I was lucky to go on a press trip to the Czech Republic last week (I had photographs, it was lovely, but you won't see any as my camera is gone, gone, gone... the photos below were taken - and downloaded! - before I left) and although we left from Abu Dhabi, we flew back into Dubai.
We flew Turkish Airlines this time, which was lovely, but Emirates is nice too, and the airport is world class and miles ahead of Abu Dhabi (where the tight quarters and constant flow of loud announcements never fails to make me cranky) but flying into Dubai I am nervous in spite of myself. Nervous about being strip searched. For absolutely no reason, as I have done nothing wrong. But this is the airport where my fellow Canadian, Nicole Stroop-Gillis, was detained this fall after falling out with a security guard after couple of drinks while on a layover on her way from Kandahar to Mozambique. Where people are arrested for having a speck of a dubious substance on their shoe, or for possessing the natural sleep aid melatonin, which one can buy in Boots here in Abu Dhabi. And where celebrities like Lily Allen and Rhys Ifans were reportedly strip-searched on route to the Atlantis hotel opening last month.
This last trip, my paranoia extended to passport control, through luggage pickup and out onto the pavement. It did not abate until we were travelling down Sheikh Zayed Road toward Abu Dhabi. At some points, I feared that I might be strip searched simply because I must have looked so nervous, so I tried to calm myself down, but then worried perhaps I might attract attention by appearing too nonchalant. I get nervous almost anywhere I come into contact with authority, even Canada, so it's understandable. Dubai, where admittedly, they do not mess around, just torques it up.