December 29th. The day many of us have been waiting for: Dubai. After spending two weeks in Southern California for Christmas break, I was ready for an adventure. It was less than twenty-four hours before my group was to leave Seattle to board a plane to Amsterdam. Filled with emotions and high on energy, I only slept for an hour and a half before heading over to the airport for the first part of my trip. SNA to SEA. A total of three extra hours tacked onto my total flight time. Once we all arrived in Seattle we made our way out to the furthest part of SeaTac Airport, N Gates. 12:45 pm, “Now seating for flight DL232: Seattle to Amsterdam.” This is finally happening! I’m in 43C all the way in the back of the plane with the rest of our group. We settle in for our nine hour flight to Amsterdam, full of movies, games, food, and music. What better way to start off the flight than watching Pitch Perfect side by side with Hannah. Even with headphones in we were cracking up with each other as we both watched the movie seconds after one another. We all tried to sleep but the most any of us slept was twenty minutes. You could say it was all the excitement but for me, it was the air quality. I felt as if my nose and throat were about to crack because all of the moisture was gone. I probably drank five Nalgene bottles worth of water on that flight alone.
“Welkom to Amsterdam.” Ready, set, now a six hour layover in the Amsterdam airport. All I wanted was coffee. That was my goal. A group of us went to explore the airport, ready with our cameras, like true tourists of course and came upon the I am amsterdam store. No coffee just yet but we found this juice place that had delft teacups that you could sit in. Delft is tin-glazed earthenware, typically decorated by hand in blue on a white background. I was in heaven. Growing up I loved all the delft my Oma had displayed in her dining area. Back in the early 1900’s, my great great Oma traveled to the United States with the hope of starting a new life with her family. With that being said, I have quite a bit of Dutch in me so I was thrilled seeing delft everywhere and wooden clogs hung along the outskirts of every store. I will definitely be going to back to shop when we stop on our way back home. My roommate, Courtney, and I then went to find food and finally found a Starbucks all the way in the back of the airport. Goal: accomplished. We met up with the group over at our gate and went through security before boarding the plane. I, of course, was randomly selected for fully body pat down. “Now boarding.” Another six hours to go! On this flight at least, I slept most of the trip. Flying into Dubai was amazing. Seeing the Burj Khalifa from up in the sky was beautiful, everything, just beautiful. I love flying in at night just so I can see all of the nightlife and it’s beauty. I don’t know if anything can compare to this from now on.
Going through customs actually wasn’t that bad and didn’t take very long. Krista, Lindsey, and I were in a separate line than the rest of the group. Our luck, it was the slowest one and didn’t move at all. I could see my professor making faces at us since they were going faster. A security guard came up and told us to go the other side to a new lane that just opened. The three of us sprinted over and ended up being fourth from the front. We were standing in the lane normally used for diplomats, no big deal right? We find our luggage and meet our tour guide for the trip, Dominique. Stepping outside of the airport, my senses are immediately filled with cigarette smoke, the air is warm, and it’s 1:45 in the morning. After a fifteen minute drive, we make it to our hotel, Al Manzil. We are greeted by smiling faces and fresh squeezed green apple juice. Yep, I said it, green apple juice. It was divine. 2:30 am and with a busy day tomorrow, it’s time for bed.