well, my view would be that i have already given you the details of the smoking areas in Dubai airport and thus i have told you all that you need to know. others for some reason disagree, in particular my cousin Christopher. he, as well as being an excellent co-pilot in that car i did a review of, was very interested to learn of just what one can do in Dubai on a stop over. it is unlikely that he will ever be a smoker, with his intelligence level being somewhat higher than mine, so i took a few pictures to give him a look.
these pictures are of low, blueberry-phone quality. i did have a proper camera with me, but i just could not be bothered with it. i also wanted to just take subtle pictures, not make a song and dance about it.
first off, and indeed showing up front the low quality of pictures i have for you, here's the Boots store near to one of the decent smoking areas i highlighted.
it's basically a "mini" Boots for essentials, but it does, i have to say, have an interesting view on what one would consider as being essentials. as in they stock a formidable range of condoms and, quite frankly, a staggering range of lubricants, but not a packet of tissues. go figure.
near the Boots is a Burger King. now, the likes of Burger King and McDonald's are highly the greatest cuisine you can lay your hands on, but for the traveller they are excellent choices for two reasons. firstly, wherever you go in the world, their menu and the ingredients are as close as you can get to being the same everywhere. you are, then, going to know what the food tastes like. that their food is OK doesn't matter i suppose, better to stick with what you know than gamble on something that might be decent. secondly, and perhaps most importantly, the cost is going to be OK. if you google "Big Mac Economics" you will see how the price of fast food varies, but you will at least know you are not getting ripped off, or at least not getting ripped off too badly.
here, if you are interested, is what US$9 buys you at Burger King in Dubai.
i actually have no idea what a deluxe chicken & cheese burger, fries and a coke costs in the USA or England, but the price i paid for the above seemed reasonable enough with the guarantee that it was going to taste exactly as i expected. whilst the food on the planes was great, this was a most splendid thing to sit down and eat properly in between flights.
i cannot be bothered to change the order of how these pics uploaded, so forgive me if things go a bit random in this post, by the way.
mindful of Christopher's, and indeed to an extent Andrew's, interests, here is a glimpse of some of the shopping you can do.
yes, that's a whole whack of Boss (is it in fact Hugo Boss?) threads you can purchase. what are the prices like? no idea, sorry. it didn't look like they made shirts or a pair of strides for the man with a more blessed figure such as your humble narrator, so i didn't bother looking. i can tell you that the replica sports shirt struck me as being somewhat on the higher price level, probably about the same cost as you would pay for them on the shelves in England.
the big winner for duty/tax free shopping in Dubai is, of course, cigarettes and alcohol. whereas duty free purchases in England were not all that cheap in this regard, cigarettes were way cheaper, even cheaper than the SA shelf price. i am no longer all that much of a drinker so i couldn't say if the booze was lower, but it certainly looked like good prices.
other shopping was somewhat hit and miss. i would say this - avoid CDs, DVDs and Blu Rays for the most part. i worked out the costing and none of them were any cheaper on the shelf in the Dubai stores than you would get them in the UK or USA, either on the shelf at HMV or online off something like amazon. strangely, the Django Unchained blu-ray i picked up at Tesco was cheaper than it was on offer at any duty & tax free store. go figure.
i did pick up a couple of DVDs, of course, but only ones that i knew i could not find anywhere else at all. one of them was a particularly happy find - Morons From Outer Space. that cost roughly US$17, but was happy to pay it as it does not seem available anywhere at the moment. certainly not online, as it were.
the biggest winner, if you are going duty free shopping and looking for savings, outside of cigarettes is probably anything electronic. my costing suggested that iTwat devices like the iPod and iPad can be picked up in Dubai for, give or take, just over half what you would expect to pay on the shelves. they also had those network-free iPhone things for a reasonable price if you wanted them.
on that note, i would have loved to have get one of these presumably exclusive phones for Colin or indeed my (considerably) better half, but they were rather out of my price range.
if Colin or Christopher happen to be in the Dubai duty free area with a spare US$1,000 then no doubt they can get one of these class Aston Martin phones. if i am ever grown up and rich enough i would certainly consider one!
right, here's a picture i took of the elevators that you take down from the B gates to get to the train to the A gates. smart elevators and that, but i am not sure why i took this picture to be honest.
i probably took it to give you a further idea on the size and scope of the airport. it truly is massive, and is a wonder of modern construction. as busy as it is, it's really a very pleasant place to find yourself in.
here's another picture i took to try and give a sense of the size, although it probably has not come out too well. probably the best i could do with a blueberry pic on a moving escalator, though!
and, for no apparent reason, here is the map of where the B gates are.
if that's any use to Christopher or anyone else planning a wander through Dubai, well then so much the better i suppose!
oh, look, another peek at the shopping area in Dubai. this is the store where those class Aston Martin phones were on sale, as well as any iTwat device you can imagine.
they also had a whack of non-iTwat devices on sale too. if i remember the mathematics, the latest blueberry models (all network-free) were at about 60% of the cost on the shelves. the iTwat iPhone 4 was, if i remember right, sat there for about US$350 or just over 200 pounds, which is a bit less than what you would pay for a network-locked one in the UK, going on what Andrew told me.
so, if you need a new phone, laptop, iTwat device or anything like that and you are travelling via Dubai, then yes, wait and purchase one of them there. apologies if that all sounds like an advert for Dubai, i am just trying to give tips!
and here's a big massive advert featuring Usain Bolt. the reason for me taking this picture rather escapes me at the moment, probably to do with it being near the escalators and elevators to get to the train for the A gates.
now here's a bit of a practical image for you. first off, it shows them class walkway things. you know, the ones that you stand on and it moves you along in a lovely way, except you always get impatient, moody and ignorant twats that insist on walking on them and push people out of the way to do so. if that's what you want to do, just walk in the bit next to it, surely?
also there you can see the ace chairs to sit and wait on. most airports adopt an approach of "we do not like you and we will make you uncomfortable". not so in Dubai - all seats have cushions and are very comfortable. there are also loads of cushioned bed-like things around the airport for you to sleep on if you so wish. the major difference between Dubai airport and all others in the world is that in Dubai they seem delighted that you are visiting and are genuinely happy to have people there. Heathrow pay attention.
this picture sort of works.
the blue-green lights there are part of a truly amazing waterfall / fountain feature that's incredible to see. and it's tucked away behind the glass elevators!
and finally, i could not do this post without a brief return to shopping. of the many things you could buy in Dubai airport, this was about the only thing that left me baffled.
just who is it that is buying washing powder in duty free? and in that size too? it is not like the residents of Dubai can pop in to do their weekly shopping. i mean, is it that people are saying "we need some washing powder for when we get home or for where we are going", or does this strike you as the ideal last minute gift for someone?
i sort of hung around this shelf for a bit to see if anyone came and bought some Persil, or indeed to see if anyone was excited about picking up a big Omo as it were. sadly, if not unsurprisingly, no one even had a glance at the stuff.
right then, for all you non-smokers, hopefully that's given you a few tips if you are heading the way of Dubai!
be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!