Transit: Dubai International Airport
Two hours to go before my connecting flight to New Delhi and here I am waiting at the cavernous Terminal 3 of the Dubai International Airport with a heavy sense of deja vu. Memories of my Saudi Arabian days come back to me as I've transited here several times on my way to/from the Philippines. There's the Arabic signage and PA announcements, the men wearing thobe and guthra and the women in abaya. There's the flashy duty free shops with everything money can buy, including yet another raffle for luxury cars. If Dubai's airport Terminal 3 is more flamboyant now than the Terminal 1 I saw in the past, imagine what downtown Dubai currently looks like. So much changes in just a decade. More importantly for me, this is OFW heaven: thousands of Filipino workers make a living in the emirate of Dubai just like in Saudi Arabia. In fact, I have friends who work here (but not enough time to meet them unfortunately). The moment I stepped off the Emirates A380 plane from New York (that's another story!), a smiling Filipino was there in charge of the airbridge. "Kabayan!" What a familiar greeting indeed. I somehow feel a reconnection, having been an OFW myself previously. If there's one thing that sets apart Pinoys in the Middle East, it's that immediate sense of kinship no matter where in the Philippines one comes from. How I miss the days when I worked in this part of the world!