Emirates Airline marvels again on Nairobi-Dubai-Paris

Emirates Airline logoAfter a first experience on Emirates Airline, two weeks ago (post here), I have since taken three more flights with Emirates (EK). Turns out our first experience was not one-off. We flew from Dubai to Nairobi a week later, then on Thursday we did a double header: Nairobi to Dubai (5 hours) then Dubai to Paris (7 hours) with a two and half hour layover in Dubai’s bustling airport. Each time, the flight (in Economy) was a pleasure.

This last time, we added a special wrinkle, something we could have made a real flap about: a last minute injury. At 1pm on Thursday, our very last day on holidays, my son, Oscar, fell by the pool on a lava rock and gashed his knee. So badly, that it needed 6 stitches which were put in by the Serena Lodge (Amboseli) medic. The “operation” took over an hour and a half (including having to find him, first) and happened on our room’s balcony (i.e. outside), replete with monkeys onlooking (photo to right; one of them finally managed to steal some cotton).Kenya Amboseli Monkey watching first aid

With Oscar sown up, we hit the road (and in Kenya, that is not an understatement). Our valiant driver, Ibrahim, took us to Nairobi airport in a little over 5 hours, with Oscar stretched out in the backseat. We arrived at the airport in plenty of time and were able to get a decent seat for Oscar in order for him to keep his leg straight as much as possible.

On the flight EK722 (May 1) to Dubai, the staff were good enough to reserve a set of four seats which allowed Oscar to sleep stretched out for the full 5 hours. I would like to signal out the kind Dubai Airportservices of Mohamed Haji. When we got to Dubai, Oscar got a fast and furious nose bleed. This afforded us a visit to the Dubai Airport medical centre. A doctor from Senegal and a nurse from Kerala, India, took care of Oscar’s nose then reviewed and re-dressed his knee. All clear. And very civilised! Then Oscar was taken by wheelchair to the “Special Handling” area which meant a comfortable seat, juice and biscuits… The rest of us managed to find seats outside (although they are at a real premium at the overcrowded Dubai departures level).

Our flight EK073 (May 2) from Dubai to Paris was as pleasurable as the flight out (again on the Boeing 777-300ER), if different because of Oscar’s leg.

Here are the further thoughts I would like to add to the prior post regarding the EK service:

* The flight attendants are very international — intentionally, Emirates recruits from a very wide array of nationalities, allowing them to announce at the outset: “On this flight, we have crew members speaking the following languages…” On this EK073, there were 10 different nationalities. Some kind of proof that diversity pays! The wonderful staff that helped us out included the energetic Lydie (an Aussie) and dapper Aman. There was also the kind Z’ied (notEmirates Airlines ICE sure on the spelling).

* Each seat is equipped with a “ICE” (information, communication, entertainment) system. The ICE digital wide screen is a touchscreen (super easy to use) and is as good as it gets.

* The USB slot at each seat (to the right of the telephone-cum-“remote control”) is to allow passengers to view your holiday pictures on the wide screen TV or to listen to your personal media player through the ICE system. IPODs can even be read if they are set to “disk mode.”

* The ICE booklet (for May) is very agreeable to read and shows the extremely wide variety of options and selections available. It even includes a set of good old rock’n’roll box sets, a random set of audio books (Crime & Punishment, David Copperfield, Tom Peters Live in London…), comedy (Monty Python, Woody Allen, Peter Sellers…) and a brief guide to the anthology of major composers and classical musical periods over the past 500 years (nice pedagogical touch, no?).

In any event, as if I needed any further proof, the very day we took our flight back, the newspapers were splattered with the Emirates financial results: profits rocketed up 62% to Dh5.3 billion in fiscal year 2008 (Mar) on revenues of Dh41.15 billion, despite a Dh1.83 billion extra fuel bill. As this Gulf News article writes, Emirates Airline is indeed an important part of the Dubai success story:

“Emirates contributes about Dh47 billion, or nearly a quarter of Dubai’s Dh198 billion GDP, to its economy, the airline said yesterday.”

Hopefully the bosses of these flight attendants will get wind of their great service. In the meantime, I can only say: fly Emirates whenever you can!

Scroogled by Cory Doctorow

ScroogledWell, I have been touting the fact that our on-line presence will become our CV in the future. Cory Doctorow has another spin that is wholly mind blowing. I’d summarize the story as Orwell meets The Matrix…on speed.

SCROOGLED. A long read on a computer screen, but a worthwhile one for people who enjoy imagining the future.

Scroogled is by Cory Doctorow who wrote this Creative Commons-licensed fiction story for Radar Online magazine.

