Christmas day in airports

Last Christmas I gave you my heart…uh, wrong piece of writing…I worked an incredibly heartwarming shift in the Crisis Rough Sleepers Centre in London, followed by a sandwich and Doctor Who in a Premier Inn at Gatwick airport!

This Christmas started off in Singapore, with an inexplicable brass rubbing counter at Changi Terminal 3??!

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After a 1 1/2 hour flight was a 4-hour layover in Kuching (Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo). Which, sadly, is the only dry airport I’ve ever found. Not even a single Christmas drink. In the end, I found some Ferrero Rocher and had a Christmas tea party with Travel Paddington.

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Only one tip for Kuching: clear immigration even if you’re only in transit. Three separate airport staff told me to remain airside. That led to “squeaky bum time” (though not literally…no, ahem, intimate searches for me!), when I finally arrived at Kota Kinabalu. Apparently Malaysian law (at time of writing) is to clear immigration on first touch of soil, even if you don’t leave the airport.

Tropical rainstorms meant it was unsafe to take off, so we sat on the tarmac for nearly an hour before heading to Kota Kinabalu. Through dense clouds on the bumpiest flight I’ve ever had the “privilege” to endure.

Still, travel is made of such fun moments. And a short taxi ride later I was at my hotel.

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I hope you all have a great Christmas X

Day 1: Disneyland on acid

Hello from Dubai: a surreal world of bright, bright lights and strange, strange shapes.

A place where you will find the tallest building in the world (the Burj Al Khalifa)…

Burj Al Khalifa, Dubai

… where shopping centres contain fountains, aquariums & theme parks, plus ice rinks and ski slopes WITH REAL SNOW (yes, it snows inside the shopping centre). And ladies in burkas go snowboarding!

Indoor ski slope, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

A place of crazy man-made islands with hotels that are a cross between the Ferrero Rocher ambassador’s gaff, and that of Karl Stromberg in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.
That hotel – the Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah – has a house speciality cocktail called ‘Ambassador Lagoon’, which matched their piano bar’s aquamarine walls, and was pretty much bang on the thematic money.

Atlantis Hotel, Dubai

I’ll add more photos when I get a better wi-fi connection (Dubai International Airport’s, somewhat implausibly, is borderline useless). Until then, here’s a man dressed as a horse skulking around in a consumer electronics shop. No, I don’t know either!

I’m off to board a flight to Kuala Lumpur (singing the b3ta badger song over and over again!), so see you on the other side.