Coffee beans growing in the garden, when they are red they are ripe and ready to send to roast in a local coffee bean roasting shop. If they are green they are underipe and black means they are overdone.
After the rush of the transfer, we were delighted and surprised to see our rucksacs. (One nil to Guy on carousel challenge) Even more pleased to see a man with a board which had Alison Roberts written on it. He drove us calmly with minimal horn honking at oncoming buses to our homestay where we were wonderfully greeted with jasmine flower garlands, coconut bindis and lime juice by our gracious hostess. Our bags were taken to our spotless room and we had time to relax before and amazing lunch of south Indian food on a banana leaf. The food was delicious, colourful, spiced and eaten very messily with the hand despite the offer of cutlery.
After lunch we were shown round the organic garden which we were both looking forward to. The tour was carried out by Tara, the daughter of the Homestay owner and was fascinating. She showed us black pepper, curry leaf, sweet potatoes, coffee, ginger, tumeric, all spice, clove, cardamon, vanilla, nutmeg, lemongrass, passion fruit, star fruit, cinnamon, bananas, pineapple, snakebeans and gourds. They also keep bees, chickens, turkey, goats, cows and water buffalo. Whilst on the tour, the kitchen chef was out collecting veg for tea and we would also have water buffalo yogurt with the evenings curry.
We transfered flights in Dubai and before leaving knew we had a 2 & 1/2 hour wait. However our plane out was delayed by one hour fifteen, halving our time there. As we descended into Dubai, flight announcements told us to board our outgoing flight at least 45 mins before take off and that boarding would close 20 mins before. Our flight out was at 2.45am. We touched down at 2am. We disembarked and briskly walked to transfers. We kept walking. “Wow, Dubai is a big airport” we nervously laughed. We got to transfers. Other less relaxed passengers we shouting at an attendant “this way, this way” he calmly replied. We walked further, pace picking up all the time. Finally we turned a corner and saw a security check. Bags down, belts off, pockets emptied. We waited less than patiently. Bags grabbed, belts grabbed, change recovered. Up a flight of stairs at the double to be faced with a departure board that reported that our flight wasn’t delayed but was on a final call. This is when we started shouting “Gate B6, Gate B6” loudly at each other with no sense of English reserve. Al spotted a sign and we began to sprint at full pelt through the airport in a way that didn’t show 7 hours of inactivity drinking G&Ts and watching movies in economy class. We dodged peaceful shoppers and cornered round perfume sellers until red in the face we came upon B3 and B4. “B6, B6” we started shouting again until I saw an empty gate with no queue and staff packing up. Helloooo I wheezed at the departure staff, waving my boarding pass at them.
We were so relieved when we got on the plane, it took a few moments to notice the lady sat next to Al had a child on her lap. The toddler was breast fed and had a nappy change in her seat before we took off. I was just thankful I only had a broken seat.
Leaving lagers, farewell ales and “see you in March” shots are all sunk. Bags finally packed, online check-in completed and one more sleep to go.
A really long journey starts with lots of visa applications