The time has come for me to put my traveling shoes in the closet and wear the outfit that best suits my profession. It has been like ages that I haven’t practiced my profession. Thus, I started a new life on a new land equipped with the knowledge I gained from the degree I finished during my college years.
The genesis of a new chapter of my book called LIFE started when I boarded the plane heading to the hottest and deserted place on earth. It was also the first time that I got to travel abroad but not for leisure, instead to work. My odyssey to an independent life began and I admit that I cried a lot of times.
Well, my journey began when I got in the plane going to DMM with a layover in BAH. My flight from Manila was at 1210H in NAIA Terminal 1. I don’t want to say any bad comments about our airport but I can’t help it and it was really disturbing. There were no seats, very small as you considered it an international hub, not well-organised, and the lighting is dim. I am hoping that when I’ll come back, it’ll be a delightful sight to see. But let’s go back to my journey, it was very exhausting flight for it took me 8 hours from MNL to BAH. Bahrain is in the Middle East, a small island country in the Persian Gulf and is behind 5 hours compared to the time in the Philippines with the capital of Manama. Bahrain International Airport (BAH) is one of the many ways you can visit this country, other route is thru King Fahd Causeway connecting from Al Khobar in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Our plane landed in BAH at around 1635H and I was kinda surprised since the air temperature just rose making me sweat like a pig (oops, pork is haraam/illegal in an Arabian country). I looked on the small window of the plane and I see no trees or any greenery at all, I was about to cry and have thought what am I doing here but I faced the challenge I have in front of me, by the way, my air courier is Gulf Air.
I went out of the plane and thru the tube went directly to airport control gate for my next flight going to my last destination. Since they told me that the plane is already boarding at Gate *** which I forgot what gate it was and when I arrived on the said gate it was another plane going to DXB/ Dubai, UAE. So, I was kinda worried that my flight might leave without me since I only have 15-min transfer time, good thing, there were Filipino staff working in the airport and directed me to the right gate. Tension was released when I sat on my allotted seat and after 5 mins, the plane flew and left the ground. Flight from BAH to DMM lasted only for 45 mins.
DMM is an airport located in Dammam which is in the eastern region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The DMM IATA airport code is known to everyone as King Fahd International Airport. When I got off the plane, I went directly to immigration office. At the immigration gate, I was already shocked with the airport staff on how they treated their customers, they were just drinking tea, talking and the queue of customers were getting longer and longer. I arrived at 1745H but got out from the airport around 2100H, see, how slow they were and their customer service sucks. With what happened to me, I can compare how Filipinos value foreign people. But, I know that I don’t have the right to complain since this is not my territory.
On my way to my accommodation, I was looking around and all I see were sands, I can really say that I am already in a desert and this is reality. I was thinking what would be life here in this kingdom. It was still hot even though it was 2200H at night. When I arrived at my flat, it was all dusty which I gave time to clean and after that, I took a shower and to my surprise, the water coming out from the shower were steamin’ hot and it was already midnight. But I still got my shower after that very long trip. I slept and got up at around 0600H, the sky was not inviting at all. There were no clouds on the painted blue sky and I still pondered that I need to be brave and just enjoy my journey here.
Leaving my comfort zone and living a life alone in a strange land took a toll on my health. In just few weeks, I lose 10 kilos due to homesickness and might be culture shock too since their food are way too depressing to be eaten with the looks and the taste of their food. I can definitely say that my journey has both advantages and disadvantages but it appeared that the disadvantages outweighed the good things. I love to travel and traveling is my passion but here in Saudi Arabia, it is hard to do that since safety is questionable. For now, I’m still battling this great trepidation I have in this country to overcome the biggest obstacle that I am currently facing ahead.