Day #2 Fliiiiiiiight

The second day began and ended in flight, two long flights that day with only 3 hours stop. The London-Abu Dhabi was “only” 7 hours, full plane and very little space as I already said. The food and service were excellent though, we got a menu, could pick from 3 different main courses, 2 entrées (a fresh salad and a shrimp and rice entrée – I could even eat the shrimp one despite a hint of the hated fresh cilantro). Jón Lárus (husband) had chicken but I decided to be daring and chose the salmon despite being scared of it being dry. Well, it wasn’t dry, far from it, excellent, braised on the outside, soft inside and with spinach a lovely lemon sauce. Mmm! Apricot tart with creamy custard and steel cutlery, not plastic. Not bad, not bad at all.

The in-flight entertainment system was fairly close to the Icelandair one, more and newer movies and series though. Watched a Bones episode, I’ve never seen any of them, which is maybe weird since I’m a Kathy Reichs fan. The sound in Jón Lárus’s screen didn’t work, though and it didn’t help to have the system rebooted. Quite liked the fact that the system’s running on Linux though. We switched seats when I wanted to try to nap, so he could watch.

I liked the fact that by every seat there was a power outlet for the computers. No net, though, suppose that would have been a bit much to ask for.

The flight attendants kept bringing us something to drink, water, juices, soft drinks, beer, wine and drinks, well we didn’t have too much of the last 3, being drunk sure isn’t cool. Had one glass of red wine though to help me sleep. Didn’t work too well though, it’s hard to sleep in such a confined space.

Flight path basically: London-Bucharest-Ankara-Shiraz-Abu Dhabi. I wonder if a US company would have been allowed to fly over Iran. Sort of doubt it but Etihad is of course a UEA company.

At seven AM (local time) we flew towards Abu Dhabi. Saw the man-made palm frond island in Dubai through the mist out the airplane window, an impressive sight in spite of the ugly background story. Unfortunately I didn’t have the camera ready but here’s a stolen photo from the net…

4 in the morning at home, better not send a status update SMS so not as to scare the kids.

Abu Dhabi airport might be the coolest I’ve ever seen. Everything marble and golden and purple lighting, nothing dirty or shabby. Automatic soap dispensers and automatic flushing on the toilets, I’m not sure if I liked that all that much, though, I’m really fanatical about closing the WC before flushing, have you seen a photo of the tiny water drops that swirl up when flushing? I’m not overly scared of bacteria but this is just a bit too much for me…

Everything really, really expensive, too, apparently you can make a killing in gold and jewellery but well, we weren’t there to buy gold so all we bought was some water, a couple of cups of coffee and some chips.

Didn’t find an open net in the airport café area but when we got down to the gate there was free WIFI, I suppose the oil barons can afford to have free internet in the airport. Nice. (well, the oil barons in Norway are a bit more stingy, though…)

The surrounding outside was weird, everything was grayish yellow, I’ve never been to the desert before. Endless sand blowing everywhere, I thought it really amazing that the airport wasn’t full of sand too.

Checking in to the Sydney airplane we got the most relaxed security check of the whole trip, no taking off your jacket, never mind shoes, no taking the computer out of the bag, basically as it used to be in the west. My prejudice slip showing – suppose they think: well nobody would do anything HERE, it’s all for export…

I and Jón Lárus got seats furthest back in the plane, 45. row. The plane took ages getting away in the sand storm, first a long queue, then some technical problem (good none of us is scared of flying) and then more queues out on the runway.

Really cool flight control tower:

Equally small space between the seat rows but this plane was nowhere close to as full, shortly after the seatbelt light went off I secured a middle row for us to lie down during the flight. Not a minute too early, lots of people were looking for same. Saved this 14 hour flight from being too awful.

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June 2010

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