5 June 2012. After spending 8 hours flying from Johannesburg to Dubai, I had around 2 hours to kill at Dubai Airport. I love that airport as I have been there on several occasions: to India and back, to Greece, and back from Rome. I was in my element as I knew the layout of the terminal quite well, and knew exactly what I would want to buy and where I could find it. It was when I arrived there that I realized that my holiday had now begun. I did not want to buy anything, however, except food or something to drink, since I only had a little bag and it would be silly spending money at an airport when I still had 20 days of a holiday ahead of me.
My next mission was to find a free wifi zone. Its amazing how we value these things when we don’t have the luxury of a cellphone network. And no way in hell was I going to spend money on roaming. For those who have never been to Dubai airport, I can tell you now, the free wifi zone is at the shop where they sell all the DVDs and random electronic toys. Its quite a large shop and cannot be missed. The DVDs start right at the entrance to the shop. If you can’t find it, your cellphone probably will.
It was slightly awkward standing in that shop pretending to look at DVDs when I was actually emailing whoever I needed to, and Whatsapping the rest, letting them know that I had landed safely in Dubai and was due to leave in some time for London. I wandered around the shop, now and again glancing at my phone waiting for a reply on Whatsapp, while looking at boxsets like LOTR (which I already have), Harry Potter (which I also have), Charmed (I technically have that boxset too), and random movies that I liked. When I decided I had sent and received enough messages, I left the shop.
I figured I should scout for some dates that I could take back home, as I just wouldn’t have felt right leaving Dubai without getting at least something from the airport. I already have a magnet and some random items from Dubai so did not need to get something pricey. I was happy to find very nice dates at very nice prices too, so I made up my mind to get myself a box when I returned to Dubai on my way home after London.
After spending €5 on a frozen mocha from Starbucks, which was slightly insane since you can get it for half the price in SA, it was time to head to my gate. I know that Dubai is comprised mainly of foreigners, but it was still amusing to me seeing guys from India working at Starbucks. Nevertheless, I didn’t think the coffee was really worth that much! But I was thirsty as hell and I wanted coffee, so I just had to get it anyway.
Finally, the time came to sit in the marvellous A380. It was my first time being in one, and I was absolutely thrilled. I wasn’t sure how I would sleep during that flight (not that I can sleep on any flight, generally), but after meeting the people I had to sit next to, I really was hoping that I could sleep. It was a not-quite-middle-aged but not old either Indian couple. The lady looked at me so suspiciously, and even thought I had chosen a window seat months before my flight, I was now slightly regretting it as there was no way to get passed this lady if I needed the bathroom. I was just going to have to wait till I got to London.
One thing I did notice though that ICE on Emirates A380 is much better than on the normal A330 flights. It was newer and easier to navigate. The chair backs also had a USB port – excellent, I could charge my phone on the way back! Well, this was on the A330 too, so I knew they had made some improvements since I had only ever flown in an A330 before. There was significantly more room on this flight as well, including the space between my seat and the window. This did, however, make it more awkward to lean against the window to sleep. I could also cross my legs – something I couldn’t comfortably do before.
I love Emirates!