Saturday, May 2, 2015
When planning this trip I was like, “I am going to sleep as much as possible on the first flight so I can get myself on the right time zone”.
I slept all of nothing on my first flight to Dubai (~12 hours). Not sure if it was adrenaline, the crying babies, my high level of discomfort, or a combination of the three, but my eyes would NOT close.
12 hrs, 3 meals, and 6 movies later, we were landing in Dubai!
International connections in the USA are always a hassle, so I was expecting the same if not worse, but connecting in Dubai was SO easy!
- Get off the plane
- Go through security
- Find your gate.
Piece of cake! Once I made my way through the crowds, the airport was swarming with eager travelers, I found myself by my gate and in front of a Starbucks. Like the tourist I am, I then spent the next 10 minutes trying to take a selfie. Reasons taking a selfie took forever:
- I looked awful. 12 hours on a plane does NOTHING for you.
- I am terrible at taking selfies.
- It was super super super crowded and I was trying to be inconspicuous, which only made me more noticeable. There were some funny looks being shot my way.
My selfie photoshoot ended just as my section was being called for boarding 🙂 My ticket directed me to the LAST row between two large men, who thought spreading their legs as wide as possible and using both arm rests was totally acceptable. Lucky me. Comfort was a long lost notion at this point.
6, or was it 7, hours later WE LANDED!!!!! and then the nerves kick in.
WHAT THE “EXPLETIVE” WAS I THINKING?!? Why am I doing this alone!?
But as freaked out as I was, things went very smoothly. Customs was a breeze, my bag was already out once I got to the carousel, and the ATM worked perfectly. YAY! success!
Feeling pretty good, I got a voucher for a taxi and met my driver. Even though I was showing him the name of the hostel and the ADDRESS he didn’t know where it was. Eventually he offered to call them, so nice! Once driving, we started talking (I know no Thai and he knows little English, so picture that) and then I make a rookie mistake. He asks, “You alone?” and what does this genius say..
Yeah, all alone.
Literally the second the words came out I was like, “dumd.dumb.dumb”, and “how can I fix this?”. It didn’t help my nerves that he then proceeded to tell me that we needed gas. ugh.
- Dug through my one bag for my pocketknife to make sure it was easily accessible.
- Took a picture of his taxi info.
- Proceeded to tell him a story that I was traveling alone but that I had friends waiting for me at the hostel.
During this entire time, I think he understands me and buys my “story”, but he also keeps touching my arm (I was sitting in the front seat). Ugh. So uncomfortable. The thing that was “killing me” and making my blood pressure sky-rocket, was that I would have no idea if he was going to take advantage of me until it was probably too late.
After a nervous and uncomfortable 30-40 minute ride, he stops on the side of a street near an alley. I knew what my hostel looked like but I couldn’t see it. Not wanting to spend anymore time in the taxi I pay the man, who in all honesty was very nice and very friendly, and got out. I then ask someone to point me in the right direction, which happened to be down the alley. Yay. I love dark alleys. Anyway, I FINALLY MADE IT TO MY HOSTEL!!!
In one piece 🙂
Now, looking back on my taxi ride, I think, “Geez, why were you so nervous? Everything was fine!”. But, even though everything worked out and I wasn’t kidnapped, I think it was totally reasonable for me to react the way I did. I am a girl, traveling alone, to a country where I don’t speak the language, and have no point of reference.
I think my first night here was a wake up call saying,
Get it together! Be smart and careful!
What would I do differently next time:
- Have the hostel name and address in THAI, not english!
- Do not mention that I am traveling alone. Duh.
- Sit in the backseat. No more awkward arm touches for me.
With these lessons learned I am so excited for what is yet to come!
Have you ever traveled alone? Do you have an “uncomfortable” story to share? I would love to hear from you!
P.S. Check out my hostel! Here are some pictures I got the morning after I arrived 🙂
Love always, Arianna the Wandering Pipette
Featured image from Wallpapers World