In reading a New Yorker article today, I learned that I am—among other sins—a Luddite (“a person opposed to increased industrialisation or new technology”), because I do not embrace the latest trends in social media. I refuse to join Facebook or use Twitter. These, as well as other of their ilk, might be useful to some, but I find them worthless. I can reach and/or stay in touch with those with whom I wish to stay in touch using traditional types of new technology: telephone, email, or SMS. If I were truly a Luddite, I would stick with writing letters….
If the flight from Dubai to Seychelles had been my first experience with Emirates and Dubai Airport, I would be reluctant to use either again. Fortunately, it was not and I have had pleasant experiences—mostly—with both.
We spent the night in the hotel inside the terminal, which is convenient and comfortable. One avoids the inconvenience of immigrant, baggage pick-up, and taxis to and from the airport. This saves time and unnecessary hassles.
We arose, had breakfast, and strolled the short distance to the departure gate. Unfortunately, Seychelles is a low-priority destination, so the aircraft always has an apron position. Emirates does provide separate buses from 1st, business, and economy classes with different levels of comfort. Still, one must ride a bus, which somewhat defeats the purpose of air travel. We needed almost 30 minutes to reach the aircraft from the departure gate, due in part to the distance parking position, size of the airfield, and traffic, We had to wait more than once for an aircraft to cross, and we were unfortunate enough to be behind a baggage unloading machine that drove at 10 mph. I wondered about the organisation and planning of the airport.
As I mentioned, Seychelles is a low-priority destination, so old aircraft are used. Sadly, one does have a comparison. The previous flight was on a new aircraft, with the newest seats and entertainment system. Service was inattentive and, at times, incompetent. This was far below the usual standard that we have come to expect on Emirates. The food was also sub-standard, surprising after the excellent meal the day before. I do not recall ever having been served such bad tea, even on a US carrier.
Immigration forms were passed out in flight, but the aircraft did not have onboard the required health questionnaire. This had to be handed out after landing, when all passengers were standing in the aisle hoping to disembark. We were at the front of the plane, so got off quickly, but I can imagine the poor people at the back needing a bunch of time to reach the long lines at health and immigration.
I would chalk this up to bad luck and would have forgotten about the entire affair…if I did not need something with which to bore readers. With the view from my hotel room, I can easily ignore past unpleasant experiences…which were not all that unpleasant compared to how most people travel.
If Americans learned this fact, they would be shocked. Members of Congress beholden to the NRA would demand that the President end diplomatic relations with the country. More rabid Republicans would even expect airstrikes to be conducted. Such behaviour by a civilised country is unacceptable.
What is this dastardly deed?
In Norway last year, the entire police force fired only two—two, as in 2—bullets…all year. What kind of country is that? They need more guns and they must be used. How can arms manufacturers make exorbitant profits…or even a living?
Here are two countries that evolved in different directions. Citizens of each country cannot possible understand the citizens of the other country, especially their relative relationship to guns.
I never change, I simply become more myself.
Joyce Carol Oates
For all of you who have never or will never land at Seychelles Airport, below is a screenshot of the forward-looking camera on Emirates flight 707 showing the final approach to the runway.
Not that anyone is interested, but the downward-looking camera showed a shadow of the plane approaching the airport.
Everyone (okay, a few people) knows that massive cumulus clouds can be treacherous for airplanes. Even small ones deliver bumps at the top.
From their appearance, one would expect cirrus clouds to be gentle. They look gossamer and striated, and not curly like a thunder bumper. Don’t be fooled: turbulence lurks within those wispy bits of fluff.
This is especially true of those that seem to constantly lurk over the Indian Ocean near the Equator. One wants a smooth flight to vacation on a tropical island, but has to endure a ride not unlike that on a Conestoga wagon crossing the uncharted prairie.
Hotels in Dubai are different than hotels in the United States. I am not talking about quality or service, which is in the eye of the beholder. I am talking about concrete evidence. Every hotel and motel in the United States must contain a bible. Is there a law, despite the constitutional mandate of separation of church and state? In Dubai, you find a prayer rug and a sign indicating the direction of Mecca.
I never have used the utensils provided in the hotels of countries, so they are a waste of money in the budget.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.