Marc Jacobs – Welcome to the late late night show

For the latest fashion week in New York, the standout performance has been the pre- and post- tangle surrounding the Marc Jacobs Collection, shown on September 10th. Among other things, I was very impressed by the use of SMS by Jacobs’ Press team to alert [certain VIP] attendees to the retard.

Jacobs’ show was scheduled for 20h30 (8:30pm). An SMS sent out to attendees said the show would be an hour late and to come around 22h (already quite an exaggerated sense of an hour). A second SMS was issued at 21h45, saying the show wouldn’t begin before 23h (11pm).

Nothing like over promising. Now for the delivery.

Per the press reports, Anna Wintours (Vogue) and Suzy Menkes (IHT) both thought the retard stepped over the bounds of acceptable. Here’s the report from WWD. Menkes reportedly said, “I would like to murder him with my bare hands and never see another Marc Jacobs show as long as I live. Where’s the dinner?” Fashion Shows that start on time are such a rarity, you wonder why the agenda proposes a specific minute for the beginning. Why not write: sometime after x pm or not before y pm. New concepts in time management are needed, such as obligatory SMS messaging and pre-show massaging…

There is a historic need for suspense, generating impatience and a stir crazy audience, with ants-in-the-[hot]pants is a modus operandus. This is typically not helped by chairs at fashion shows which are made temporarily for temporary seating. Some fashion designers seem to behave along the lines, “the longer the wait, the bigger rap; and the more hype my show will create.”

Anyway, Jacobs sparred with the powers that be post show (in the press), defying the likes of Menkes and Wintours, and telling them not to come ‘next time.’ Maybe, though, the time after that will be okay?

With all that said–and while I didn’t attend the show–with my Lit background, I can only say that I was extremely interested in the deconstructionist theme to Jacobs’ show, played back to front. Sounded absolutely fascinating. A finale at the beginning (including Jacob’s enthusiastic bow), 3/4 finished dresses, undersized shoes and again shoes with the heels attached to the front. For music, the show was accompanied by non-linear cuts of Ravel’s Boléro. There was a blow by blow writeup in USA Today Blog. Unfortunately, the show may have been missing in content (per le Figaro); but then what’s new for those who don’t like Derridan deconstructionism. Otherwise, seems like Jacobs’ show did its very own auto-destructionism.

See Figaro article: “Le retard de Marc Jacobs déchaîne les critiques

Other blogging the Jacobs’ show:
Fabsugar: NY Fashion Week
NYTimes Runway Blog
Style Dish, Cry me a river…
Hollywood, That other Blog


Americans in Iraq in WWII


Came across this braniac posting that a book written in 1943, “Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq during World War II,” has been re-issued. Among the great pieces of advice: don’t refuse a second cup of coffee, or the third. But it is customary to refuse the fourth. I had no idea that the Americans were present in Iraq in the WWII. Truly, WWII was as www as anything we might find on the net.

Ayn Rand and Malcolm Gladwell link (Blink!)

I have long extolled the philosophical writings of Ayn Rand. In the States, in certain circles, her name and writings are typically well known. In Paris, other than my wife (who is a big fan, too), I have yet to find a French person who knows her. Atlas Shrugged (La Révolte d’Atlas) and The Fountainhead (La Source Vive) have been seminal books in my life. Finding an Any Rand in French bookstores is already a major challenge. [Pour mes amis français: Amazon lien pour La Source Vive, mais La Révolte d’Atlas n’est pas disponible sur Amazon! Un forum intéressant entretemps]. Another book I enjoyed, along with the intimate million people was Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Well, just recently I ran(d) into an article (critique) demonstrating the link between Blink and Ayn Rand’s objectivism, citing in particular “The Romantic Manifesto.” And for you Rand fans, here’s a glimpse of a fan club site (altho member signup needed) The Atlastphere.

50th Anniversary for Kerouac’s On The Road

This year is the 50th anniversary for Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road.” As I discovered in crawling some blogs, Kerouac had pretensions on French aristocratic lineage, although apparently his name is Breton. I don’t know about you, but there’s always been of On the Road in me. Happily I can satisfy the urge with the occasional random road trip that we, as a family, undertake (as we did in Turkey this summer). Felicitations a Kerouac… French or American, I must say that I can still relate. Not alone in my adulation for Kerouac, I note that he was hugely influential in Jerry Garcia’s life. And, for those of you who haven’t read the biography by McNally, “A Long Strange Trip,” Kerouac’s life was instrumental in many ways for the Dead, including the wonderful, “On the Road Again.” I will post a live performance of that song.