شعور كل شيء في الإمارات
(Translation: Feeling All Up in Emirates).
Mid-afternoon on the day of European departure I had a sudden spasm of sadness. It hit me that that very night I would be leaving the continent, which I had been darting about for nigh on three months. I clutched my wallet (Ok, plastic bag – it’s still the go) of euros and had a dithering of distress that very soon they would not be the currency I would be requiring. But what with the flight being scheduled for a 22.35 take off (which ended up being a 23.50 what with manifold delays) I was considerably deadened as to not be so saddened.
Mel and Joachim dropped me at the Munich Airport (and when I say “dropped me” I mean they parked, carted my bags to check-in and then on to the bulky bag drop off and then gave me a heartfelt hugged valediction send off to security) and after a prolonged park up at the gate (delay, delay, delay) I boarded my flight to Dubai.
And I need to have an avowal here about how fucking fabulous Emirates is. (Are? Are they singular or plural? Mate, that’s a deliberation. I mean, it could be said to be a single entity as an airline but it houses hundreds upon hundreds of staff it could also be plural…. Nope, single it is. Yes, single). (Sorry, but these things matter).
See, I haven’t flown Emirates in a fair while, since my move back to NZ from Brisbane. South East Asia saw Jetstar as the “inexpensive” (SO much better than “cheap”) way to go; India was all about Singapore Airlines (which I declare as on par with Emirates, I must admit) with Air NZ as the fly back, and it was Air NZ again with Air China as the second leg en route to Paris. But what with STA giving me the homebound fly with a week-stop in Dubai for only over a K with Emirates, I was in with a grin (and my Kiwibank credit card).
So upon sussing and settling about my seat (57A in the A380, thus right up the front mate) (but still on the wing as always) I was ecstatic to see not only an inlet for the old iPhone/IPod but also a socket for the standard charger. I whooped out in glee – my lappy was on the last of its battery being and I had been expecting the inability to type up whilst in the air, but the three little lancer-like holes (European power point being the go; how on point – literally – am I having packed all my chargers in my carry on?) had me fist pumping the socket in supremely surprised satisfaction. Emirates was already topping out Air China by myriad miles (especially with the screen not taking a good 27 seconds to respond to every touch).
Now, as of this trip I have taken to toileting before take-off to circumvent the par-for-the-course need to sizzle as soon as the no-stand-up sign pings on. So I did so as soon as I stowed my bag above, the first to make wees since the (faux wooden) bowl had been last laundered. And can I just say, what other airline would have mandarin and sandalwood soap to suds up with at the sink? (And how GOOD is it to have a facility where the flush button is overtly visible and able to be pushed, rather than have to be scrabbled around to (sometimes not) find?).
And oh how elated twas I to find that everyone had boarded and I had THREE SEATS TO MYSELF?! What with Dubai being in Ramadan mode I thought there was the possibility it may just be the case but I hadn’t had my hopes up. I did feel a bit bad; what with my ability to fold over myself and into slumber I thought about offering it up to the three across from me but upon reclining all ideas of such vaporised.
The delay in departure had me flicking through the, well, flicks, on offer to watch one as I waited for the runway. I was overjoyed to see there was How to Be Single as an option which I was all down for until I came across Sisters – and mate, I cannot even say how damn droll and terrific that movie is.
Slight deviation away from Emirates and onto this film; honestly if you haven’t seen it, do. I don’t often laugh out loud when watching but this one had me in convulsions on the constant. How fucking fabulous is Tina Fey? And Amy Poehler is totally top notch too. The whole movie was riddled with the most hilarious of one liners – from, “It’s cicada season so keep your mouth shut”, to, “That last name sounds like a queef on a Swiss ball”, to, “You can’t start with Mony Mony it’s like starting with anal” and, “I flushed a tampon down your toilet”. In one scene Amy (well, her character … I guess) was blow drying her face and hair in the mirror making sultry faces and I couldn’t stop giggling as I thought about how back in the day (when I was like 12, I admit it) I used to do the same and take on a murderous mien so as to pretend to be in a scary movie. And I was totally tickled to find out that Lily from Princess Diary as well as Lillian from Bridesmaids were part of the plot also.
Seriously, if you haven’t seen it go and do so as momentarily as viable (I.e., “ASAP” mate).
Ahem, Back to the airline.
I have to say I was a touch gutted when no warm towelettes were offered upon taxi-ing for take-off. But in their place “refreshing towels” were administered, and I have to concede that they were actually far more apt in their cool wipe form for the tepid temp of the time.
The intercom (intercom? Speaker? The word evades me) welcomed us – first in Arabic, then English, then German, telling that the staff on-board came from more than 17 countries and spoke 22 languages among them. Like, how is that for talented and having all on offer?
My meal arrived soon after (being a “vegan” I’m always first served). And how on point was it! Some pickled veges, a meal made up of more veges and some yellow rice (left aside), a chocolate and raspberry torte (ditto) and the staple bread roll. And I was totally tickled to find a little bite-sized chocolate and mini pack of three Tic Tacs! (Stowed in my bag to pass onto to a certain little someone I have a little lot of lollies for). Plus – the best bit – the meal included a little “food fun fact” card, being, “There are more than 7500 tomato varieties grown around the world”. I mean, what more of a merriment maker could there be in a meal?
(Insertation: Just went back to the bathroom and found the soap is actually amber, mandarin and sandalwood. It just gets better and better).
After an hour-and-a-half or so kip (felt totally culpable upon awakening in all my lounging and lolling glory and seeing the man in the aisle opposite looking excruciatingly uncomfortable as he dozed – in the loosest sense of the word – absolutely upright; I really should have offered some of my seating up) I took to watching another film, this time being Bradley Cooper’s Burnt. I had heard some not so sensational things about the movie, so was pleasantly well, pleased to find I totally liked it; I guess what with working so long in hospo and seeing head chef Brent in seriously stressful strifes on Saturday night, a part of me could relate. I was lost in my own kitchen and scrapbook filling-in world when the intercom came over (-riding my movie, I must begrudge) saying we were starting our descent and the whole stow-tray-table-armrest-down-blinds-up shtick was enumerated.
So Emirates was right on point bar one minorly major aspect; the staff. Usually they are charismatically charming and graciously genteel, but I found the three allocated to our aisle to be elusive, I might even go insofar as to say snobby. Any attempts I well, attempted at shared smiles went rightly unreciprocated, and all expressions of thanks or gratitude for service were met with but a brief bare of the teeth, if an admission at all. (Addition here at a later date: surprisingly, I’ve found a good 90 per cent of all people come by in UAE to be rather unforthcoming and withholding of help).
But high hopes are held for the direct dozy from Dubai to NZ next week (16 hours straight mate; brought in December just gone) for an improvement on the intel for one hundred per cent raving reviews.
(Now go watch Sisters).