Dubai International Airport

Giant chocolate tower at Dubai International Airport

Courtesy- Dubai International Airport

Courtesy- Dubai International Airport

No nibbling…

An all-chocolate version of the world’s tallest skyscraper – Burj Khalifa – is on display on Concourse A in Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport.

The tower is just over 44-feet-tall and was created by Master Chocolatier Andrew Farrugia as part of the 43rd UAE National Day celebrations at Dubai Airports in hopes of breaking a Guinness World Record.

More than 9,000 pounds of high quality Belgian chocolate and 1,050 hours of teamwork went into making the tower, which will be on display for two weeks.

Farrugia, who has worked in the pastry and baking field for the past 32 years, is no stranger to giant chocolate sculptures. In November, 2012 he set a Guinness World Record in Brussels, when he built an chocolate steam train 111 feet long.

Love the layover: dizzy in Dubai

The email telling me that Emirates Airlines is knocking $1,000 off business class fares between Dubai and San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas (DFW), Seattle (SEA) and Washington, D.C. (IAD) this summer (a great deal, but still way out of my budget) reminds me that I still have some photos to share from my Emirates-hosted trip to Dubai in April.

I was, of course, most interested in exploring Dubai International Airport. But that had to wait until the very early morning of my flight back home.

First there were a few whirlwind days in a surprising city where a lot of attractions were charming and, in many cases, charmingly over the top.

Charming: markets selling everything from spices and shawls to geegaws and, of course, gold.

Charmingly over the top:

The world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which you may recognize from the most recent Mission Impossible film.

Here’s a view from the top:

The building is a dizzying 2,716.5 feet high and more than 160 stories tall and has a vending machine up on the observation deck that dispenses souvenirs made of gold.

Back on the ground, Ski Dubai – a ski resort inside the Mall of the Emirates, complete with skiing, snowboarding and a resident waddle of penguins was definitely charming and definitely over the top.

Also over-the-top: the Burj Al Arab hotel.

Referred to as “the world’s only seven-star hotel,” (it’s actually a deluxe 5-star property, but let’s not quibble) it looks like a billowing sail from the outside and inside has two-story suites with knock-out views and amenities that include butlers on call. Here’s a peek inside one of the swankier bathrooms.

Dizzy? Tomorrow…Stuck at Dubai International Airport.

Souvenir Sunday at Dubai International Airport

It’s Souvenir Sunday – a day to take a look some fun and inexpensive items you can purchase when you’re stuck at the airport.

This week’s finds come from Dubai International Airport , which is known for offering the world’s largest duty free operation.

Gold is a big draw at this airport and each year Dubai Duty Free racks up gold sales of more than $120 million.

No souvenirs made of gold fit into my Souvenir Sunday guidelines of “fun, inexpensive and ‘of’ the city or region,” so I headed for the gift shops offering more affordable items, such as hookahs, wooden camels and sand.

Greetings from Dubai

14 hours – give or take an hour or so if the winds are with you – is all it takes to fly from Seattle to Dubai on the new Emirates route that started on March 1, 2012.

First-Class passengers have private suites, Business Class passengers like me (thank-you Emirates) get seats that turn into lie-flat beds and everyone gets to use ice – the in-flight entertainment system that has information channels (including an external camera), phone, text and email service (at a cost) that also allows you to call other passengers on the flight (free), and more than 600 channels of movies and other entertainment.

I haven’t yet had a good tour of the Dubai International Airport but here are a few quick takes from arrival:

For families getting off the flight, Emirates thoughtfully provides strollers right there at the gate.

There are palm trees in baggage claim.

And the location of the prayer rooms are clearly marked.

Stay tuned for more..

Greetings from Dubai International Airport


Bobbi Passavanti sent along this “review” of  Dubai International Airport:

Arrived into Dubai last night via Paris from Atlanta without incident…  Landing at DXB exceeded expectations. Truly an amazing airport and retail was abundant and high end.  Chandeliers and palm trees, customer-friendly and bright lighting.

We arrived to Passport Control and although the lines were very, very long, we simply showed our passport to the agent and within a minute of stamping our passport, we were off to Duty Free. Then luggage – and luggage was right there waiting for us.

Palm trees? Chandeliers?  Hopefully she’ll get some pictures – and souvenirs – on her way home.