Friday, July 02, 2010


I've been to Dubai maybe once in 2001, entirely by accident as a flight to India was stuck in dense fog. Since 2007, however, I've flown to Doha via Dubai many times. Dubai airport is a destination of it's own.

Some of the facts are pretty mind blowing: Emirates Terminal 3 is the world's largest terminal by floorspace. When I flew in today, I noticed that they were literally doubling the terminal area and construction's in full swing. Dubai airport services about 40 Million passengers a year, which is much many times more than the actual population of the UAE (~7 Million). Dubai duty free is the world's largest duty free operation with over with over 1 Billion dollars in sales and about 20 Million transactions a year. 5600 flights a week to over 200 destinations by nearly 100 different airlines.

Sure, all these facts and figures about the airport are pretty impressive, but what usually moves me is the Human aspect of this incredible place. Dubai airport is a transit melting pot, located roughly in the center of the world. When whizzing past one gate to another, I see and encounter thousands of people for a quick glance, a brief moment where our lives intersect. I get to see people from all walks of life, and a game I love to play is "What's their story". You see an elderly couple gradually making their way through the terminal to get to their flight, probably to visit their children and grandchildren in a far-away foreign land. Immigrant laborers, confused and dazed, somehow managing to navigate this mammoth structure to get to their next flight. People happy and excited to be reunited with their families, or sad that they are going far, far away and won't see them again for a long time. Excited tourists onward to an exotic location. Businessmen, with their laptops and blackberries, typing away and making sure that they are on top of their job, even while traveling. And so much more.

This very mix, blend of people from all walks of life, from all over the world, all with their own story, their own chapters of life all going forward in motion. It's a sight to behold and really puts your life in perspective.

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