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The 5 Stans of the Silk Road

RooFlyer

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Strange start to the day. I had arranged a EK Chauffeur Drive from Sydney to the airport through Qantas (QFF award). I had to change the pick-up address. It wadabitof a hassle to change, but eventually contacted the CD company and all OK.

Then on Friday I got an email from another company ( Hughes) seeking confirmation. It had the old address in there, so I changed it, and that was confirmed ok.

A bit odd, but I assumed it was just contractors and subcontractors contractors etc.

So nice black Hughes limo arrives this morning, in I get and on my way. Halfway to the airport I get a call from 'my' driver, saying he's waiting outside!

I give him the bad news, assuming EKor QF had double booked.

Seems they had. On way it transpires that Hughes got the contract from EK in Aoril. Seems noone told the other bunch.

So, now at check in early while they are still putting out the rope lines.

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RooFlyer

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I think I figured out the mix up. I had to contact Qantas originally to change the pick up address. They had to do it 'manually' by contacting the CD company direct. Looks like they didn't realise that Emirates had changed the CD contractor. So the old contractor thought they had booked a new job!

Like I said, I was contacted by the new contractor, Hughes also, but assumed it was a subcontractor thing.

I wonder who will wear the cost of the extra service, QF or EK?

Anyway, through immigration and security in quick time ( in spite of no priority Lane) and am now in a happy place.

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RooFlyer

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EK417, a B777 SYD-DXB in J. It's been ages since I've been on an Emirates bird. J isn't leading edge, 2-3-2 with an angle flat bed, but it will have to do. I chose 9D , aisle of the middle section. Betting it's 50/50 that the middle pax will go the other way to get out. :)

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Window seats

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PDB and legroom

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Bundy Bear

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Thanks for starting the trip report, looking forward to the commentary along the way when internet allows.
 

RooFlyer

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The J product on the EK B777 was showing its age. The usual faux-wood trimmings, 2-3-2 config, a silly. very heavy IFE controller-with-screen, slow and clunky IFE and angle flat bed. Such a contrast with my recent QR journeys - both the QSuites and the non-QSuites flights were much superior to this one. Dare i say, for a QFF Award flight, I shouldn't have expected much better ;) . I mean it wasn't horrible, but there are much better products out there. You get what you pay for, I guess.

Menu was pretty good, and the FA service very good - couldn't fault it. A G&T and warm nuts to start:

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The soup for me:

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Lamb cutlets were really good. The 'sommelier's choice' wine turned out to be a 2016 Two Hands Shiraz, which was OK (no white equivalent). As I mentioned up-thread, the wine list and selection was a bit disappointing. Again, QR left it for dead.

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and then cheese.

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I deployed my new secret weapon for a good night;s sleep on board: Mattress for J and F beds and the difference between QR and EK was shown again. On the QR flights, I could get the thing unrolled and inflated etc without anyone else knowing what i was doing (even in the non QSuites flight). Here, it was in full view and a couple of fellow pax were curious. Not a problem, but just shows the contrast in privacy.

But the inflatable mattress was a part fail this time - the bed was narrower, and the angle made it slip down the seat as I wriggled and tossed. Very poor nights rest.

'Breakfast' was served about an hour out - an odd choice, since it was going to be midnight when we put down. Fairly standard b'fast; yoghurt and granola for me, plus fruit etc.

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I'd probably rate the FAs on this flight better than the QR ones - the service was less fussy on EK and certainly more efficient. They were also confident enough to chat with a few of the pax who engaged them.

We landed on time and fortunately the vast majority of the pax were transiting, so immigration wasn't that crowded. I was registered for the UAE Smart Gate as I was processed, which will be good for any future return.

Out of customs, turn right for Chauffeur Drive. It was a bit of a bun fight both at the counter and where you get your ride - I've never seen so many black limos all in one place!! A nice ride to the Sofitel Downtown. It was 39 degrees outside, at 1 am!

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RooFlyer

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About 20 mins to the Sofitel Downtown - its close to the Burj Khalifa and the Mall. My flight is at midnight tonight, so I wanted somewhere where I could just veg out without needing to go outside.

Of the 20 mins, the second 7-10 mins was spent navigating a ridiculous maze of roads after you leave the main road/freeway to get to the hotel front door. the driver got lost twice - just momentarily.

I haven't fully explored yet, but this is a quality joint. I booked a club room, pre-paid but was upgraded on arrival to a 'Junior King Suite'. This always happens when I arrive after midnight!! I asked for a very late check-out, which was granted to 2pm, but then I still had the arvo and evening to kill, so I decided to pay for an extension to 9pm, which was pretty readonable ... about A$100 from memory.

Unfortunately, that lost me the 'Junior King Suite', but the room i got was still pretty good :). You could play a cricket match in here.

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Morning reaveled a view of the Burj Khlifa:

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juddles

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I thought the men's EK business amenity kit was worth highlighting. Pretty good, but with the very odd omission of ear plugs!

View attachment 182358
I have always loved the EK kits - especially the F ones. The small shaving cream and deodorant are great features - but the Bulgari aftershave/perfumes in the F kits are to me, wonderful. I am not sure re the J kits, but the F kit razors are a trillion times better than almost anything disposable that you can buy anywhere.
 

RooFlyer

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Dubai. Out to Ashgabat tonight (I hope)

Issues with the heating? Wearing your ski pants? 😅 </childish humour>
Cop this for warm, ummm... oh, whatever ...

IMG_3822.PNG

An hour at the nearby Dubai Mall where I was disappointed to find my favourite juice bar, which used to make the world's best avocado smoothies, was no more :mad:. Used to adjacent to the entrance to the Burj Khalifa elevator ride. Dunno what they put in it - honey and nutmeg I think, but they were delicious.

Then to the Sofitel pool:

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juddles

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Dubai. Out to Ashgabat tonight (I hope)



Cop this for warm, ummm... oh, whatever ...

View attachment 182375

An hour at the nearby Dubai Mall where I was disappointed to find my favourite juice bar, which used to make the world's best avocado smoothies, was no more :mad:. Used to adjacent to the entrance to the Burj Khalifa elevator ride. Dunno what they put in it - honey and nutmeg I think, but they were delicious.

Then to the Sofitel pool:

View attachment 182376

View attachment 182377

View attachment 182378
Highrises and clean pools - remember those when you are out in Stan-Shitsville :)
 

juddles

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....
.... at the nearby Dubai Mall where I was disappointed to find my favourite juice bar, which used to make the world's best avocado smoothies, was no more :mad:............
OMG! No avocado smoothies!! The world is truly rough. I wait in anticipation to learn how you and the other "petal" alias JohnM can survive such dreadful conditions on your travels.... :)
 

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