Happy Easter everyone!|
I am sitting in the Emirates lounge at New York's JFK airport waiting for my flight to Dubai. It is going to be a long wait. I got here at 3:00 and the flight doesn't leave until 11:00 this evening. Got a nice view of Manhattan on the flight over from Indy. We flew directly over the Empire State Building. It is a 12 hour flight to Dubai tonight. This will be my first time flying on the relatively new A380. The largest commercial airplane. Below is a picture I took of the plane I will be flying on.
I am going to be spending four nights in Dubai on my way to Africa. I will write more when I see something other than an airport.
It took a LONG time to get here but I have finally arrived. Got to the airport in Indy around 11 Sunday morning and didn't touch down here in Dubai until just after 7:00 Monday night. Left New York a few minutes early and were in the air just after 11:00pm. I enjoyed my first flight on the A380 very much. A very quiet airplane. Below is a picture of the plane a few minutes before they moved it to the gate. The wing span on this thing is incredible.
My seat was the last window seat on the upper deck on the left side of the aircraft. We walked right onto the plane from the Emirates Lounge. The picture below was taken from my seat in business class.
The way the seats are angled it is very private. No one sitting next to you. Lots of leg room and the seat reclines into a completely flat bed. Very comfortable and with the quietness of the plane it was very easy to sleep. Which is what I did from shortly after takeoff. They had a very nice dinner buffet at the Emirates lounge so I passed on the dinner they were serving shortly after takeoff and went to sleep. I slept pretty well. I woke up a couple times when the plane went through some turbulence. I woke up about 8 hours into the flight as we were flying over Austria and heading for Hungary. They served breakfast as we were flying over Iraq. We flew very near Baghdad but it was completely clouded over and I couldn't see anything. About an hour later the sun set and we landed here in Dubai just after 7:00, about 40 minutes early.
The Dubai Airport is very modern and new. Customs were quick and painless. And my chauffeur was there waiting for me even though we were really early. Took about 15 minutes to get to the hotel. I'm staying just a few feet in front of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. 163 floors. Below is a picture of it from my hotel room balcony.
There are fountains in front of it like Bellagio's in Las Vegas, only more of them.
That's it for today. Got here too late to do anything other that get settled. Will write more later.
It was a warm and sunny day here in Dubai today. Got up to around 92 today. I don't think I would want to visit in the middle of summer. I started my day with breakfast at the hotel and after that I walked over to Burj Khalifa. My hotel is connected to the Dubai Mall, the largest in the world. Burj Khalifa is connected to the mall as well so I just walked through the mall to get there. For what they are charging to go to the top of the building, it should be paid for in no time. It was 425 Emirati Dirhams, which converts to $115. The observation deck is on the 124th floor. The picture below is from the observation deck. The tall building in the center is my hotel, that is the Dubai Mall on the left.
In the picture below you can see some of the many skyscrapers in the city. That is also the Persian Gulf in the upper left corner.
In the picture below you can see the Dubai fountains all the way to the bottom, behind the fountains is old town, which are all new apartment buildings.
This afternoon I took a sea plane flight around Dubai. The driver they sent to pick me up spoke very little English, and didn't seem to know where we were going. But we did get there on time. We took off from Dubai creek, next to the golf course. The first place we flew over were the World Islands which is an artificial archipelago of various small islands constructed in the rough shape of a world map about two miles off the coast of Dubai. That would be Africa in the center. I only saw one island that was inhabited so far.
Next we flew around the Burj Al Arab. The world's most luxurious hotel. Guests can arrive by helicopter landing on the helipad on the roof. Rooms come complete with your own personal butler.
Next we flew around Palm Jumeirah. Unlike the World Islands, these man-made islands are complete. There are four pictures below of Palm Jumeirah from various angles. That's Atlantis on the Palm out at the tip of the islands, seen up close in picture two.
On the way back we flew by the World Islands again. The view below is from the top looking back on the Dubai skyline.
Below is Burj Khalfia from the seaplane shortly before landing.
I was going to watch some of the fountain shows tonight but decided to put that off until tomorrow since I have to get up at 4am for what I am doing tomorrow. The final picture of the day is one of the fountain shows just after sunset from my balcony at the hotel.
Like I told you yesterday I had to wake up shortly before 4:00 this morning. At that time I traveled about 100 kilometers outside Dubai into the Arabian desert. There was a nice almost full moon in the sky.
You may have already guessed why I was out in the middle of no where at this ungodly hour. If not, the picture below will give you a clue.
Yes, that is the air in the balloon being warmed just prior to take off. The picture below is the desert just after take off as the sun was starting to rise.
This wasn't nearly as scenic as my previous balloon flight in Utah, but it was a fun and unique experience. The picture below was sun rise. We had to wait a little longer to see it due to clouds on the horizon.
Below is a picture of our group as we were floating high above the desert floor.
The flight lasted about an hour. We landed on the other side of the farming area seen in the picture below.
We spotted some camels shortly before landing.
The landing was interesting. The basket tips on its side and we drag along the desert floor while lying on our backs. Below is a picture of us just after landing. We had to crawl out of it in the position that is shown in the picture.
Below is a picture of our Hungarian pilot.
Got back to the hotel around 8:30. I had breakfast and then headed out for the day. I snapped the picture below as I was leaving the hotel. It's the Burj Khalifa during the day this time.
Dubai is an immaculately clean city with one of the lowest crime rates in the world. About 90% of this city appears to be brand new. One of the prettiest parts of the city is Dubai Creek. You can take cruises down the creek in old Dhows.
Jumeriah Mosque is said to be the most photographed mosque in all of Dubai. So as not to ruin the statistic, I snapped a photo. It's prettier at night when it's drowned in flood lights.
I saw Palm Jumeirah from the ground today. It was much more majestic from the air. The picture below was taken from the Palm looking out toward the Burj Al Arab Hotel. You can also see the Dubai skyline in the background.
Below is Atlantis out on the tip of the Palm.
And looking the other direction form the tip of the Palm is the Persian Gulf.
They don't do anything in a small way here in Dubai. The area of skyscrapers you see below will be twice the size of Hong Kong when they are done building all that is planned for here. That spiral building going up on the right is an 80 story hotel with views of Palm Jumeirah.
It gets pretty warm here during the heat of the day. I was glad to be back home in the nice cool mall after exploring the city all day. Below is the main entrance to the mall.
The mall is pretty impressive inside. Below is the Waterfall atrium. One of many atriums inside. There is also a large Aquarium, ice skating rink, two huge hotels, cinemas and hundreds of stores and restaurants.
I finished off the day by watching some of the fountain shows. The one below was taken at sunset.
Tomorrow will be my last day in Dubai. I don't have any plans for tomorrow so I can sleep in.
A very short report for today. I spent my last day in Dubai pretty close to the hotel. It wasn't a very nice day here. Very strong winds stirred up quite a dust storm. I can hardly see the buildings right next door. I was also concerned how I would react to the malaria meds that I had to start taking today. Some people have some awful reactions to them. It's been about 12 hours and so far I haven't noticed any problems. I spent some time in the mall today.|
You can see in the picture below how dismal the day looked here today. This is one of the fountains shows.
It's off to the airport in the morning. I have an eight hour flight to Johannesburg. I will be joining up with a tour in Africa, so today was my last day of freedom of doing what I want when I want. Will send more reports from Africa.
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