Travel: Thoughts on Dubai Airport


They have cars on the duty free shopping floor.
Stepping off the plane into the desert heat feels a lot like my trips to Asia – that rush of warmth that smacks you in the face when you step out of the plane air conditioning and out onto the aerobridge feels very much like Hong Kong – right down to the HSBC advertising on the way up to the terminal and the slow reintroduction of air conditioning. There are a few key differences though – the heat here is dry, and not as sweat inducing as the Asian humidity. It’s also already pushing 30 degrees Celsius at 6 AM in the morning. Only up from here I guess.

They have cars on the duty free shopping floor.

The first store I pass is Hermes, followed closely by Chanel. I then see Hugo Boss and Armani Jeans and I’m wondering if I’m actually at an airport or in a luxury megamall with really bad plastic seating and a distinct lack of tables. To be fair, Dubai is the capital of the United Arab Emirates, one of the richest nations on the planet (oil) and luxury goods in the (almost) exclusive Emirates (and recently Qantas) only terminal is understandable. Still, I was hoping for more than your average selection of duty free, ubiquitous high end luxury goods with their typical tricks of turning the air conditioning up to freezing in an attempt to sell woollen trenchcoats, and a selection of Chinese technological battlers like Lenovo and Huawei. The only thing I find remotely tempting is a pack of cards, which instantly reminds me that I forgot to bring my Cards Against Humanity deck to face off against my European friends with. Or Once Upon a Time. Or Gloom. I should have brought one of them… sigh.

But yeah, they have cars on the duty free showroom floor. Apparently it’s some kind of competition (thanks Facebook friends), which I don’t investigate. But shipping must be a bitch. It’s always bad trying to judge countries by their airports, and I don’t really have much time to, as even arriving 30 minutes early, I still need to go through baggage scanning, where I appreciate past me’s decision not to pack knitting needles into carry-on luggage. Admittedly that would have been a more productive use of my on board time, but all up I consider 5-6 hours of sleep and four movies to be time reasonably well spent – Ant Man was great. Far better than Age of Ultron (seriously, Marvel, if you get Joss Whedon, let him tell the story he wants, okay? It’ll be better), and I finally got around to seeing Inside Out, Pitch Perfect 2 and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Also, aircraft food got immensely better than it was last time I flew international on Qantas, and suddenly we have non static inducing blankets, which is a winner as far as I’m concerned. Also, big thanks to the check in lady who swapped out my seat selection without my knowledge and moved me to the upper deck with an empty seat beside me. No crying kids, quick to board and alight and you made my trip. As of the time of writing, I’m sitting down the tail end of an Emirates A380 bound for Munich, wondering if I’ve beaten the Oktoberfest rush. There’s about 30 minutes to take off (go figure that one. EK board early), and I’m hearing a lot of German accents and seeing a lot of Asian faces – the former not really your typical Oktoberfest traveller and the latter not known for heavy drinking. Or at least, not at the ages of the little old ladies who are streaming aboard. I wonder if I should pull out the German phrasebook I picked up and attempt to read it or if that’ll make me look like a knob. Ah well. Concerns for another time. You’ll find out how that goes when I’m next able to post. I always start thinking I’m going to blog, and then I stop on account of life being busy.

In any case: note to self – come back and explore Dubai someday. Maybe I’ll hate it, or maybe I’ll love it, but I should allow myself the chance to find out.