It took 36 hours, but I’m here!

I left my parent’s house on Tuesday, August 7 around 6pm. After a nice Thai dinner my mom and sister dropped me off at my hotel. It was a teary good bye, but I was so grateful to have those last few hours with them.

I awoke at 3:45am on Wednesday and headed to Portland International Airport (PDX). My flight left PDX at 7am and headed to JFK. I had no problems checking in and the Delta agent was actually able to check my luggage through to Abu Dhabi. I was so happy I wouldn’t have to lug them around JFK for five hours.

Upon arriving at JFK I headed for the Turkish Airlines counter. I was informed that I couldn’t check into my flight until 8pm. I was a little annoyed by this, as there really aren’t great places to spend eight hours in the public area of the airport. I was able to kill time though, and was grateful I only had my two carry-ons. I found a bar where I could watch the Olympics (so happy for Ashton Eaton!) and rode the terminal train around to different terminals.

Promptly at 8pm I headed to the Turkish Airline counter. Just as I got in line, I realized the people in front of me were my Oregon friends. I was excited to finally see someone I knew! While in line we caught up with a few other teachers. At the gate, we were joined by a few more. From JFK (after my eight hour layover) we flew to Istanbul, Turkey which was about a 10 hour flight. Another five hour layover in Istanbul (I’m dying to visit this city–not just it’s airport!) we had a nearly five hour flight to Abu Dhabi.

Upon arrival at the Abu Dhabi airport I was impressed with how nice it looked. The architecture is wonderful, domed exterior and beautiful tile work inside. We (the teachers and families on the flight from Istanbul) were now a pretty sizable group. We were greeted by two smiling representatives from the travel agency used by ADEC. They whisked us off to the retina scan area (a real life Mission Impossible moment!) and then to passport control and finally, off to pick up our bags. We were all through security so quickly I was shocked, I guess that is the benefit of arriving at 2am!

Our group was split into two sub groups based on our hotels. This, of course, led to much speculation about if there was any special reason for which hotel we were placed in. Wonder if we’ll ever know…

Some went to the Beach Rotana and the rest of us went to the Intercontinental. We were greeted at the Intercontinental with fresh juice and cold towels. We were given our room assignments and headed to our rooms. My bags arrived a few minutes later!

I took a few pictures of the room but only one really does it any justice.

And in case I was confused about where I was, just as I turned out the lights around 4:30am to finally sleep, I could hear the sweet sounds of the nearest mosque’s muezzin.

After a pretty solid four hours of sleep I took these pictures of the view from my room.

View from my room.


I have Friday and Saturday to just relax, recover from jet lag and get to know my fellow teachers. On Sunday, which is the beginning of the work week, we have our first orientation meeting. Looking forward to learning about where I’ll be living. Until then, I’m going to practice being in the heat and humidity!




About Andrea

I am teacher and traveler blogging my experiences living as an expat from the USA. From 2007-2012 I lived and worked in Oregon, USA. From 2012 (when I started blogging) to 2014, I lived and worked in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. In August 2014 I begin living and working in Santa Ana, Costa Rica.
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6 Responses to It took 36 hours, but I’m here!

  1. Martin Fullard says:

    Welcome at last! You are staying in THE best hotel in Abu Dhabi, the Intercon is awesome! The Belgian Cafe is my personal favourite and the Chamas restaurant is reputed as the best in the Emirates! Hopefully you will enjoy your stay there….now you play the placement waiting game! Good luck!

    • Hi! Actually went to both of the places on Friday. The dinner was very good (a bit spend though) at Chamas. Would go back for sure on the buy one, get one free night (wish I would have known about it before!). Got my placement today, I’ll be in Al Ain. So may be hitting you up for help and advice. First thing…are you still happy with Du for your cell??

      • Martin Fullard says:

        Yes, try and go with Du’s Elite plan, it’s brilliant. I have the AED 250 package which gives me 250 free nnational minutes, 250 free INTERNATIONAL minutes, 125 free nat SMS and 125 INTER SMS. It really is a good deal. Etisalat is far more expensive and the source of much of my hate. That’s mad that you’re going to be in Al Ain, it’s a small place (kind of) so I’m sure our paths will cross! Have you been told the name of the school you will be at?

      • Thanks! Is that the post-paid plan? I have to get pre-paid for now as I don’t have my ID yet. Not sure about the school yet, but will be visiting the complex tomorrow. ”If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

        ~John Wooden

        MY BLOG


  2. Martin Fullard says:

    For the initial pay-as-you-go business any of the 2 providers will do as they are about the same. Well, hopefully you will begin to see some of the things I have been writing about in the flesh! 🙂 Good luck

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