From the little I could see as I craned my neck almost out of the plane window, Dubai is a LOT bigger than it was the last time I was here. And that got me thinking.
In 2003 I landed here from Britain on October 9. Today, October 16 - exactly seven years and one week later - I'm back in the Middle East again. Who'd have thought? In some ways I didn't imagine it would take me this long to return, and in other respects I can't quite believe I'm here for the second time.
So let us not dwell too much on that. Here are some brief facts and figures to amuse you.
It's seven am and dawn is just breaking here. The flight only took 13 hours and we flew direct instead of breaking in Singapore at Changi as I had expected we would. When I disembarked here and found my way to the bathroom, there were 23 women in the queue ahead of me, and I waited 9 minutes to get in. A cafe latte to ameliorate my splitting caffeine withdrawal headache cost 16 dirhams, around $4.50 - even more expensive than Melbourne! There is free wifi in the airport so this post is costing me exactly zero dollars, dirhams or dinars.
I have 45 minutes to wait before the next leg of the journey.
I am 92% excited about what lies ahead over the course of the next three months, and 8% wetting my knickers with apprehension. But I am 100% confident that whatever happens, this will be a fantastic experience - one way or another.
I am 11,715 kilometres from home.