five minutes we land on Dubai International Airport. It is a very fascinating and ultra-modern mega structure and one of the best airports in the world. According to Wikipedia,”the airport have three terminals and three concourses, two cargo mega terminals, an airport free zone, an expo centre with three large exhibition halls, a major aircraft maintenance hub and a flower centre to handle perishable goods.” I remember watching its building construction video over discovery channel years ago and hoping to visit the place in one of my trips. And now, I am finally here. I am so amazed and pretty impressed with the entire area. But it is really a huge and crowded airport comparing to those that I have been to like Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Hongkong because it is the Middle East major aviation hub.
During our two hours layover we are at Concourse 1 where we buy breakfast meals from McDonald and stay at gate 23 in Terminal 1. The Internet facility in the airport is free but sometimes the signal is weak so I have to patiently use my phone and browse my mails and notifications. This time I am communicating with my friends and families online and give updates of our travel. Anyah is still in a slow-wave sleep state while Andrei so occupied with his iPad, playing is favorite games.
At 9:20 o’clock in the morning, we proceed to the counter and the crews inspect our boarding passes and passports. Their machine and system are sophisticated making access into the airplane easier. We settle in seats located in the center aisle which is a good spot because my kids are comfortable and can take good rest without being disturbed by the reverberation of the airline engines.
It is a whole eight hours flight from Dubai to Manila. The flight attendants serve as several mouthwatering meals and snacks. They also give us many freebies for kids such as pillows, blankets, and school materials as well as delicious kid’s meal and baby’s food. I am quite relax because Anyah is sleeping for six hours. While I am setting on the plane, I browse the movies in the monitor in front of me. And so I am hooked with the new release movies and I watch about four of them before I take a short nap.
As we touch down Ninoy Aquino International Airport, it is already 11:00 o’clock in the evening, Thursday in Manila. We rush to the immigration counter where a long queue of passenger is waiting for hours. After our passports are mark with entry details, we collect our baggage at the carousel and move outside the arrival area where my sister-in-law is waiting for us.
A brand new day awaits us but what I truly want at the moment is a peaceful and good night sleep.
Oh! It is a nice feeling to be back home once again. And i know many wonderful things are waiting to happen.