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.

Souvenir Sunday: get some gold at Sacramento International Airport

AYP Novelty Shop from UW Libraries, digital collection

Sunday is Souvenir Sunday here at It’s the day we take a look at some of the fun, inexpensive and “of” a city items you might pick up when you’re stuck at the airport.

This Sunday’s souvenir comes to us from Sacramento International Airport.

Sacramento Made fruit crate label

Back in 1848, you may remember from your history books, gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, not far from Sacramento. This set off the California Gold Rush and a massive migration to California.

Today, you don’t have to go to all that trouble of mining for gold in Sacramento. You can just pick up a few of these tiny gold-filled bottles at the airport on your way home.

Sacramento Airport Gold Jars

Do you poke around for souvenirs when you’re stuck at the airport? If you see something fun, inexpensive ($10 or less) and “of” the city or region, please snap a photo and send it along to use here at  Your souvenir may be featured on a future edition of Souvenir Sunday.