[Ed note: The following few posts are non-chronological because of my interim Internet access while travelling]
Wow. Five dollar coffee.
Welcome to Dubai.
The first thing that hits me is that aroma of sweet and musty mixed smoke bellowing out of the smoking lounges, reminding me I am in one hub of the world. Arabs, Africans, Europeans, Americans – North and South, Asians. All mixes of people are here, most of them looking a little confused and sleep deprived. Observation is one of the best time-wasting tasks in transit, and what an amazing canvas to watch. I am most impressed as I did manage to select the correct toilet this time.
As I begin walking through the mammoth structure of the Dubai airport, I am also confronted with a sudden urge to spend truck-loads of cash and buy expensive shit that I don’t need – consumables that I am certain most of the people buying them don’t need either. I do, however, notice one litre bottles of Gin on sale for US$16 and my brain is suddenly flittering with all the alcohol opportunities I am surrounded by. “Calm down and think logically” the conservative traveller inside of me suggests. Although, I am going to other people’s houses throughout Europe and it would be nice to turn up with some spirit (literally). I settle on the Bombay, which requires a quick stint at the money exchange counter – which is always fun. I am now left with about $USM80 that I think I will probably take with me to Germany (most likely it will end up in my foreign money collection at home).
There are two other significant observations I take in while walking around: the exorbitant amount of throw away materials here, and how large groups of middle age Asian men are really clumsy when it comes to travelling.
The waste is out of control – everything is plastic, used once, and then placed in the bin. Aprons, wipes, tray covers. Coupled with the fact that if your black coffee is slightly too hot, you can always ask for another piece of cardboard to slip around your other cardboard cup, makes my environmental brain shutter in disgust. I justify my interaction in these activities as “a traveller” and that it’s too big of a battle for me just now. I would hate to see the behind-the-scenes of this airport – weak I know but appropriate in my sleep deprived state.
The groups of Asian men are amusing. Guaranteed, they are the dudes that are stopped on the travellators, or blocking the walkway as they chat amongst themselves in amazement of the white particle board supporting the many advertisements within the corridors. Tap tap. “Ooohhhh” expresses one man to his friend with a nod of approval. This is usually accompanied by an Arab throwing a shifty glaze or sublime remark as they finally walk past.
So as I sit here listening to the blend of dialogue around me, with a slight waft of sweet musk, and giggling at the Asian men en route to Beijing, I feel absolutely tiny within this monumental construction that is the Dubai airport. The contrast of gigantic halls and high ceilings, alongside the man-made “oasis” inspired green sections is the perfect setting for the amazing inequality of wealth distribution within this country. It is a great re-introduction to international travelling and the perfect warm up act for the main gig – Germany.