Day 1: Takeoff

Toronto to Abu Dhabi 13 hrs

I told the ticket counter I had a hip replaced recently and needed more leg room. So they gave me the emergency exit and asked, "Are you able to help in the case of emergency?" I just told them I'm a cripple and they ask me if I can be a Navy Seal if needed!

We arrived at 3 am Toronto time, but in AD it was 11am. And with a 10 hour wait for the next leg to Bangkok, there was time to find a cab and see the sights.

Moments later while sipping a Costa Coffee Cappucino, an under the radar fixed rate cabbie made his pitch for about $33/hour, he would take us anywhere."How about the second biggest mosque in the world?" says Kate. And we were on our way.

There are separate entrances for "males" and "females", the latter having to wear abayas (black robe with hood) before entering the grounds. Both genders had to undergo security checks that stopped just short of strip searches, more stringent than the airports!

Separate entrance!

Separate entrance!

So Katy gets channelled off to the dungeon for cloaking, while I sauntered in with the fairest skin within 20 furlongs and no sense of where to go. I couldn't find Kate so I wandered like a tourist in world revered and awed by millions while I could only muster interest in the architecture. This is the second largest mosque in the world behind Mecca itself!

I wander about taking pics and wondering what we'd do for dinner, all the while looking for Katy...who was also looking for me. But who knew she was required to don the black cloak, known as 'abaya', complete with a hood. Only by chance did I spot the ends of blond locks and some neon Nikes that made me look again and call her. What if it wasn't her and some sheik with one of those big curved swords thought I wolf-whistling one of his wives?


Back in the cab, to the airport, and off to Bangkok for the next 6 hour journey.