I know I should have slept on the flight, especially given that it was an overnighter and would have really helped stave off jet lag, but then they have so many awesome films on demand. How can I sleep through that?! As a self-confessed movie addict the whole point of a flight for me – other than the obvious, doh – is to catch up on some serious marathon film consumption. I am not sure that my choices were particularly worthy of celebration but hey ho, they were darn entertaining so who cares. (in case you’re looking for a couple of movies to waste some time then Maverick Riders and Pitch Perfect were both adequately entertaining – epic surf and a decent music mashup! What’s not to love?!)
Anyway, major digression – I blame the mild jet lag as I write this – so back to the main narrative. At last I have arrived in Dubai. After all of the preparation, recent delays and the near miss at the airport, it was awesome to finally touch down, pick up my nice new employment visa and march on out of the airport to kick off the adventure. Chandy, who works for the clinic I am now employed by, collected me – a true sight for sore eyes – and I know that pretty much every taxi driver in the area let out a big collective sigh of relief as I promptly loaded up the car with the mother of all bike boxes – honestly, that thing is HUGE!
Now I am not going to bore you with descriptions of the weather so lets just assume that it was hot and sunny, which would be a good default assumption to make. The first port of call was to complete the obligatory health screen, which all new workers have to do. This involved a surprisingly quick blood sample – given that this was the first sample I have ever had taken, I will admit that I was somewhat nervous about the whole process as majorly wussy as that sounds. The truth is that I am more than happy blood sampling patients but the thought of having a needle plunged into my own vein had always freaked me out. The fact that I barely noticed the sample being taken has reshaped my views and I really wish I had grown a pair whilst back at home and donated blood. The mind truly is a powerful machine!
So, blood sample done it was off to the radiography department next for a quick chest X-ray, again all achieved in record fast time. Sweet! Health check, um, check. Next on the list was my first taste of a supermarket in the city to stock up on the basic essentials of life, principally an Emirati SIM card. You know you’re definately a child of the digital age when the first things you concern yourself with upon arriving someplace is a) whether you can get online and b) how to get cell reception. Dubai is like most other cities in the world in as much as getting a PAYG SIM is soooooo simple. 40 AED and a 50 AED credit top up later, I was the proud new owner of my very own Emirati cell number. Woo hoo! How to start feeling at home.
One of the things that its probably going to take a couple of weeks to get used to is the fact that over here, Sunday is a normal working day as the weekend takes in Friday and Saturday inclusive. As such, many of the people I immediately sent text messages to were at work – a reminder that Sunday is the new Monday 🙂 Not that it applies to me quite yet, as I am currently sat writing this in shorts, T-shirt and flip-flops – in sharp contrast to the thermals I was having to wear all of last week back home in Norfolk! Winter Sun: loving it already 😉
If you are looking to make the move over to Dubai then its a great idea to bring several photocopies of your passport, as to get things like a cell number requires you to provide ID, a copy of which they keep. Copies of any visas would also be a smart idea, for the exact same reasons.