Thursday, 31 May 2007

13 Days in Dubai

When I started my reserve month, which comes around once every seven months, I had the idea that I'd get worked to the bone and spend only my eight legal days off in Dubai. Not so. Counting today, this is my 13th consecutive day spent in Dubai - doing nothing.

Well that's not strictly true. I've spent 5 of those days on standby - sleeping through most of it and watching more episodes of Six Feet Under than I can remember and fighting off what I thought was malaria. We've also done a few buffets, and gone clubbing a few times. The rest of the days have been spent stalking the rosters, trying to find flights to get myself on in order to escape the boredom that exists in my apartment.

Airport standby the other night was an interesting experience. We have to get all frocked up in uniform, complete with tarty red lipstick, pack a suitcase for any weather possibility and any length of flight, catch a school bus and hope that it delivers you to the airport on time. My airport standby started at 7.45pm and after waiting for 20 minutes for a bus, I was told that there was no bus coming. See, when there's a flight, a bus arrives to pick up the crew - but when there's no flight, there's NO BUS. I was told to catch a taxi (which if we catch to work, we're not covered for lateness) and discovered that the taxi driver had NO IDEA how to get me to the crew airport. I usually sit with my eyes closed on the bus with my ipod on, so I also had no idea how to get there. With my blood pressure quickly rising and only 40 minutes to get through peak hour traffic to work, I started to panic.

I was smack in the middle of Sheikh Zayed Road, in the middle of all the beeping, swerving, jolting action and I was FREAKING OUT. The driver could obviously sense my levels of extreme nervousness, had a chuckle and asked what time I needed to get there. He then scoffed at my reply and informed me I had no chance. Lateness for a duty usually results in being marked absent, or worst case scenario - a month of can use, which is reserve.

With horrid thoughts of yet another month of no flying hours and an endless summer not filled with surfing, but with standby, I was completely on edge and hooned into work 15 minutes late. And you know what? No one even cared! I guess if there's no bus, they can't blame us for being late. So I did the rounds of work, visited the mail room, the staff shop, bought a juice, finished a book, kicked off my shoes and listened to my ipod and lounged on the couch. NOTHING. No one was called at all. We all sat there like shags on rocks for three hours and then got driven home in the audi's that are usually reserved for the pilots. All in a day's work!

While I've had ample time to work on my ever-deepening tan, I do feel a need to be productive and actually do some work. Which probably explains why I turned into a domestic goddess yesterday and baked a batch of banana muffins with lemon icing and a batch of vege muffins as well. For any of you who are languishing in Dubai on endless reserve days or are just bored, here's the recipe for banana cake/muffins:

* 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
* 3/4 cup of milk
* 2 1/4 cups of self raising flour
* 1 cup of sugar
* 1 teaspoon bi-carb soda
* pinch of salt
* 2 tablespoons of soft margarine or butter
* 2 eggs - beaten
* 3 large mashed bananas

* Optional: 1/2 cup of chopped macadamia nuts & 1/2 a cup of sultanas

Thicken milk with lemon juice, sift flour into large bowl. Add sugar, soda and salt. Add butter, milk & mashed bananas and mix well. Add eggs & optional nuts / sultanas.

Bake in a moderate oven (140 degrees) for about 30-35 minutes.

My roster stalking has paid off - I've managed to claw my way onto a Brissie trip that leaves Dubai on the 2nd, and then another trip home that leaves here on the 17th. Two trips home in one month is absolutely unheard of, so I'm counting my lucky stars and planning all the Aussie things I'm going to buy when I get there. Bed sheets, perinaise sauce, hair bands - all the boring stuff you can't get in Dubai. Then I've got cuddles with the cats, cool winter mornings and walks with Rusty my dog. I can't wait!

No comments: