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A Half-Hour Off

25 Feb

The coast of Dubai.

I’m currently in a time zone 1/2 hour off from my hometown. The more I think about it, that half-hour off seems like a very exotic place to be. It’s as though I’ve landed in a place inbetween any time I’ve been before. Balanced somewhere between two solid time markers, it’s a world not quite grounded by the same rules of time and space where I’m from, and I’m expecting it to be a surprise.

Made with real sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup.

The trip here was long but relaxing. There’s something really calm about being in transit, wrapped in the air-tight cocoon of your plane, sheltered in a cushioned commuter’s airport haven; you’re confined, catered-to; resources are convenient and flight attendants bring hot beverages at the touch of a button. It’s especially relaxing in the sparkling desert oasis mega-hub of Dubai, home to the fleet of the world’s largest aircraft – and where unlike JFK’s Delta terminal, at least you’ll find reclining chairs.


The airport hums with activity at all hours of the day and night. And though, sure, you can find the uniquely foreign assortment of duty-free powdered milk, caviar and hookas, it’s more westernized than much of Europe. The terminal is flanked at either end by American fast food chains – Burger King’s “Texican” and “BKool” is balanced by the McDonald’s “McArabia Chicken” several hundred meters away. You’ll find Haagen Dazs, Segafredo, and a Starbucks – complete with the current winter selection: ceramic American coffee mugs in festive red and white, featuring a girl wrapped in her winter scarf.


The McArabia. Don’t worry, the Maharajah Mac is coming up soon. Not a joke!

Let me be clear, I checked the weather before flying into Dubai: it’s sunny with a high of 76 and a 0% chance of precipitation. Same as it was yesterday. Same as it is tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that. I mean, it’s a desert. On the Arabian Peninsula.



The taste of your childhood lives on! It’s just in duty-free in Dubai. Now, they know what you should buy as a gift in the airport!

I always feel pampered in this soft-landing buffer zone, and it certainly made for a terrific contrast to the frenetic stream I was about to step into.