Tuesday, 29 April 2014

In transit

Blurry faces from every part of the earth pass us by. I wonder where they are from, where they are going and what language they speak. I wonder how different their life is from mine and then it fades from mind as we thread our way through a bustling airport, far away from home.

The motion of our everyday life is paused as we travel for the first time in a long time. I am grateful that we are on the road again, it stirs a passion and excitement in me. Elder is only four weeks old and August is as wild and curious as ever. The trip is long and hard but wonderful too.

We arrive in Abu Dhabi in the early hours of the morning. With a fifteen hour wait before our journey continues, we leave for the city. August sits still by the large bus window and stares at the warm, foggy morning. Palm trees and manicured gardens line the clean streets and shiny, new cars speed passed us. It feels like I'm dreaming. The city is sandy and bright and the buildings are giant. My head is spinning with weariness.

We step off the bus, the breeze is a gush of warm, dry air and men dressed in long white robes stare at us. We wander through gigantuous streets before our bodies are aching and hunger stabs at our empty stomachs. We hail a cab and speed through the city to an outdoor restaurant on the beach. Barefooted on our shaded lounge chairs we eat breakfast while trying to stop August from destroying the table arrangement. We succeed mostly but despite our best efforts he manages to steal one of my socks, never to be seen again.

We stay for hours, August happily playing in the water and on the playground with his papa. I stay to breastfeed Elder in the shade. When August sleeps we all sleep. I am exhausted but stay sitting as I doze, trying to look inconspicuous. Luckily there are few people about and the waitresses don't seem to mind having a family of four napping in the corner. Guiltily, we order more juice as an excuse to stay.  

I wake to a light breeze and the sound of the Muezzin's call to prayer coming from a distant loud speaker. The sound is long and rhythmic, almost hypnotizing. I adjust my eyes to the brightness but relax, realising the boys are still fast asleep. I see the golden sand dunes in the distance, the edge of the city seems like the edge of the earth, desert never ending afterwards.

Each road we walk onto we stare up in awe. I wish I had the energy to enjoy it more but my senses are dulled and everything is hazy. We explore the giant buildings and wander the wide streets, sometimes taking a cab when we are tired. After a late lunch we decide to make our way back to the airport. We run out of cash to pay the cab driver and for some reason we can't withdraw any money, so we are left to apologetically talk our way out of paying. With only a few coins left we manage to buy our bus fare back to the airport and I am so relieved. Gladly, we leave the heat and bustle of the city behind.

We have hours still to wait and we take turns to play with August, his energy is boundless. I lie on the floor with him and stare up at the intricately tiled ceiling, pointing to the all the different colours and shapes. The light outside fades into night and the boarding lounge becomes busy. Time drags along slowly as we wait but soon the rush of flying erases our earlier impatience.

I study August's reaction as we take off yet again. His small features are alert but I can see the weariness in him. As soon as we are soaring we slide easily into our dreams, high above the clouds, towards our next adventure.

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