On the Road (16-17 April)

I reached Dubai after a 9-hour flight overnight from Seattle, a four-hour layover at London Heathrow, and a 7-hour flight overnight out of London. All flights on British Air’s Boeing 777’s, which were pretty comfortable and had capable, friendly cabin staff. Amenities included a tasty (yes, really) hot dinner, cold light breakfast, and that really great entertainment system: your choice of 18 movies. Watched Inkheart and Quantum of Solace out of Seattle, and coming out of London they had a different set, so I watched Frost/Nixon and Slumdog Millionnaire. So it is recent, quality stuff. All flights ran according to Hoyle.

We came into and out of London Heathrow’s new Terminal 5; this is the soaring new ediface. Like most works of man, however, it has a few feet of clay. Just opened, it’s already oversubscribed (gee, I hope they’re planning Terminal 6 already), so we parked out at a remote stand and took a 15-minue standing-room bus ride to the terminal. They divided the transitting international passengers out (those not clearing UK entry) and sent us to security screening straightaway, so I lost my American water bottle. It did work much faster than the old Terminal 1 to Terminal 4 transfers, though. The main Terminal 5 area has the familiar Heathrow feel: lots of shopping, wait in several large sitting areas until your flight gets a gate identified, then head toward the gate.

I had four hours, so I tried to take best advantage. One of the available eateries (there did seem to be more, and larger, eateries than the old terminal) was a “Gordon Ramsey Plane Food”. Many of you know I am a Gordo fan, so I absolutely had to give this a try. What a restorative experience! I ordered a smoked salmon appetizer (sliced thinly, garnished with a honey mustard drizzle and served with green beans in vinagrette) and a luncheon portion of a pasta dish (orichette with wild mushroom sauce). Just … perfection!

The flight out of London was perhaps one-quarter full, unlike the full flight out of Seattle. We arrived at Dubai airport just before dawn local time, and the temperature was already 27 C (online conversion here). I’m staying at a very nice hotel close to the airport, Le Meridien. I knew I was in trouble when my hotel guide pointed out the lobby bar and said Happy Hour was from 7 to 8. No one eats as early as Americans!

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