Volcano update: damn you, volcano

I am in Abu Dhabi. However, I am not staying here – post-logging off after my last wittering, I remembered that my friends Will and Jenny live across the bay in Doha, so I have a flight out there this evening and am trespassing massively on their hospitality until I can get home. (This isn't the first time I've trespassed on Will's generosity either; those of you with long memories may remember that he looked after El Mog before I moved into my flat. I have no idea how I'm ever going to repay either of them.)

I'm rather lucky to be in the Middle East at all – I got to Sydney airport yesterday morning to discover I'd been bumped off my flight (big sarcastic thumbs up to Etihad for not contacting me about that) because they were refusing to fly anyone out of Australia who they couldn't then connect up to Europe. And that 'two nights in a hotel' my parents had been told about by Etihad's London office? Nuh-uh. Either they changed their policy overnight or the London office had no idea what was going on.

Anyway… I went back to Helen's, got together an e-ticket for Doha and an agreement that I had somewhere to stay, and went back armed with enough documentation to prove I wouldn't be a burden on the airline in Abu Dhabi – to discover that I could only be on standby for the 10pm flight. Luckily I found the same guy I'd spoken to earlier, and I rather suspect the crestfallen look on my face prompted him to check the situation. They were bringing in remaining passengers from a cancelled Melbourne – Abu Dhabi flight but as it turned out, even with them, the Sydney plane was only about half full (let's hear it for getting a row to yourself. Sleep on a 15 hour flight = very important). And I was rather pleased to be on that plane, as pessimistic Etihad seem to think they'll be starting to cancel Sydney – Abu Dhabi flights soon, and that yesterday's 10pm flight could well have been my last chance to get out of Australia for 2-3 weeks.

This entire situation is insane. What are people who don't have friends to take advantage of doing?

I still think that, when airspace finally reopens, I'm in a better situation here. They'll clear the backlog at Abu Dhabi before starting to ship people in from across the world. (Right?) And also, have a thought for my parents – they were supposed to be flying to Egypt to begin a Nile cruise today, something my Mum has always wanted to do. It's ABTA protected so they'll get a refund and can rebook, but still… I may be stuck, but at least I had my holiday.

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