Thursday, January 12
Dubai Airport, 14:41
We all got up and dressed in time to load our luggage into a car at 7am. Anib had arranged for Sureesh, who lives locally, to drive us to the airport.
Our upgraded tickets with Emirates did not give us access to the lounge but we used the Diners Club lounge instead. This offered us the maddest breakfast experience we have had in a long time. The waitress brought us a lengthy menu which we quickly realised we should regard as a work of fiction. We finally worked out that the items actually available included dry bread, sandwiches, tea, coffee and pineapple juice.
Naa optimistically ordered the continental breakfast (cornflakes with fruit and milk, juice, toast with jams, and coffee). She got a plate with five slices of dry toast, one pat of butter and one miniature pot of jam. When she asked if she could have her cornflakes the waitress asked her, in reply, if she wanted more bread. This conversation lasted a long time as Naa struggled to rephrase the question in a way likely to elicit breakfast cereal. In the end she opted for a sandwich which, since it contained bread, struck a chord with the waitress.
We started the flight with a toast to Auo whose absence still seems very wrong. Her physical absence and continuing emotional presence has appeared obvious to each of us at various points in the trip. I had a conversation with her on one of the walks back from Kovalam Junction. Something caught my attention that I knew would have caught hers and a conversation began in my head.
I spent the flight playing with the entertainment system. I discovered, somewhat to my surprise, that I liked Keith Richards’ new album Crosseyed Heart. I also watched two and a half episodes of The Flash and found that I could have happily watched two and a half more. I watched the first episodes of Series 2, which began with a recap of the main plot threads from Series 1. The series incorporates a lot from the comics and moves at a lightning fast pace. It also contains special moments for long-time comic fans like a scene that momentarily recreates the iconic cover to Flash 123.
We used the Fast Track lane at Dubai airport. It moved exceedingly slowly. Finally, however, we have immigrated and collected our bags. We stand for a second in Terminal 3 looking around, before walking to the place where we will wait for a train to the main building.
We will get a taxi from an all-women taxi company and find ouselves in a traffic jam. Once we have checked in we will take the metro to Dubai mall, as much for the metro ride as the destination. The metro will have twice its capacity packed into each carriage. The mall will require a two kilometre indoor walk along corridors equipped with travelators.
As we walk from the station to the mall we will see several lengthy traffic jams. I will wonder why all of Dubai’s transport infrastructure seems designed for a city half the size of Dubai.
We will return to the Salah Al Din metro station in Deira on a metro even more crowded than the previous one. We will finish the evening by eating “fun Asian cuisine” at Soy & Pepper in the tiny Reef Mall opposite the hotel.