Click here to watch video recap.
The plane landed around 7:45 (GMT) a.m. I tried to stay up for the entire flight, however, when the clocked turned midnight EST my body was ready to go to sleep. I raised my window shade and it was daylight outside. Could I make it another three hours until the plane landed? I had watched three movies back-to-back and now I was tired of watching movies.
I started to explore the many games available on the entertainment console. I played solitaire and then sudoku. The sudoku game wasn’t right. It was flawed. I was highly disappointed because I wanted to finish the game but the programming did not allow for the correct number to be placed in the square. If you know how to play sudoku then you know that you cannot repeat a number in a row, a column or a box. Even though I entered the correct number, the system advised it was incorrect. When I asked for a clue it displayed the number I tried to enter but when entering the number it was wrong! Ugh! With this flaw there is no way to complete the game because the board will never be filled.
Okay, two hours left in the flight. Let me just close my eyes and get a nap. I have to get my body use to the new time zone. For the next few days, my nights will be days and my days will be nights. I nodded. Before long breakfast was being served so I gained consciousness just long enough to accept my breakfast.
The plane was making its final descent. The flight attendants were moving up and down the cabin collecting blankets, food trays, etc. I nodded off again for a few seconds (in my mind). Before long the flight attendants were passing out hot towels. I thought the towels were to clean our hands but was told it was to clean our face (as in washing our face). The man in the row in front of me blew his nose in the warm towel and then proceeded to wipe his face with the same towel. How nasty is that!
I read a sign that the Dubai airport was a “silent” airport. There are no announcements over the PA about flights departing etc. One needs to read the signs to move around the airport. The airport was quiet and beautifully clean (if that makes sense). As I walked through the airport I noticed the shine from the floors. The only sounds heard were from the people who had departed the plane.
In hindsight, I would have recommended that everyone in the group meet in a central location once we departed. We were kind of scattered. Everyone maneuvering on their own trying to figure out where to go. (It was not hard as long as you read the signs but it would have been nice to go through immigration/customs and baggage claim as a group. We eventually came together in baggage claim.) The good thing is that we had on our shirts and were able to easily identify who was part of the group. I carefully payed attention of those in front of me so where they went I went! If I felt turned around, I looked for someone in the shirt.
For the most part it was a breeze going through immigration/customs and picking up our baggage. Now we had to find our tour guide so we walked towards the exit and BAM our tour guide was in a designated area holding a sign. He was beaming from ear-to-ear and welcomed us to Dubai. He explained that we would walk to our bus and from there we would go to the hotel.
Side note: The baggage carts that people use to place their luggage on to maneuver around the airport are FREE! I was skeptical at first since in the states you have to pay to use the luggage carts. In the baggage claim area, the carts are available for use and you just grab and go. There are also no individuals in baggage claim hassling you and asking if you need assistance. How refreshing!
Check-in at the hotel is 3:00 p.m. That’s a normal check-in time. Our rooms were not ready but that was not to be expected. The hotel staff stored our luggage in an area as we set in the lobby chatting and resting. The travel agent and tour guide worked with the hotel reception to get individuals in their room as quickly as possible. I was one of the last individuals to get a room, which was a little after 3:00 p.m. I wasn’t concerned or upset. It is . . . what it is. I took the time to journal!
My room was on the 22nd floor right off the elevator. I noticed there was a camera right above my room door. Talk about feeling safe! I think the camera was there mainly because of the position of the room and to pick up traffic in the corridor and also I was right next to the linen closet.
My first day in Dubai!
A group of us decided to walk to the Mall of the Emirates, which was a HUGE mall. It has roughly 600 stores inside the mall. There is no way I’m going to discover all of the stores during my stay. It was a reasonable walking distance but the HEAT! All of us were sweating as we walked to the mall. As we approached the mall we tried to figure out how to enter. Again sweating and needed some AC badly. Once we got inside the air conditioned mall we all celebrated. Now it was time to find something to eat!
The Mall of the Emirates is so big there are two food courts. One on each side of the mall. Plus there are restaurants such as the Cheesecake Factory in the mall. There is even a grocery store in the mall. I would compare it to a Super Walmart. It literally took up one side of the mall. I was AMAZED!