China Journal

We’re in Dubai with a two-hour layover from Hong Kong to New York. I mentioned earlier that the first class lounge on Emirates is an entire floor, and the plane comes to you. I slept for six hours coming over here, unplanned, but quite nice.

The expenditures here are breathtaking. The airport is immense, spotless, and extraordinary. Signage is wonderful. The shops are of the highest caliber. As we sit in a lounge area, employees approach us to see if we need food or drink. Or we could walk a few yards to a fine dining restaurant, order absolutely ANYTHING and it’s free.

When you enter a restroom, an attendant enters after a respectful few seconds and stays there, at a distance, in case anything is required, confusing, or missing. EVERY employee in the lounge—and there are a scores of them even at midnight—look you in the eye and greet you. The lounge operates 24 hours  a day. “We never sleep at Emirates,” the purser told me.

The airport trains, which are high speed and travel a considerable distance, are more like subways and have clever entering and exiting lanes so that there is never a crush at the doors. Vast escalator systems take you up the heights, as do massive elevator cars which are larger than an average hotel bedroom.

In Dubai you can snow ski, visit water parks, engage in polo, bet at racetracks, watch auto races, and so on. There is nothing missing here. It’s all a tad artificial and hard to believe, but the investment is staggering. Emirates planes are absolutely state-of-the-art.

As the song goes, “It’s always nice to go traveling, but it’s oh, so nice to come home….”

© Alan Weiss 2013


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