The Airport Diaries

I recently went to Europe and visited a number of different countries and cities. On my journey – I used Ships, Trains and Planes.  So  on 1 of the stops I decided to write about some of the airports that I visited, Namely  – Dubai International Airport, London Stanstead, Venice Marco Polo, Paris Orly, London Gatwick  and Berlin Schoenefeld.

Dubai

DUBAI – Here I sit in Dubai International Airport at a coffee shop called Costa where I have just paid 40 dharams (R80 equivalent) for a caffe latte and a croissant. (No comment)

First I gotta say, Big Up to Emirates. Flying with them was quite impressive especially considering I  am a direct flight kind of guy and I hate stop-overs. That being said, I am not minding this particular stop over. In my opinion, Emirates has got to be the BEST VALUE FOR MONEY – HANDS DOWN of any airline I have ever been on. There are some better airlines, but Rand for Value – no other airline even  comes close.  I mean, they were offering on-board service in over 10 different languages; Japanese, Mandarin, Swahili and Hindi included. The service was really good and the cutlery is Metal, none of that plastic nonsense.

Anyway, this post is about Dubai and the airport and not really the flight, so here we go:

Flying over Dubai is impressive, the mixture of old and new designs is quite breath-taking. Then you land at Dubai International Airport and the layout is so chic, you can’t help but wish your country was also blessed with rich oil reserves so they could trick out their airport like this.

Once you are in the airport, the design while beautiful and modern is extremely straightforward and minimal. It’s almost impossible to get lost. The signs and clarity of where you have to go is impressive to say the least. You can see a lot of work went into the design of this airport especially considering in 2010 they handled a record 47.2 million in passenger traffic and Emirates alone fly to 111 destinations have over 2400 connecting flights a week .

I have taken a walk down the halls and looked in on the Duty Free Shops most of which are brand name stalls like Armani. Side Note: Have you ever wondered why they call it Duty Free when the prices are more expensive than normal shops that pay duty? Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

I then wander into 1 of the bathrooms and this is the 1 thing that looks like it came out of a 3rd world country. If you enter the stalls you will notice a shower head next to the toilet (no comment) then guess what? The toilet seat is heated (that is pretty cool) and that is the beginning of the technology spurt and the end of the 3rd world, the Flush is sensor activated and so are the taps which only run hot water (fyi: this makes for an interesting attempt to brush your teeth) and then lastly they go back to the 3rd world as they have rolls of paper which you use to dry your hands.

Leave the bathrooms and walk down the hallways and you will come across showers? (I gotta ask, who showers at an airport?? Like Really?)

LONDON….

2 words to sum up London Gatwick…. Not impressed. The airport is Bland, Clinical and Boring. Its nothing more than an airport – No touch up and no frills.

That being said, there are 2 things worth mentioning in this Airport

1. An Iris System. It seems certain people (not sure who) are set up on an Iris System. So they can walk straight through, scan their retina and walk out the airport without ever having to speak to a border agent or even getting their passport stamped. It must still be in testing phase because very few are using it. I would probably say 1 out of every 100 people in the UK/ EU line were using this new system. Really curious to do some research on this and see how this works. I mean this is Futuristic Fantasy stuff happening in real life!! How will this affect the need for passports and visas? Very interesting stuff!

2. More random than anything else, not only do they have a condom dispensing machine in the airport, but they also have performance enhancing drugs to increase male stamina and performance. You gotta love it when drugs can be sold through a vending machine. Makes you wonder….. (FYI: The Female bathroom in Venice apparently has a Dildo dispensing machine… no comment!)

LONDON STANSTEAD – Lots of Young HOTTTTT European women….. Guys this is definitely worth checking out 😉

PARIS ORLY –  2 things stand out. First is the amount of security. There are police moving around with AK47’s everywhere, its quite intimidating actually. Second is on a much more positive note, they have the most helpful information desk at any airport in the world I have ever been to. These guys will make you feel at home and explain how everything works down to the smallest detail. Its quite impressive truth be told.

VENICE  MARCO POLO – Apart from the bathrooms (which I mentioned earlier), the airport itself is quite average. However, as you fly into Venice and you look out the window -all you see is water beneath you as you approach the runway. It’s probably the coolest, yet most freaky thing you may ever experience while landing with a plane. Definitely worth the Thrill.

BERLIN – Airport is really average. Though they have the most hectic passport border control I have ever gone through. I mean, these guys are suspect of everyone who is not European or American and it does not matter whether you are entering or leaving the country…

Anyway, enough of my ranting…. Till my next random post… PEACE!

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About Chilly

Causality - I believe for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Cause and Effect. I am the cause - what will be the effect?
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