My journey to United Arab Emirates (UAE) was an experience I will never put a price tag to. It was unbelievable, unexpected and very memorable.
I have driven people to and from the airport because am a driver. However, whenever I did, I never got a chance to go beyond the terminal because it is out of bounds to non- travellers. Apart from curiosity, I never had reason to feel the urge of getting to see beyond that point anyway. All this changed when I was called and told that I had won the lottery and was to travel to Dubai for five days. I hardly believed it. For some time, I brushed it off thinking it wasn’t true.
Consequently, someone from Vision Group came to UCU and asked to see me. It was then that I believed that I had won the lottery.
On the slated day of travel, October 27 2015, together with other lottery winners,we set off for Dubai. We were a group of thirty.
When we reached Entebbe airport, I was confident, happy and shocked at the same time. When we went through the check points and offices for verification of details, I had no idea about anything. Therefore, I avoided coming first in line. I was keen on other people’s actions at all check points and offices in order not to blunder when my turn came. Just like that, I went through all the required processes and got on the plane.
All stages had their challenges. Boarding was easy but the instructions that were given before we set off surely freaked me out. We were told to fasten our seat belts, what to do in case of a crush, and what to and not to do on the plane. All this seemed bizarre to me but I did it anyway.
Fear engrossed me from the time I set foot on the plane. Right there, I saw a new world, new things and people. I imagined a lot of things in a very short time. The most challenging part of this moment was the plane taking off. Surely, my heart had shifted location. I closed my eyes and could not fathom what was happening. Luckily, I was seated next to the presenter of ‘Tolimwavu, Mutwegogwemwavu,’ program on Bukedde Television and he was very familiar with all this. He engaged me in conversation and made me feel comfortable. I stayed calm.
Within a short period of time, we had reached Nairobi. We waited there for some time for Emirates Airlines because we had used Kenya Airways to get to Nairobi. This time round, I was a little more confident of my actions and the taking off of the plane. I did not have any trouble.
Off we went as I got around the comfort of the plane. Each of us had a screen and one could watch anything of their choice. There was football, Nigerian movies, and several other programs. It was a 7 hours journey to Dubai from Nairobi.
When we arrived, we queued for registration and personal details’ verification. I was impressed by the fact that the people were so many but the service was fast and done with great customer care. I had never experienced such hospitality!
At Haiti Hotel where we slept, comfort was at its best. The rooms had Tvs for the customer’s enjoyment; there was soda, nice chairs and other things that made me happy. It was cosy.
When we were called for breakfast, I was disappointed by the menu because I did not identify with most of the food. I picked a glass of juice, eggs and samosas while others feasted on almost everything there was.
For lunch and supper, I got lucky. There is a Ugandan lady who prepares all African food there. She prepares cassava, matooke, potatoes and if you wanted, you would ask her to prepare what you wanted.
Each day, we went for tours around Dubai. We would have breakfast by 6am and set off at 7am. We were usually back by 7pm. During this time, we were told to stay in the proximity of the group, otherwise we would go missing. I was amazed at so many things. Although I haven’t travelled enough, I think Dubai is totally different from the rest of the world. I saw new things; I stared and marveled at structures and the beauty of the places we visited. We went through tunnels to places.
We went to Dragon Mart in Old Dubai, the Axilat building (this had banks, supermarkets and offices too), the City Centre, the Dubai Coast (schools, institutions and universities are here), Dubai Marina mall,the Burj Khalifa building with 142 floors, Atlantis Hotel(for Americans), Jumeirah village (where they make fuel) and Al Fujairah where stone mining and quarrying is done. We also went where they make ships from. Particularly, I was astonished by the mystery singing sea. At 6pm, many people gathered at a sea spot to hear it singing and changing colour simultaneously for five minutes.
Dubai is sandy, there is no green but it’s an organized city. They have strict rules and the citizens abide.
The road network is impeccable. There is no jam, and the traffic is monitored by cameras. During our tours, we travelled in an air-conditioned Costa.
The people I saw around the city seemed to be tourists too. I was told that the UAE citizens hardly lived in the city Centre. The businesses there were mostly owned by foreigners.
The experience made me think that I need to go back there. I got contacts and I believe I will!
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