Published: February 8th 2012February 1st 2012
The obligatory duty-free shoppe
The Dubai airport is a large world-class facility with perhaps 150 gates. It is abuzz with tourists from all over the world. It has many high-end boutiques and shops, but the most prominent store is the huge duty free area. It has everything from chocolates to liquors, electronics, perfumes, etc., plus an entire small shop dedicated to Cuban cigars. Although Gujarat is a dry state we know that a few of our Indian friends like to have a small stash of Johnny Walker hidden for special visitors and special occasions. So, we now had a purpose to shop. We picked up two half-liters of Johnny, plus a half of gin for one friend who especially likes Brittish traditions.
Even though we were flying Emirates Airlines we could tell that the boarding crew was following standard Indian protocal for handling customers, i.e. lots of official time consuming and inconvenient procedures as possible. To wit, the flight waiting area was closed to travelers until 30 minutes before boarding time. This meant we had to scrounge for seats in the general area of our gate until the waiting area opened. To add injury to insult, we then had to wait in line and
Kutch Tourist Sign
I\'n not sure that tourists will flock to the barren salt flats shown in the ad. There are much more interesting things to see there.
present our tickets to enter the waiting area. We then had to wait in line to enter the plane, etc.
The plane was a standard wide-body in decent condition, and our flight was uneventful. When we deplaned in Ahmedabad's six-month old "new" airport (think Philadelphia Airport ala 1960) we hiked through cavernous marble-tiled hallways to the main terminal and baggage claim area. Although the place was huge it was devoid of shops, except for one obligatory duty-free shop about the size of a small convenience store. Oh, there was also a lighted billboard inviting tourists to vist the barren salt flats of Kutch.
It took perhaps twent-five to clear customs ... noot too bad. It took another hour for our bags to arrive on the carousel. No problem though because Indians love to chat, especially with foreigners. When we finally got our bags we learned we had to wait another thirty minutes in line to get each suitcase, carry-on, handbag, and any other package x-rayed. This is apparently the "efficient" way to uncover any contraband we might be carrying.
Fortunately, Ilaben was waiting for us outside the terminal. Her son, Collind, drove us to their home. We were beat. We crashed.