Over the Christmas holiday I was quite busy with a variety of things: preparing for the travel to India, fixing loose ends on a variety of work-related things, for example marking students' work, setting up a website for an unrelated project, and working on two music projects. For the "Rivers Movement" I had taken on the challenge to put into music a poem by David Wilders which he had created for this project: "The River Aire - From Source to Castleford". In October he presented this during the workshop series in Castleford, and I had begun to translate this into music. But I had not gotten much beyond the Malham Cove... Now for our travel to India I wanted to complete this, to "perform" it at some events there. But time was running out... I had to complete all the work for the university during the two days 4. and 5. January when I was at work. and could devote no time during the day to the composition. Only in the evenings I could do some, and it progressed very slowly. So I decided to shorten the poem and at least create a music which is in itself complete, with a proper ending rather than the fragment I had before. This was finished at 23:00 on 5.January, the night before the travel. Finally I could then start packing. That was done at 2:00am. Then some final work on that web page for the "Connecting Enterprising Women" organisation - completed at 4:00am. Time for some sleep. Getting up at 6:30, leaving for Leeds train station at 8:00. The Leeds Tourist Office there is closed until 9:00; I had hoped to get some presents for our friends in India, but now I have to wait until the store opens. I find a few things there and stuff them into my suitcase.
The train leaves on time at 9:25. Brian already has been waiting at the platform. I still have to complete two reviews for a conference and one for a journal... I take my laptop out and work on these during the ride to Manchester Airport.
As we enter the check-in hall in Terminal 1 around 11:00, there is a huge line: it is the one for the check-in to Emirates Airways. An Emirates employe distributes a paper, in which the latest problem is explained. Just like when the volcano had erupted... The paper states that the outbound flight to Dubai is delayed by 5 hours. We go to the baggage drop queue which is much shorter than the general check-in queue. But it moves very slowly, about 10 me per hour as I am going to find out. At around 12:30 we finally are at the counter. Since we have a connecting flight from Dubai which we will miss, we have to be rebooked. Not many flights to Ahmadabad, either the same day at 23:05, or next night at 4:25. We are now all being re-booked on the 23:05 flight, and Emirates will provide a hotel accommodation where we can rest during the day. Which means we will now arrive a day later in Ahmadabad, but we will have an opportunity to see Dubai.
One problem comes up when my suitcase is checked-in: 34 kg is definitely over the limit - Emirates has a 30kg limit, which is already quite generous. So I unpack some of the book presents and put them into Brian's light luggage - problem sorted.
We have a lunch at the "Giraffe" at MAN, and I complete the paper reviews. Then I finish some last updates of the CEW website, then I am finally done with all the loose ends. In the meantime I kept the world updated of our status through Twitter and Facebook. Which turned out to be very useful because our friends in India then already knew about our delay, before we gave them a phone call to alert them about our delay.
The flight took off at 19:45. I had never flown in the Airbus A-380 before. Feels very smooth and quiet. Nice are the outside-view cameras. Despite sitting at a window seat, I cannot get a GPS reception. Maybe the window opening is too small, maybe the class is covered with a shield. Maybe the wall insulation is just too thick - I cannot place the GPS receiver close enough to the window. So no flight tracking this time. I watch the movie "The Social Network", then doze a bit. We arrive in the early morning in Dubai, after a second night with very little sleep for me.