** STOPPRESS – since this article I have actually been to Dubai and the UAE.
How boring is it to write a travel story about visiting an airport? The answer is very, but I like to document everything and this journey was an emotional one. Plus it was my first time landing in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A story which had a 4 year history behind it (I was supposed to go to the UAE in 2008 and couldn’t afford it). Everything began in Manchester, or Bury.
First things first was saying another emotional farewell to the lads – Dan, Shep, Rich and Austin. I had been in England for just 2 days, flying there just to meet up with the lads for the first time in three years and to go and watch Bournemouth playing Bury away. When I checked the flight schedules, it meant going straight from the match to Manchester airport for my flight to Dubai. But we moved fast and this allowed us to have a beer in the balcony bar before parting. It had gone full circle, as this was the bar I had met Dan and Austin in just two days earlier. Those two days were my only two days in England in the last three years (having spent the previous six living there).
I had my ticket from Manchester Picadilly to the Airport. It was only about a 25 minute journey so I could relax a bit knowing I had time before my flight.
Having said an emotional goodbye to the lads, I took this photo from the train station entrance. You can see them sitting on the balcony in the bar there. It was another goodbye. April 14th 2012. I wasn’t sure when would be the next time I’d see them.
I boarded my train and it left on time.
The train journey out of Manchester included a sunset over the Etihad Stadium, home of the Premier League Champions Manchester City (though not at the time). Manchester City won the league about a month later in dramatic fashion (two goals in injury time to beat QPR 3-2). I still have never been to that stadium, nor did I ever go to Maine Road. Where my Dad once played, and hit a post. I must get him to document that story to me again.
Sunset in Manchester. I like Manchester. I don’t visit it often, and have only been 4 times, but I like it.
View from the train. I kept looking for the area known as Burnage as that’s where the Gallagher brothers of Oasis fame grew up.
On the train. Tired. Cherries scarf on. Ready for the long trip home. Within 29 hours I was back in work in Hong Kong. After a stop off in Dubai and a sleep.
My flight came up on the screen and there was time for a final quick snack and a pint in England.
I could relax, I spoke to Mum and Dad on the phone from this spot and as the sun set it was time to leave England again. I was a bit happier and less emotional than my departure back in October 2009, the day I decided to leave for good. It took three years to go back to England after that, maybe it won’t be such a long gap until the next time.
A fresh Guinness and a plate of British chips.
The sun went down in Manchester Airport. Hint of sadness about that.
Match programme – my first Bournemouth match for 3 seasons – Bury away at Gigg Lane – we lost 1-0 – full report on the football trip to come!!
The teams for the Bury v. Bournemouth match. We lost 1-0. It was a boring, nothing, middle of the table game.
First flight ticket flying with Emirates. Manchester to Dubai.
Second ticket. After a 3 hour layover in Dubai, I’d be flying back to Hong Kong.
Even Economy Class has a TV on every seat! The joy of flying with Emirates.
Posh plane! Everyone had their own TV. Not poncy at all.
First meal arrived and I ate and drank everything! Even the crap tin of Budweiser they gave me.
Then a snack arrived and I got some sleep.
Arrival in Dubai. We were outside just before this and it was so hot.
Dubai airport is very very posh and over elaborate.
Check out the amount of flights that came in. So I had 3 hours and my big bag was already checked through to the next flight. By the time I got through immigration, I had about 2 hours 20 minutes left and I gathered not enough time to pop to see the city and back.
I walked outside for a while as I had a bit of time, but there was nothing really to sight. You can’t really do much sightseeing in or around an airport!
This photo is as much as I have seen of Dubai! Of course I wished I could see more of it, even stay overnight. And of course go up the Burj Khalifa which is now easily the world’s highest building.
Dubai has a metro system and lots of signs in English too so travelling around might have been easy enough. Still I decided it was time to relax, find a bar and head onwards to Hong Kong.
Elaborate luggage belt section in Dubai.
Tourist guides. But I was after a beer. I knew I could find a bar.
