As I said, in my last post, the requirement to land in Amman, Jordan or another country like Lebanon before going to Dubai is nonsense. We park in the middle of all the huge tarmac with all the other heavy metal. They marshaled us into a space such that we could not turn around and leave without a push back. Push back HondaJet style is literally pushing with your back since we don’t carry a tow bar and their machinery was only for the big guys. Suffice it to say it was shockingly difficult to simply push the plane backwards 40 feet so we could do a 180 after the ground marshal said it was ‘strictly forbidden!’ to hand push the plane according to his superior. Thanks be to God, Travis is infinitely patient as he explains we have two choices, either take the wings off the plane or allow us to do a push back …That took us two hours. No passport check since we never left the ramp.
We applied for and achieved a World Speed Record from Amman to Dubai sanctioned by the FAI (Fédération Aéronautique Internationale) which requires the towers to mark the exact time of departure and arrival. It was also an endurance test for the plane which require Long Range Cruise setting and we landed with the required reserves in 3:22. It was also a little surreal to be flying so close to Iran (about 2 miles outside of their airspace). I shot a couple of photos of our navigation showing we were 175 miles from Shiraz. Lord have mercy.
Dubai, as you would expect, overwhelmed the senses starting with the private Jetex General Aviation Terminal (FBO) complete with Rolls Royce transport from the plane to the FBO. The FBO owned by Jetex must be the most opulent in the world (see photos). White glove F&B service in surroundings that included a Bentley, Porsche, and Rolls on display inside. This was Jetex’s crown jewel and they sponsored our stay at their place and took care of the fuel, airport fees, and transport to the hotel and we in turn, agreed to interviews and static demos with their social engagement team. (See photos).
Stayed in the Grosvenor Hotel, a Starwood (now Marriott) managed property provided by a dear friend (he wouldn’t allow me to pay for anything! Thank you Vafa). I would rank it in my top five hotel experiences. (Thank you Mihyon Cho, Guest Service Assistant) Anticipation of guest needs was exceeded at every turn and the location in the Marina District is ideal for seeing the new Dubai.
We had three days and four nights and my host never stopped showing me around and feeding me with over the top food at every meal. Had my first dessert bomb there. This is where they put plastic over the table and drop the dessert which is in a chocolate shell. It breaks, lots of applause and it was amazing ... I gained two kilos there.
I felt I was in a science fiction movie. (biggest cause of traffic accidents are camel crossings the road and Lamborghinis …think about it) I expected to see cars flying through the air. To say it is Vegas on steroids is not sufficient. (Car tags with only four digits are auctioned for up to $1.2 million USD since they represent older more prestigious residents) I thought I was prepared but I wasn’t. I could spend pages describing the scale and exquisite taste in architecture and interior design. I am sure I was the exact mimic of Gomer Pile, jaw opened, looking up, saying ‘Goll-lee, would you look at that!’ again and again and again. The tallest building in the world (we went to the top) the largest mall in the world complete with an indoor snow ski hill (5 million square feet and adding on). My friend builds cities and has been a resident for 19 years. He was responsible for building The Marina district complete with ‘the creek’ and 120 high-rises. The creek, BTW, is a U-shaped canal carved into the desert that allows excursion boats and personal yachts to cruise around this section of town and into the gulf.
We went to see Abu Dubai where the third largest Mosque in the world is located and they dressed me in a local garb since I was in shorts (see photo but don’t go viral please). I am made aware, once again, that there is a zillion more Muslims than any other religion. This one mosque houses less than the 120,000-person mosque in Casablanca, but I still think it accommodates around 80,000. It is the world’s newest mosque and cost over $1 billion USD.
Back to the airport in my Jetex provided E class Mercedes (I didn’t rank the Rolls) and the departure was easy (except for poor Travis who couldn’t come back into the FBO for two hours once he exited to refuel the plane… this is a snag that must be worked out between the FBO and the airport security) … on our way to New Delhi.
Thank you to Jetex for setting a new standard in General Aviation facilities and special thanks to ADEL MARINI, President and CEO for his vision and acute sense of style and taste and to Ossama Alazem, Ground Handling Manager, the consummate host. Thank you to all the Influencers for coming out to experience the HondaJet, Ola, Debbie, Altamash, Guy, Zemmama and Iman.