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Published: March 30th 2013
Burj Al Arab
We counted at least 16 nationalities amongst the cabin crew that joined the flight out of Sydney and they got down to business quickly once the plane had levelled out.By the time Broken Hill was below us they were serving another dinner.We thought about whether we should be eating two dinners in one night and then decided,yes,as it looked like it would be a while to breakfast with the 14 and a bit hour flight ahead of us.
The offering was different from the first dinner and again tasty.This new crew though were no different to the first and the offer of drinks came well after we had eaten.To be fair though we didn't need to participate in wine after midnight and settled for a juice instead.
Our surrounding passengers had changed in nationality too with the many Asians leaving in Sydney and picking up one of a number of flights heading to China and other Asian places we had heard being announced while we were in transit.They were now replaced by passengers who sounded Germanic or European at least.Where they were all heading for who knows but as Dubai has become a major airport hub it could have
GMB at the Mall of the Emirates
been any of the dozens of European cities Emirates fly to.
With Australia steadily being travelled over Gretchen settled down for a sleep and took her prescribed little blue pill and was soon out like a light.I wasn't quite ready for that as yet and so tuned in to watch the movie Lincoln thinking that the 2 and 1/2 hours would pass a reasonable chunk of the time to landing in Dubai.I don't think I saw all the movie but got the gist of most of it.Not a movie to go and see in a theatre if you are looking for some action although the acting was very good.
The A380 is an exceptional quiet plane compared to the old 747 and although there is background engine noise it is far quieter meaning that sleep comes easier.
Fourteen hours is a long time in the air and by the time we had both had a fair measure of sleep we were starting to think about when the cabin lights would go up to announce food would soon be on the way.By this time Australia was behind us and SriLanka below with Dubai just coming into the picture
on the AirShow.
Emirates offer literally hundreds of either movies or music options on their ICE programme so I filled in some more time listening to hits of the 60's,70's and 80's.Its interesting to note that songs in the 60's were generally of just on or around 2 minutes but they have become longer as the years have gone by.Just a bit of trivia I am sure.
Breakfast was tasty and over with an hour to go to Dubai and there was a heightened sense of anticipation of arrival by those in our part of the plane with visits to the toilets going up at least 6 fold!
The descent in an A380 is smooth,or at least our experience has been that way with this being the 4th landing from 2 trips in this huge plane.We kept an eye on the tail camera and lining up seemed to be on target.This time the landing was a much less dramatic affair and with plenty of runway ahead we taxied off to the brand new Terminal 3 where Emirates can park up 20 of its A380 fleet at any one time.As we were to find out about the city
everything in this country is BIG.
Getting through immigration was a breeze with no cars to fill in and a SmartGate which meant we didn't have to join the queues with those who didn't have the new style passport.They were obviously still having teething problems with the cameras and system that checks you out as although there were a number of lines to choose from only one was operating and even that seemed slower than in Auckland.
However it wasn't long and we were on our way to catch a train to get to the baggage area,so large is this terminal !
There our bags were doing the circuit and ready for us to heave off the carousel.With easy directions to the Metro also within the terminal we made our way to buy a ticket following the instructions carefully to ensure two tickets dropped out the bottom of the machine.The it was onto the driverless train and we were on our way to the city.
The subway station was just 50 metres from our hotel and as expected we had to put plan B into operation as our room wasn't ready for us as it was only 8.30am.
We left our luggage at the hotel and made for the Metro again purchasing an all day ticket for 16 Dirhams each or about NZ$5 each that could take us anywhere a bus or the train went which was everywhere we needed to go for the day and see many of the sights out into the newer area of Dubai.
The bus we needed was a walk away towards the coast so we headed off to find a bus stop and a number 8 bus.One came along and we started on the 1 1/2 ride that would take in the sigts along the coast out to the newer area of Dubai.
We got off first at Burj Al Arab,the iconic hotel shaped like a sail.You can't get into the hotel grounds unless you are staying there or booked in for dinner or afternoon tea so we had to make do with a photo from across the road.A water park has been built on the roadside although things looked fairly quiet in there if the lack of noise was anything to go by.
The map that we picked up at the hotel was not to scale and it soon became evident that it was a waste of time when we started off to walking to where we thought the Mall of the Emirates was.We did a walking tour of a new housing area and came back to the bus stop by the Burj as it was clear that the Mall was a fair way off.We decided to go onto the end of the bus route and check out the mall there.Another 30 minutes on the bus and we were there but missed the stop across the road from the mall and finished up by a Metro station.Another map on the station showed that if we caught the train back it would take us to a station adjacent to the Mall of the Emirates which we wanted to see as it had an indoor skifield.
Sure enough we made the mall and strolled around the vast area with literally hundred of stores including all the big brand names you can think of.
The indoor skifield was interesting and we noted the temperature inside the snow area read 3C so it was understandable why you got a full ski outfit to wear when you purchased your ticket to ride a chairlift,toboggen or ski down vast slopes of manmade snow !And all this in the middle of a desert with temperatures 30C outside !
We headed back to the hotel to do the check in riding the train past the tallest building the world the Burj Khalif.It was impossible to get a picture as we were too close to it so hopefully there will be an opportunity to see it from further away as long as it is not too hazy.
As we started the check in process it became apparent to Gretchen that we were going to be given a room that was not a non smoking one and we weren't going to have that.After much discussion,threats of us going elesewhere and phone calls, they saw it our way and had to upgrade us to a suite on the non smoking floor as they obviously didn't have anything else available.
It was a very nice suite with heaps of room including a separate living area.
Time for a shower which bought about another little incident.After working out how the shower over the bath worked we discovered that the shower water came back up a grate next to the bath and threatened to flood the bathroom.We then discovered a small lid that was to be put over the grate which stemmed the water flow a bit but looks like we will have to figure another way out when its shower time tomorrow morning or we will be inundated with water again.
We took time out for a rest and the next thing we knew we were waking up 3 hours later !Just in time to head out to dinner.
We found a TGIF and although it was alcohol free we decided to stop as they had the food we wanted.Gretchen made do with a mocktail and I was happy with a Pepsi.We are sure there will be plenty of opportunities ahead for alcohol with our meals.
By the time we got back to our hotel we were ready for bed and hopefully a full nights sleep was ahead for us.
Distance travelled to day 12062km
Distance travelled since Tauranga 14416km
Tot: 1.687s; Tpl: 0.092s; cc: 13; qc: 35; dbt: 0.0315s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb