In the last five years when flying east, I always took flights which departed from Frankfurt or Düsseldorf between 20.00 and 22.00 hours. I like to take evening respectively night flights because this gives you almost the whole day before leaving home to the airport and when one is lucky one can sleep on the plane. Sometimes I can sleep on a night flight at other times I can’t. The only disadvantage of late flights is, that they are mostly very popular and the planes relatively full. This time I have booked a flight which leaves Frankfurt at 15.20 hours so I have to leave home in the late morning.
Surprisingly the plane is only about half-full and I am lucky to get a full row to myself, one row behind the emergency exit. I am served by a nice steward named Mohamed. After dinner, when I get myself a water, we get into conversation. I get to know that he is from Cairo. “Have you been to Egypt already?” he wants to know. “No, unfortunately not, but it must beautiful”, I respond. “At the moment it’s not a good time to visit the country”, he says. He tells me that only about three or four percent of the population are responsible for the riots which currently occur especially in Cairo but that the whole population is affected by that.
In the row in front of me sits a guy, apparently a german, too, who continues from Dubai straight onto Sydney to visit australian friends he made while studying in the US. He plans to stay in Australia for two months. During the descent onto Dubai he talks to one of the stewardesses who is sitting opposite to him. She is from Ireland and tells him that everyone who works for Emirates has to have his place of residence in Dubai, all 10.000 employees! She adds that she lives at the most six months per year there and that she likes Dubai but that she can’t imagine to settle there forever. The girl who sat next to me on my last flight to Dubai in October 2012 had told me that everyone who works for Qatar Airways has to live in Qatar’s capital Doha. She knew that because she had thought about applying at Qatar Airways. But till today I thought that this might be a Qatar Airways-specific condition.
I love to meet people from all countries and to listen to their stories, for me this is the best and most important aspect of travelling. In the past few years I met people from many countries and I am still in touch with several of them. I would never want to miss those contacts. I think, travelling and meeting people really can change ones own view on the world. I recently found a quotation which I love:
“We meet people for a reason. Either they are a blessing or a lesson.”
The descent onto Dubai is absolutely spectacular! I am sitting exactly on the right side and so see the plane approaching the coastline and then the illuminated Burj Khalifa and Dubai Downtown down below appearing on the right hand side. Awesome! More than STUNNING! I try to take photographs but they are blurred otherwise I would post them here. Even “Dubai – The Palm”, the island which is artificially built into the sea, is visible from afar.
We land at Dubai International Airport short before midnight. At the taxi rank there are long queues waiting for the cabs. I had planned to take a “Ladies taxi” anyway and thought that this might be the quicker alternative but far from it! One has to wait in the same queues no matter which taxi one wants to take. I wouldn’t have a problem to take a “normal” taxi with a male driver as I know that they are absolutely safe and the drivers good but I absolutely love the idea of supporting women who are doing a great job, especially in a country which is so close to Saudi Arabia where women are not allowed to drive a car at all.
The Ladies taxis which are pink are exclusively driven by women who are also wearing pink clothes. They were invented a few years ago and are exclusively for Women and for mothers with small children. I have to wait quite a while as the Pink Taxis are obviously very popular but eventually I manage to get one. My driver is a young women who comes from Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, and lives in Dubai for nine years. She likes the city, the only downer for her is, that the prices for everything are that high.
I have been to Dubai once before so when looking out of the taxi window the scenery which passes by is quite familiar. At my hotel I am greeted with “Welcome back” by the concierge and the desk clerk. It’s the same hotel which I had used during my first stay in Dubai last October. After getting my room key I go to bed right away as it is almost 2 o’ clock in the morning and I have plans for tomorrow plus an early morning flight from Dubai to Beijing.
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