I found The Hub bar up a lift.
View from the entrance to The Hub Bar. If I couldn’t see Dubai, I was at least going to buy a beer there!
And the bar had Guinness! How odd. I couldn’t believe it. This was very different to the last Middle East Airport I had been to – the one in Doha in Qatar. Certainly no bar in that one.
A guide to Dubai (free of course – I didn’t buy one!), a Guinness and free nuts. I did a wee bit of reading up on Dubai and am now intrigued by it. Will have to visit sometime!
Still wearing my Bournemouth shirt! I took a photo of myself in The Hub in Dubai Airport. The only photo of me in the United Arab Emirates to date.
Passport proof that I have been to the UAE! Well for 3 hours…
It was time to board my flight back to Hong Kong.
From the window of the plane I actually saw more of Dubai than I had from anywhere in the airport.
First onboard meal. Emirates do it well.
Second onboard meal. It was a tiring trip so I rested my head, got a wee sleep and landed back in Hong Kong on the Sunday night late and straight to work for 8am Monday. Ouch!
On a final note, fate and life hasn’t been kind to me in terms of getting to see the United Arab Emirates. Hence why this fells like a fake travel report. Despite Dubai and Abu Dhabi being common transport hubs and flight connecting airport, this 3 hours I spent there is to date the only time I have ever been to the UAE. In 2008 after completing my degree I had the option to go to Abu Dhabi to attend a global communications get together. At Bournemouth University I had studied International Public Relations and done a report on Abu Dhabi without having gone there. In October 2008 when the chance arrived to go there, I just couldn’t afford it. It wasn’t just the time off work, it was the added expense. That was a tad sad, as the University would have helped subside the trip for me. The trip included a full 5 day guided tour of the United Arab Emirates. You know it’s kind of a regret I didn’t go. In fact the only person that did go from my course was Jersey girl Summer Parkin, and through her photos on Facebook, I lived the memory of the UAE and what might have been.
Since my stop over in the UAE, my Dad has been on a business trip, and has been to Dubai and Abu Dhabi on that. My girlfriend Panny Yu has also been to the city of Dubai. Someday I’ll get there you know…
A Few Photos That Aren’t Mine –
These photos are from SUMMER PARKIN, a fellow student who went and had fun in the UAE at the Globcom Event – money aside I really don’t know why I didn’t go there! I will write a report on that too sometime.
And here are a few photos my Dad took in Dubai and Abu Dhabi:
Possibly the worst bit of travel reporting I’ve done, see you sometime, UAE!
From – Gigg Lane, Bury, ENGLAND
To – Lam Tin, Kowloon, HONG KONG
Via – Dubai, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Transport Used – Bury to Manchester tram, Manchester Airport Train, 2 Aeroplanes, Hong Kong Airport Bus
Countries Visited – England, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong
Bars Visited – Balcony Bar, Manchester Picadilly; Airport Bar, Manchester Airport; The Hub, Dubai Airport
Beers Tried – Guinness, Budweiser
Nationalities Met – English, Cornish, United Arab Emirateans, Hong Kongers
Strange Currencies – English pounds and pence (British Sterling), Emirati Dirham, Hong Kong Dollars
Key Song –
DAD AND I PLAYING ONE OF MY SONGS “INTERNATIONAL ANTHEM” ON GUITAR TOGETHER JUST 3 DAYS BEFORE I FLEW TO DUBAI (the song includes the line “Monday morning comes too soon and I’m sleeping on the moon”):
(My Dad has since been to Dubai and Abu Dhabi through work. I was pretty pleased he beat me to it at seeing these two cities. Though I hope I can see them both sometime)
My Videos –
POST MATCH VIDEO FROM THE BALCONY BAR IN PICADILLY STATION, MANCHESTER:
TRAIN FROM PICADILLY TO MANCHESTER AIRPORT:
ARRIVAL AT DUBAI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT:
HAVING A BEER IN THE HUB, DUBAI AIRPORT:
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