The long way home - travel & quarantine
Many people worldwide dream of going for a typical holiday like before the COVID-19 pandemic to enjoy the beach views and breathtaking natural sites.
However, we never know what surprising things could happen if we decided to travel during this pandemic. I was praying the whole year to have my holiday with my family in Abu Dhabi. However, I never thought that my holiday would lead to all these complicated issues.
I arrived in Dubai on the 20th of December to see my parents and relatives after a long time. I was waiting for that moment because I wasn’t sure if I could ever travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. During the first two weeks, I was wearing the quarantine bracelet. They didn’t allow me to step outside the house except for taking the regular COVID-19 tests.
After the long quarantine days, they took off the bracelet and finally allowed me to step outside and enjoy the beautiful places. I spent fantastic days and hours visiting all the sites that reminded me of my childhood. On the 27th of January, we were ready to go back to London, and so we packed our stuff and headed to the airport.
After finishing our checking in at the airport and having a warm goodbye from my family, we walked to the airport gate. At the boarding, they checked my COVID-19 test papers, passport, and BRP cards. The gentleman looked at me surprisingly and told me, “Ma’am! There is an error in your daughter’s BRP card. I looked at him paralysed, then he said, “Please wait here, we have to check if you can travel.”
After a couple of minutes, they told me that I couldn’t be on my flight, and they guided me from one office to another, trying to solve the issue, either to travel or to stay in the UAE. After seven hours of waiting at the airport with my kids without anything to eat, tired and exhausted, they gave us one extra day to stay in the UAE. However, if we couldn’t solve this issue during this day, we have to extend our visas for another month.
My husband in the UK started working on this case immediately after knowing our situation at the airport. He contacted the local MP, who raised this issue on the spot. They were accommodating and considering the complication that we faced here. Now it’s the end of February, and till now, we are waiting patiently, not knowing what will happen, and my visa in UAE will need to be extended after a couple of days.
Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid allowed those struggling to go back to their countries to extend their visas for one extra month without any fees. This was an addition to his ultimate generosity, which all citizens and residents know for life.
Another issue that made my journey more complicated is that there are still no direct flights to the UK. One can imagine how hard it can be to take transit flights alone with 3 kids and many heavy bags. Besides, when I hopefully make it to the UK, I will be quarantined for 10 days in a hotel alone and with the kids!
I’m standing here on the beach looking at all these free seagulls wishing to be a free one like them, again!
By Hind Khalid Al Dulaimi
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