Posts Tagged ‘Expo2020’

Back to Dubai

Evening view from our room

Ever since I’d heard about it, I’d wanted to visit Expo 2020 in Dubai. I wasn’t sure what the Expo would actually be, or be about, but it sounded interesting & fun; and of course it would be in Dubai, which I knew. (Well, I’d been there a few times.) So from late 2018 I started asking Trailfinders if they knew about it, and they said (a bit uncertainly at that time) that they were sure they did, but that they had no details yet. Then of course Covid arrived in early 2020, and international travel stopped; and that was that, I assumed. However, the Dubai government obtained agreement to postpone the event for 12 months, to run from Autumn 2021 to early spring 2022. So here we are, in February/March 2022, attending Expo 2020! – they retained the original name.

I say ‘we’, because one advantage of the enforced delay is that Val is no longer working – she retired in July 2021 – and has therefore been able to come with me without any problems. Cue a search for hotels of a quality to suit…

We booked through Trailfinders in Sheffield, for a seven night stay at the Grand Hyatt, not too far from the airport. I think it dates from the late 90s and must have been planned before then, so just before the explosion in construction. Certainly it stands in its own grounds, including gardens and a pool. In contrast the newer hotels along Sheikh Zayed road are each in their own spectacular tower, but the tower is all there is.

We flew with Emirates from Manchester. It’s about 7 hours or so in the air, which generally means 8 hours or so on the plane. Our flight was scheduled to leave Manchester at 13:10, arriving at Dubai International airport at around midnight local time (about 8pm UK time). In the event it was delayed for a couple of hours – the inbound flight was late arriving, and then because it was snowing(!) at Manchester airport the aircraft needed de-icing, and there’s a lot of A380 to de-ice. So in the event we didn’t land at Dubai until 2am local time.

Entry to Dubai went very quickly and smoothly, as did getting our bags. We had arranged a transfer to the hotel which got us there quickly and very comfortably. Even so it was 3:15am when we checked in and about 4 o’clock before we collapsed into bed. (Fortunately, Emirates’ schedules mean that travellers are arriving into Dubai throughout the night, so the reception desks at the hotels are staffed 24/7 – no night porters here.) We had thought that we would not sleep easily – that sudden switch between busy busy travelling and lying in bed can be disconcerting – but in fact we both slept well, if not perhaps overly long. We woke up at around half-past nine the following morning; fortunately, breakfast is served from 6am to 11am. Having breakfasted we took a taxi to Dubai Mall, to get some currency and a local sim for my phone. Details of this adventure, together with an impromptu visit to the aquarium at Dubai Mall, will be in the next post!

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