Quick transit in Dubai International Airport en route to Cairo
Dubai Travel Blog› entry 1 of 14 › view all entries
Before I start whittering on about the precious uberprecious time I spent in Dubai, let's get a couple of facts straight:
Fact #1. Dubai IS the coolest city in the world. Whether it's the cosmopolitan 80% (out of 1.4 million people) expat population that includes over a 100,000 British, the huge 6 lane highways (and this coming from an honorary Texan!), the new state-of-the-art buildings, the upcoming residential colonies or the vast shopping malls that have chains from all over the world, Dubai is definitely en route to becoming the World Capital in a few decades' (if not a few years') time.
Fact #2. Dubai IS the coolest city in the world.
OK, so now that I've said those bits...we can move on!
The idea of visiting Dubai crept into my head when my mum told me that Emirates was the best connection we had for our Egypt trip from my home, Bengaluru. My comment on instinct was - "oh great, so we could stop over in Dubai!". I suddenly stopped worrying about how to fit in exotic Egyptian pyramids and Temples into our schedule, all I could think of was sipping martinis and nibbling on cavier as I stare at the Arabian Sea sunset with the Burj-Al-Arab in the background.
Meanwhile we changed our trip schedule such that we get roughly 1.5 days in Dubai. My mum and dad had a shopping list and for me, well it was just being in Dubai after nearly 2 decades (I last visited in 1983, visited 3 Emirates then).
Our Emirates flight from Bengaluru to Dubai was at the unearthly time of 4am which means we had to check in by 2am which means we had to leave the house by 1am which means...well...no sleep that night! But the flight was on time, the staff were very courteous and I cannot say enough nice things about the airline. Everything I'd ever imagined about the airline, it truly is.
I pretty much slept throughout the flight (yes, I used the "Don't disturb me" sticker!), understandable as I hadn't slept the whole night. Our landing into Dubai was... well different. Given that we're over desert, I was surprised at how low the plane has to go before one can start to see any semblence of a life, of buildings, roads, houses, etc.
The landing was smooth but here's an anticlimax- the Dubai International Airport. Don't get me wrong, it's great...but it's quite "small". I am aware of all the major construction work going on for the new superterminal to house the Emirates A-380s but just given the supposed traffic the airport handles at the moment (13 and 7 daily flights to the UK and Australia resp. by Emirates alone!), I was expecting a more complex weblike airport with semi-circle shaped terminals like we've seen in other airports in Europe and the US.
And that's how our landing/disembarkment was as well....
We parked at the tarmac far far away from the main terminal and were driven in a cool Emirates bus. Once we were at the "transit stop" (the bus makes 2 stops, one for Transit passengers and one for those whose final destination is Dubai), I got to see the much hyped International terminal in all its glory.
One thing you're quick to notice about Arab airports is how frequently one hears the prayers even inside the airport at their specified times. You have an abundance of mosques and praying rooms inside the airport, next to some fancy international chains like Costas and Starbucks. Again, what I've always said about Dubai - where the traditional meets the modern.
We had about 2 hours here to roam around the stores before catching our connecting flight to Cairo. The only complaint I have about this airport is the unevenness in the distribution of gates. If your flight is departing from Gates 1-15, then you're safe! Else, you have to walk and walk and walk.... and beyond a certain point, it's quite the cookie clutter for gates as most of them are non-aerobridge and you're eventually in a "waiting" enclosure waiting to be picked up by the bus.