From Portsmouth toÂ India to Manchester, welcome to my hectic life '“Â Cheryl Gibbs
The last time I wrote my column I was in Udaipur, India, and today I write my columnÂ from a Flybe plane leaving Southampton airport for Manchester'¦what a difference a weekÂ makes!Â
When I wrote my column last week I was departing India for Abu Dhabi to finish filmingÂ another hotel, the last one on that particular trip.
Looking back, I can't believe what hasÂ happened in a week. We left India for Abu Dhabi and had to fly, via New Delhi, fromÂ Udaipur.
When we arrived inÂ Abu Dhabi we were all keen to get to our hotel, havingÂ already travelled a good 10Â hours or so door-to-door.
It'sÂ never the flight that's theÂ mostÂ exhausting part, but the travel toÂ and from the airport, the wait at the airport, and then going through security that takes forever.
When we arrived in UAE we did our usual process of declaringÂ our camera equipment to customs and that's where it all went terribly wrong.
To cut a longÂ story short '“ and it really is a long story '“ we were held at customs for several hours becauseÂ they refused to let our cameras in.
We ended up arriving at ourÂ hotel at 2am the following morning afterÂ a very exhausting two hour car driveÂ without our cameras.Â Unfortunately theyÂ wereÂ held at the airport.
It wasn't until we wokeÂ up the next day and pulled back the curtains did we realise exactly where we were '“ in theÂ middle of the largest desert in the world.
I have never seen anything like it and IÂ said out loud '˜oh wow!'
We were staying at the Qasr Al Sarab in the Empty QuarterÂ and I totally appreciated why it took so long from the airport to get there.Â
ItÂ genuinely is in the middle of nowhere and everywhere you look is, well, sand '“Â aÂ lot of it.
ItÂ was breathtaking and strange all at the same time.
We ended up having to hire cameras inÂ from Dubai and now, a week on, I'm sitting on a Flybe plane going to Manchester to get myÂ South African visa'¦this is just my life.
Finally managed to catch some shut-eye on the plane
We decided to leave ridiculously early to get to the airport in Abu Dhabi for our flight home. We were naturally very worried about whether we'd encounter the same problems going out as we did getting into the country.
We needn't have worried because it took a whole 10 minutes for them to return our cameras. With time toÂ kill, we googledÂ our airline, Air Belgium. I wished I hadn't because it has only been in operation since March andÂ has just four planes.Â
Â But I'm happy to report it was one of the best flights I've been on. ItÂ was empty so I spread across the middle four seats and slept for six hours.Â I've had worseÂ sleeps in my own bed!Â
It's all work, work, work, for me but I'm notÂ complaining!Â
As I said earlier, I'm writing this on the plane on my way to Manchester toÂ get myÂ South African visa. They'dÂ run out of appointments at the London office so theÂ crew and I have had to fly to Manchester and Edinburgh to get our applications in.
Â It's a mad rush because we leave for Kenya and South AfricaÂ on October 8. There'sÂ just a 13-day turn around between coming back and going again.
I can'tÂ wait to see Kenya '“ I've already been to Cape Town so know what to expect.
While I'm happy to be going back as South Africa is one of my favourite places, I'm so excited toÂ experience Kenya.
I just wish I was on holiday instead of working, but I can't complain canÂ I?