Qatar Business Class Lounge in Doha

Qatar Business Class Lounge in Doha

When we cash in our miles for a business class or fist class flight, we like to do everything we can to make the most of the business class experience. This of course includes the chance to use an airline’s business class lounge. And, the Qatar Business Class Lounge in Doha was easily the best airport lounge we’ve ever experienced. So far. Our goal is to eek out every minute of luxury and pleasure, and to take advantage of all the opportunities to experience flying something other than in cattle class. Using the Qatar business lounge in Doha certainly provided us this opportunity when flying Qatar business class. The lounge was massive, airy, clean, and new. The Etihad lounge in Abu Dhabi is way too small for the number of passengers flying through. The Qatar business class lounge, though, is huge. I couldn’t imagine a situation where they run out of seats, a problem at so many business class lounges around the world. A large reflecting pool, and contemporary surroundings just exuded luxury. In fact, I almost felt like the lounge experience was nicer than actually flying business class. Dining at the Qatar Business Lounge in Doha When we flew Etihad out of Dublin, I was super impressed wit the Etihad lounge at Dublin Airport. Mostly because of the a la cate breakfast menu. It was the first time I was served a fresh, hot meal at an airport lounge. But the food service at the Qatar Business Lounge in Doha took the cake. Upstairs was a full restaurant, with an a la carte menu. We were not hungry...
Etihad Business Class Review 777-300ER – Dublin to Abu Dhabi

Etihad Business Class Review 777-300ER – Dublin to Abu Dhabi

There’s no denying that the Middle Eastern airlines (Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways) have taken the global commercial aviation industry by storm, whether through massive aircraft orders, brand new mega airports or inflight offerings. Although our first experience booking Etihad business class did not go so well, this time we were determined to enjoy our experience. We flew Etihad business class from Dublin to Abu Dhabi, and then continued onto Kuala Lumpur. Etihad Business Class Chauffeur Service in Dublin Etihad offers a chauffeur service for first and business class passengers. This service isn’t offered in all cities and is restricted in the distance from the airport, usually 50-100 miles. Wanting to make the most of our business class experience, we ordered the car service the night before. Because we are normally in Ireland visiting family in Limerick, any flight out of Dublin early in the day requires us to stay the night before in Dublin. We’ve made the trip this enough times that our routine is to catch the Dublin Coach from Limerick to just outside Dublin. This time we stayed the night at the Ibis hotel. The Ibis is conveniently located near the Dublin airport bus. Usually costing between 50-70 Euros, it serves it’s purpose. The morning of our Etihad business class flight, the black Mercedes S Class sedan arrived at our Ibis hotel. The irony wasn’t lost on us that we were taking advantage of Etihad’s chauffeured sedan service from a budget hotel. Etihad Business Class Lounge in Dublin I’ve got to hand it to Etihad with their Dublin lounge. They secured one of the best lounge...
When a Writer Drinks

When a Writer Drinks

Occasionally, when I drink, I start to write.  I often believe that the writing is profound, in a Truman Capote kind of way.  Then, I show it to Eric after, he reads it, shrugs his shoulders and I realize it was quite possibly, complete crap.  Because when a writer drinks, often times, it’s crap. On our way from Abu Dhabi to Dublin, we flew sheer across the Gulf.  Something I have never done during the day.  We were flying home to family, for a funeral, and certainly not the most celebratory of trips. That may have been why I had two, very good pours, of whiskey before 11 am.  Eric joined me.  At least I was not drinking alone. There was part of me that enjoyed the banter between Eric and I.  The discussions about our seat neighborhoods, the other people who boarded the plane, the fact that there was a window in the bathroom of our Etihad flight.  I think that we each relished the moment where we could pretend that this was a normal flight, a normal trip to Ireland, instead of a rushed, last minute booking to celebrate, and bury, someone who Eric thought of as a brother. I recognized how strange the flight was, even as we pretended to be normal.  Eric noticed that I had become fascinated with the landscape out the window.  As we made our way north, we flew over Kuwait City – so much beige, and in complete contrast to our landscape in Bali. Then, the map function on the Etihad entertainment system told me we were crossing over Baghdad. I...
The Animals of Petra – a Photo Essay

