If you have been following my adventures so far, then you will know that I have embarked upon a trip around the world. This trip entails setting up a load of SQL Servers for my employer. For more details, see part one and part two.
I was unable to blog whilst in Dubai and Saudi Arabia, so I have a little catching up to do.
Dubai turned out to be the highlight of the trip so far. I was staying in the Mövenpick Hotel Ibn Battuta Gate. I managed to snag an extremely good deal on the hotel and upgraded to an executive room priced at 90 Euros a night. The hotel was absolutely brilliant and really proved the five star rating. The remainder of my trip will be comparing the other hotels to what was on offer in Dubai. I think it will be difficult to top though.
The roll-out has been pretty smooth so far. All those practice runs and copious notes seem to be paying off, who’d have thought!
Rolling into Saudi Arabia was a fun experience too. I landed at Dammam International Airport after a normal 90 minute flight from Dubai. The fun started at passport control, where I waited about 90 minutes to get processed. The men at the counters were rather lax in their work attitude, stopping to chat with their colleagues, smoke or just read a newspaper! I was luckily not waiting for a work-permit, some not so lucky Indians had already been waiting for 3 hours.
After finally collecting my suitcase, I went through to the arrivals lounge. It was then that I found out that no hotel and no pick-up had been arranged for me. Thus ensued a great deal of phoning around trying to find out who could help me out. As luck would have it, someone was still in the Dammam office. A car was sent to pick me up and a room was arranged for me at the Dhahran International Hotel. The hotel is a throw-back to the 70s (not a new hotel built to look that way). I’m sure I saw people with bell-bottom trousers and gold medaillions around their necks!
The roll-out in Dammam went equally smooth. The local IT man really looked after me while I was there. He took me to a couple of local restaurants for lunch, where I gorged on the brilliant arabian food on offer.
I then set off to my next destination – Kuala Lumpur. This was to be the longest leg of the trip so far, involving 3 flights. Dammam to Dubai, Dubai to Bangkok, Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur. I got to Dubai without any problems and treated myself to 3 hours of lounge access. I attacked the buffet and had a few beers to relax before the 6 hour flight to Bangkok.
The real fun started on the flight to Bangkok – Thai Airlines Flght TG 518. This will be burned in my brain until I die. I had a comfortable seat (32A) in a relatively new A330. The flight started nicely and I got stuck into the onboard film. Things changed when the food arrived. I tried the side salad (something with fish) and it didn’t taste right. 20 minutes later, my body decided that the fish really wasn’t right. I spent the remainder of the flight in a delirious cold sweat, running to the bathroom to throw-up. I can safely say, that was the longest 5 1/2 hours of my life.
The flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur was a little better as I fell into a deep sleep.
All is well again this morning. I setup the system in Kuala Lumpur and have a day off tomorrow. I hope to climb the Patronas Towers and take a look around the city before flying to Perth on Sunday.
So, time to shut up shop for the day and relax a little. I’m only half way round the world and the travelling and time difference are certainly taking their toll!