AFRICA LEAVING NAIROBI FOR DUBAI – Nov. 19th, 2009
We were scheduled to check out of The Norfolk Hotel at 10.a.m., but Tony persuaded the manager to allow us to check out at noon. That allowed us to have a leisurely breakfast out on the veranda and enjoy the sunshine at the best breakfast buffet I have ever had. It was hard knowing that all those silver covered dishes would soon be a thing of the past. We also had time to re-arrange our luggage for our next visit to Dubai.
We got to the airport at 1:15 p.m. but our plane wasn’t scheduled to leave until 4:40 p.m. It was sad saying good-bye to our driver Muli and guide, Tony. They were the first faces to greet us when we arrived at Nairobi and the last of our Africa friends to bid us farewell before we dragged ourselves into the terminal. The time passed quickly and soon we boarded the plane to Dubai. The flight gave me time to catch up on my journal and my friend, Betsy, was able go over her photos for the hundredth time. I reflected on my great African adventure that I dreamed about for so very long. I was still home sick but leaving Africa tugged at my heart.
It was a 5 ½ hour flight to Dubai. Taking into account the time difference between Kenya and Dubai, we arrived in Dubai about midnight. We flew on Emirates Airlines again, and it remains my favorite airline. The food was very good. We had menus to tell us what entrees we could select from. The wine was free, snacks and fruits were offered, and the service was great. I don’t know if there is another airline that can compare to Emirates, but I just can’t imagine there is. I have flown all over this country, and outside of it, and the only other airline I was impressed with was Alaska Airlines. I am certainly not a world traveler, but one of the ladies, Alberta, who has been to 84 countries, said she was impressed with Emirates as well. It was so quiet. I never even heard the wheels retracting after take-off, nor did I hear them extending prior to landing. I never felt cooped up, confined or claustrophobic. What worried me most about traveling was the 11 ½ hours it took to fly there and return. Emirites Airlines made it a pleasure.
Descending into Dubai we could see the “ The Palm Jumeirah” the world’s largest man-made island. From the air we saw a huge palm tree that was completely lit up with greens lights. It consistes of a trunk, a crown with 16 fronds, and a surrounding crescent island that forms an 11 kilometre long breakwater. The island is 5 kilometres by 5 kilometres and its total area is larger than 800 football fields. The crown is connected to the mainland by a 300-metre bridge and the crescent is connected to the top of the palm by a subsea tunnel. The Palm Jumeirah is one of the world’s premier resorts, and is the self-declared 'Eighth Wonder of the World'.
The Dubai airport is an internatinal airport serving the largest city of the United Arab Emirates. It is a major airport in the Middle East, and is the main airport of Dubai. The Emirates hub is the largest airline hub in the Middle East and Africa. Emirates handles 60% of all passenger traffic, and accounts for 38% of all aircraft movements at the airport. In addition to being an important passenger traffic hub, the airport is one of the busiest cargo airports in the world. Everything at the airport was new, shiny, bright and immaculate. I couldn’t find a scuff mark anywhere. It was very impressive, state of the art for sure.
We found our driver and boarded the van for our hotel. We stayed at the “Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel & Towers.” The hotel overlooked the Dubai Creek and was just a short walk from the city’s main commercial and shopping districts, and close to the Gold and Spice district. It was rated as a five star hotel and, indeed, it was. All the hotels and lodges we stayed at were just gorgeous, but in Africa I felt guilty about staying at such beautiful places when there was so much poverty surrounding us. Not here, in Dubai, however!
As we drove to our hotel we could see the beautiful hotels all lit up. It reminded me of LasVegas, but had a lot more sophistiication. I was anxious to see what our five star hotel looked like, but even more anxious to go to bed. MOORE TO FOLLOW…