This is now the last part of my prolonged South Africa trip. This will pick up from my early evening departure in Durban onward to Dubai then back home in Manila.
The Emirates aircraft that will bring us to Dubai is an Airbus A330-200.
This is the only direct flight of Emirates from Durban to Dubai. And one of the very few international flights to Durban.
I was wondering why a smaller aircraft is being used for this route. Although this is a widebody, this is still a bit smaller in capacity compared with the B773s. I found out the reason later on. The plane is hardly filled up.
The 2-4-2 configuration typical of A330s, however, works best for me. Especially if I’m seated to either of the 2 flanks. There’s no other passenger in my row. Now I can rest. The two ladies in front of me split up and ended up each claiming her own row (read: bed).
Most of the passengers are middle-eastern families, locals and Europeans. There is hardly any Asian like me. But I’m sure there are fellow Pinoys in this flight.
The cabins are surprisingly silent. After the usual predeparture safety vids and that cool ICE video, the lights went off for take off. We had a great view of the city lights of Durban and nearby cities.
This is somewhat a red-eye flight so people must be stressed out. After dinner was served, everybody just wanted to do their own thing. No more conversations. The world, even at 30K feet, has become quite impersonal. So I thought.
I got myself busy watching a movie from the PTV. I ended up watching Battle: Los Angeles. I was reluctant to watch movies like this. But just to kill time.
But man…that movie left me thinking. Thinking about how fragile life could be. And how helpless man could get. More importantly, I thought I can do something for my neighbors. I don’t want them to suffer the same agony as the civilians in the movie. If only they’d listen to the kingdom message. What we’re about to see is not an alien invasion like the one in the movie. But the fatalities can be just as horrible. In the end humans came out victorious in the movie. But in reality, Jehovah’s army led by Jesus Christ will come out victorious in a battle called Armageddon. What we decide and do now will determine if we’ll get spared in that coming destruction of the wicked. I hope people will start heeding to that warning.
I took out my organizer and started writing down notes. The nice lady FA assigned in my cabin said… “Going home?” Simple words. Whether sincere or not, it’s got tremendous impact on me. I know you’d ask that to passengers who had been away from home for months. I have been away for only 3 weeks.
“Yeah!” I replied back. Yes, I’m going home. But I’m sad to leave South Africa. But I got my family back there in my home country. I got a huge task taking care of them emotionally and spiritually.
I pulled out my laptop and started replying back to some personal emails. The flight will take over eight hours. So there’s plenty of time for me to think and write. Only that my laptop battery can only last for maybe a couple of hours. I think I’m the only one minding his laptop in this flight. Another FA who was distributing water and juice earlier approached me and handed me a deck of cards. She said it’s free. I took it. Thanked her. She gave me a pat on the shoulder. Perhaps that means “relax…don’t take life too seriously. Try to enjoy sometimes.” I gave the cards to my father.
We arrived in Dubai at dawn. I could see the horizon starting to shine up with the nice colourful streak of light.
Upon final approach, we had a glimpse of the warm city lights below that is of Dubai:
As usual, all transiting passengers had to go through security checks. And since Dubai has become a common transit point to passengers to Africa, Europe, Asia and even North Am and Australia, the queues can get very very long.
This is a foreign airport I’ve been to with high population of Pinoys. Almost at par with the Indians. Of course you could see locals anywhere.
This time, I have over 3 hours to spend to take some airport shots. So I did. Making up for the chance I missed during my first time here. Here are some of the photos I got:
The airport’s design looks neat. You could sense luxury anywhere.
Some parts can get very crowded. But with its sheer size and constant movement of flights, I think it hasn’t surpassed it’s capacity yet. In fact, construction of an extension of the terminal is underway.
I had the chance to look around. I chanced upon some superjumbos waiting for their morning departures.
Side by side with each other:
A sight to behold.
This is the gate for the flight to Manila
And this will be the Emirates Boeing B777-300ER that will bring us to Manila. I wish EK will soon bring one of its superjumbos to Manila.
It’s right beside this flight using the rare Boeing 777-200LR (long range) or simply B77L.
I believe this is bound for Houston (IAH) – one of the most distant routes of Emirates. It takes 16 long hours that will cross Europe and the Atlantic.
The gates are at the lower floor. It afforded me a better view of the nice curvy architecture of the airport.
I was one of the last batch to board. With the number of Filipinos on-board I felt like I was in a Philippine Airlines domestic flight. Most passengers are OFWs in Dubai and other nearby gulf countries. Some are transiting from Europe.
I preselected my seat online and opted for an aisle seat. At first, I noticed my seat was occupied. I checked my boarding pass. I couldn’t be wrong. But since it’s a preggy lady, I willingly gave up my seat so she can move more freely. I was to seat in the middle. Not a comfortable seat. But I didn’t really mind. Especially if that’s for the benefit of a needy passenger. After all, this is a B777. Seating pitch is generous.
After few minutes, however, the other row across us started to have a commotion. It’s over the same seating problem. We just found out that a mid-aged fellow Pinoy on the other row is supposedly occupying our row. And that the lady beside me should be seated on that other row. It’s still an aisle row for her. So there’s no fuss with that. In the end, I ended up having my original aisle seat. All’s well that ends well.
We had some nice chats with my two seatmates. Both of them are OFWs in Dubai. They are skilled workers. Apparently, they’re not concerned about the issue of downsizing the foreign workers in this Arab nation. We taxied to the runway. The window passenger took out his SLR and started to snap some shots. I got a DSLR too, I thought. But I was at the aisle row. It’s quite uncomfortable for me to be doing that. So I let my cam rest. I have taken more than enough photos during this trip.
We arrived in Manila just before midnight. This will be the very same flight that will fly back to Dubai a little after midnight.
So this ends the short but fun-filled trip to the southernmost country of the African continent. What I enjoyed mostly are the experiences I had in each destination. But the flights from one point to another via different types of aircraft never fail to amaze the kid in me.