The Animals of Petra – a Photo Essay

It can be difficult to find cute animals in the desert, or at least interesting animals in the desert.  When looking for the animals of Petra, I figured we would see at least a few.  I anticipated we would see some animals with all the stories of the horses, donkeys, and camels offering tourists entertainment at Petra.  Unfortunately, we heard about the aggressiveness of the touts, the animals’ owners, who often try to fleece the tourists, and even worse, the mistreatment of the horses. As we made our way further into the park, you could tell there were a lot of animals of Petra.  Well, you could smell there were a lot of animals around.  I, unfortunately, will always associate Petra with the smell of poop. I was very much on guard, and even once I started snapping photos of the animals of Petra, I did it on the sly, lest a tout demand that I pay for a picture of the animals.  I was certainly more ready to delete a photo than pay.  After all, we had already paid so much just to get into the park. I managed to sneak a few photos though, of donkeys. I tracked down a few horse drawn carriages – some waiting for fares, others barreling down the siq, the cavernous passageway leading to the famous Treasury.   This carriage, almost hit a cute cat that was stupid enough to cross his path. I can’t go anywhere without taking cat photos.  I just can’t help it. And, there’s no suprise that I end with some camel shots.  This is a desert in Jordan,...
Arabian Adventures Night Safari in Dubai

Arabian Adventures Night Safari in Dubai

I really don’t have a bucket list per se, and don’t even really believe in the concept.  But, I once put together a travel to do list – years ago.  Once in a blue moon I look over the list to see if I am on the right track.  In all those years, one thing remained on my to do list – riding a camel.  I have ridden an elephant a couple times, I mean who hasn’t?  But, a camel, now that is something. When we were offered the opportunity to tour Dubai courtesy of Dubai Tourism, they asked us what, specifically, we were interested in doing in Dubai.  The first thing that came to mind – I wanted to ride a camel.  It did not need to be a lengthy trip across the desert, a la Lawrence of Arabia, but enough for me to sit on top, bop along, and knock it off my travel to do list. Dubai Tourism delivered.  And then some.   After our disappointing evening on the Dhow dinner cruise, my hopes were set on having a lovely evening for our last night in Dubai.  Our guide, Yafei, picked us up from the hotel, where Eric was waiting in his desert chic attire.  We were ready for our Arabian Adventures Night Safari. Yafei escorted us about an hour outside of the city, explaining about the safari and some history of Dubai.  We even drove past the practice grounds for camel racing on the way.    When we arrived at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, we pulled over with the other Arabian Adventures cars, and deflated...
Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding – Dubai

Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding – Dubai

I consider myself fairly educated and world traveled, although I know I have a lot more to learn, and a lot more to explore.  One region that we have not explored, and know so very little about, is the Arab world.  It is challenging to try to learn the reality of Islam in an American media-driven world.  If I accepted what FoxNews preached, I would be holed up in a bunker in Kansas, afraid to see daylight.  At least, though, I understood what I did not understand when landing in Dubai, our first stop in our tour of the Middle East.  As part of our tour, we were invited to the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, where the motto is open doors, open minds.  Set in a traditional wind house in the rebuilt, historic center of Dubai, the goal of the center is to encourage understanding of the Emirati people, traditions, culture, and the Muslim religion.   Visiting an Emirati Mosque First, we visited a mosque with our guide, Nasif, who in quite a humorous and matter of fact way, explained some of the lesser known theories behind Islam, and how it compares to other religions.  His goal was to debunk some of the rumors that surround the Muslim world, in a way everyone can understand.   We all removed our shoes, and the women were asked to wear a head scarf.  As the only mosque in Dubai which is not only open to the public six days a week, but is dedicated to receiving non-Muslim visitors, I wondered how traditional this mosque really was, particularly as men...
Our New Food Traveler's Guide to Emilia Romagna is available on Amazon now!