Wednesday, 12 October 2016

In Dubai, part three...

I didn't want to check out of the hotel if I'm honest. Or rather I wanted to check out and get home, but I also wanted some time in the heat. It was nice being out in the sun so I decided, based on the fact that I didn't have to be out and on my way immediately, to wander over to the metro station and buy myself a one-way ticket to Terminal One of Dubai's international airport, 14 dirhams.

Gits welcomed? I didn't have time to find out.
Ticket purchased I ambled back to my hotel, past the Pizza Express and the Café Nero and lingering awhile to take a photograph of the Gitex exhibition entrance hall. Gitex. An exhibition for Gits? No, it was something to do with technology, like most things these days. I got back to my room, realised I didn't have to be at the airport until around 1145 and moseyed on over to the supermarket to buy a lock for my suitcase. I didn't want anybody to steal my Lipton's teabags.

I checked out and headed for the metro again. It was even hotter than earlier, hotter than it will ever be in the UK, I thought.

"The train for Rashidiya will arrive on the Rashidiya platform," said a voice. "The train for UAE Exchange will arrive on the UAE Exchange platform." Seemed pretty straightforward to me. I boarded the former and around 20 minutes later arrived at Terminal One. The trek home had begun. I found my way to the check-in where I met a girl from Syria. Her brother was still in Aleppo, she told me as she checked in my bag. She was living here in Dubai and her parents were in Turkey, but she wasn't Arabic. I wished her (and her brother) well and continued to security where I had to take my shoes off (thanks, I think, to a dirham in my trouser pocket). But all went smoothly and soon I found myself in the familiar surroundings of perfume and booze and raffles for top-of-the-range sports cars. It all leaves me cold so I searched around for somewhere to sit down. I didn't want loads to eat and turned down a Wolfgang Puck gourmet pizza offering, not to mention KFC and McDonald's, but I settled for a Lebanese beer, Almaza, in (of all places) a Giraffe restaurant. I couldn't bring myself to order any food. In fact, I'm considering another Almaza before I make my way to the gate, which is now open.

Almaza Lebanese beer at Dubai airport
It's very peaceful here, there's not that many people around and if I'm honest with you, I'm looking forward to boarding the plane and heading home. I've ordered another Almaza, because it's nice, but there's little more to write about, you're right up to date and I feel like Gromit, the dog, sitting on that toy locomotive in The Wrong Trousers, throwing down the track in front of the train. In other words, I'm right up to the second here; I'm sitting in Giraffe, my second Alamaza has arrived, music is playing in the background, there's no more than four people in the restaurant and I'm just chilling, thinking back to the Ibis World Trade Center Hotel, which was good. Did I have any complaints? Not really, although I wish that I'd made use of its Cubo restaurant. I saw the menu this morning for the first time and it was fine (pizza, pasta, the usual stuff, but just what the doctor ordered).

My gate is open, according to the sign in the restaurant, but there's nothing worse than going to the gate early and having to sit around waiting to board. I hope the plane back is a jumbo, like on the way out, because I pre-booked an exit seat so I could get the leg room. I've also got a window seat as most of the flight back will be in daylight and it's good to see what's happening. I'm looking forward to the airline food, the little bottle of wine (I always ask for two) and it's just a shame they don't have any Island Bakery Lemon Melts, like they did on a recent flight to Vienna. Still, you can't have everything.

British Airways' in flight meal – my idea of luxury
The old Almaza is going down nicely and I know that if I had more time I'd probably order another, but I don't want to push it. Besides, I've got to leave room for my airline meal, something involving chicken, no doubt, but that's what I like. I love British Airways, by the way. Everything about the airline is good: the planes, the pilots, with their Biggles-esque way of talking, the cabin crew, the food, everything. They're brilliant. "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome aboard this British Airways flight to London Heathrow. My name is Captain Roger Finnegan and with me on the flight deck this morning is first officer Peter Throughton. Our flying time to London is six hours and fifty minutes and the flying conditions are good all the way. The weather in London? Not as hot as here in Dubai, in fact it's considerably cooler, a bit of light cloud...".

A wonderful flight home to Heathrow...
But I'm not there yet. I'm still in Giraffe, sipping on my Almaza and writing this here blog post. In addition to the Liptons black tea I've bought in bulk, I've also purchased a box of Lipton's Spices and Mint, perfect.

You know what? There's only so much to say and I think I've run out. Alright, I could talk for England. I could go on about all sorts of stuff, but what's the point? So I'm going to sign off and go find my plane. It's at Gate D2 and I'm in seat 30A. I love Giraffe, though, especially this one here in Dubai Terminal One, because it's peaceful, laid back, virtually empty. You know what? I could stay here all day just 'chatting' like this and drinking Almaza. But I'd better go, my flight takes off in under an hour and I have no idea how long a walk it is to the gate.

I was reading an article by the American author Douglas Coupland in last weekend's Guardian. He was talking about where he writes. It seems that writing in hotel rooms and on planes is where it's at these days, certainly for Coupland, and I really get that. Hotel rooms are great places to write. Not sure about planes, but I'd add places like Giraffe, where you get left alone with a beer or two and can write until your heart's content, like I'm doing now. Right, it's now saying my flight is boarding, so I'm off. Laters!

Windsor Castle from the air as we approach Heathrow T5...

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