Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Goodbye Dubai

Not long now until I board the plane and say goodbye to Dubai for a while. Rhonda SHOULD already have taken off by now and I hope we can be reacquainted without too many headaches on the other side. I will arrive armed with biscuits, water and lots of patience just to be on the safe side!

Getting her on the flight was only complicated by the missing paperwork incident! Paperwork that SHOULD have been given to me on arrival at the port. Paperwork that was required to get Rhonda out of the country. It was an import form that was in addition to the import stamp on my carnet and clearly something I had no idea about until it was requested by the customs officer at the airport.

We had spent all day packing Rhonda, getting her to the airport, getting her passed by the Dangerous Goods Inspector and the Customs Inspector and just as I thought I could see the finishing line, I was stopped dead in my tracks. The final stamp of approval would not be given unless I had my import
form and to get that I was told I would need to take the bike back to the port!

I refused point blank! There was no way I was going to undo what we had just done! That was just one step too far for me! After much debate, I left the airport without Rhonda and armed with the customs officers mobile number. I was going to attempt to get it without showing them the bike again and get the port to call this number if they wanted proof it was there.

I was grateful to have one of Martins drivers with me. He made life a lot easier, helping with translation and actually getting me between the port and the airport. All of which would have been a royal pain in the neck otherwise.

The port customs eventually agreed to give me the paperwork but made me pay the customs fees again! I was not at all happy about this as it was their error in the first place. However, I was left with no choice and eventually paid the money. "Welcome to Dubai" I said and as I turned to walk out I pointed at the Customs and Values Mission Statement on the wall, which I had personally read 3 times whilst waiting for my paperwork. "Perhaps you should read that again!" I said defiantly. It was all I had!

Two hours later and we were walking out of the airport, paperwork sorted and Rhonda scheduled for the next available flight. Job done! This was my only minor headache in Dubai.

Life has been easy for the last 2 weeks. Martin has made sure of that and it has felt like being at home, expect at home I don't have marble floors, house maids and a driver! Come to think of it, I don't have the desert outside my front door or a view of the Burj Kalif from my roof but you know what I mean! I have felt relaxed and amongst friends. I even managed to get a few home cooked meals in! There was no packing and unpacking, no searching for places to sleep and the only drama was on the telly. It has been a welcome break.

Now though, it is time to move on and although I am a little nervous of the change, as ever,  I am excited to be getting back in the saddle and I am looking forward to the delights of India. Soon I will see for myself what the traffic is like, what the monsoon season is like and most of all what the people are like.  I am ready to take the rough with the smooth and I'm sure there will be lots of both.

Dubai gave me the opportunity to prepare and I have invested in some body armour so I don't need to wear my jacket all the time. I now also have a camel pack so I can keep hydrated, and several new t shirts, thanks to the Bikers Cafe and Dubai Riders who were so welcoming during my stay here.

Dubai is definitely a one off kind of place and I look forward to returning to see my new friends again. Next time though, it will be during the winter when the weather is cooler and the riding is longer!

See you in India! 


  1. Good luck with your journey, Steph!


    George (South Africa)

  2. Looking forward to the India updates..... well every update really :)

  3. Well done mate.. be safe in India.

  4. what your are doing with this CRF-L is great. An exemple for all of us !!
    Good ride !
    nb: I've the same motorcycle

  5. Excellent! Have fun , Steph. Looking forward to the next update!

  6. It seems to me you are travelling around taking advantage of selective peoples generosity.
    My wife wrote a email to your gmail and you did not even bother a reply, she was looking forward to meeting and talking to you while you were in Dubai. As she has ridden around central Asia, India, Bangladesh, etc. etc. so could have been advantageous to you.
    You are so lucky not to be locked up for the way you said you talked to the customs official.
    Hope you change your attitude so you arrive home safely

  7. well, being one of those people that has been taken advantage of in Dubai as Anon has said, I feel very privileged to have met Steph, as has my many Biking friends here in Dubai, and I'm sure Dubai and the UAE in general being a Multicultural and Tolerant society it is, can forgive a lady that's travelled 8,000 miles around the World through many countries, for being more than a little tired with red tape, and for possibly not answering all her emails.
    cadw ar Truckin Steph!.

    1. Thanks for replying in my absence Martin. Appreciate it. I have now replied on the other post where the same comment was posted xxx