To continue the last post, we arrived into Abu Dhabi late for an overnight stopover before our next flight to Greece. The contrast is remarkable.
Comparing UAE and Sri Lanka is pretty unfair. One is still a poor nation and one is one of the richest countries on the planet – for those lucky few who were born there and have the right connections.
But… we are mesmerised by ePassport machines that actually work, are genuinely surprised at the quality of the Premier Inn with its very welcome freezing cold beer, but we are drained by the heat and humidity. Even at 11pm at night, it is 41c and feels like we are in a sauna. The receptionist at the hotel summed it up, saying, “people in other countries say sun-kissed, here it is sun-headbutted”.
Abu Dhabi airport in the morning is the epitome of efficiency; very few queues, good layout making walking distances minimal, helpful staff, clean toilets and very cheap prices. Based on one flight, we can fully recommend Ethiad Airways except the food – which was truly awful – unlike the bloody lovely chicken Kiev at the Premier Inn the night before!
Another early start and just over 4 hours later we are in Athens, although we do have the whole afternoon to wait before our very short, but bumpy, flight to Paros. On arrival it goes slightly wrong. The taxi driver who agreed to take us into town decided to drive off with another customer instead. We find ourselves, with three other sets of unfortunates, stranded at a closed airport with no taxis or public transport to get us into town.
Fortunately, our amiable AirBnB host organised a taxi and we arrive at our little flat feeling very hot, pretty bothered and totally knackered after a 17 hours worth of transport in the past 36 hours and barely 6 hours sleep.
The next morning we are less grumpy and get to see the pretty main town of Parikia in daylight. We enjoy great coffee and spinach pies for breakfast and all is good with the world again. Well, apart from Brexit, Trump and certain parts of the rest of the world outside our holiday bubble.
We finish with my brother telling me that “Paros” is Spanish for “The Unemployed”. How appropriate for us…