S1.2, TS2: Arab Adventures Pt. 1 “Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride” (UAE)

Hello my lovely travelistas!  Please join me for Part 1 of my 2 part “Arab Adventures” series! In this travelsode of Travel Unplugged, we are going to watch the sunrise as we soar over the desert outside Dubai in a hot air balloon!!!

I’ve had a bucket list for 6 years now and was finally able to check “riding in a hot air balloon” off!  I booked the tour thru Balloon Adventures and IT. WAS. AWESOME!  Seriously, this ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite activities!!!  It would have been perfect if I had a glass of champagne…but I’ll do that next time (smile).

Looking for a fabulous way to start your day during a trip to Dubai?  Consider doing a hot air balloon ride.  You start the day SUPER EARLY.  I mean, seriously…they pick you up between 3 and 4am.  And you know the only folks out at the time are those making bad decisions 🙂  It’s about a 1.5 hour drive to the desert lift off location so you can take a quick nap enroute.

Once you arrive, you go thru a safety training then watch as they prep the balloon for the ride.  It goes by really fast so be sure to bring your camera and GoPro to capture the memories (they also will sell you a video of your ride).

Cost is approximately $270 per person for adults.  They do have discounted pricing available for kids (ages 5-12).  Price includes transportation to/from your hotel (or a central meeting point), flight certificate and cold refreshments.

Grab your e-goggles and let’s go!

Damn You, Delta

Why, Delta, WHY??? I sometimes feel like we have an abusive relationship. When you delay flights which cause missed connections, I tell folks that you don’t mean to and you have a lot going on…you’re just stressed out. Don’t they understand your under a lot of pressure? Then, you give me extra SkyMiles to say you’re sorry and I just can’t quit you. I am the Tina to your Ike.

Until now. Why would you rebook me on an Air Canada flight? They are in the dreaded Star Alliance!!!! They aren’t a band of do-gooders like the Rebel Alliance. Do you know who is in the Star Alliance? The DARTH VADER OF AIRLINES!!!! Freaking US Air! Y’all know how I feel about those jokers. Air Canada gets the side-eye just for being air buddies with them. You running with the wrong crowd, AC!

But, I decide to give Senator Palpatine’s airline alliance another chance because clearly I have the common sense of Jar Jar Binks. This was the only option to get me home tonight. Sigh. So, I do it. It can’t be easy though. See, the SkyTeam “bloods” don’t want the Star Alliance “crips” sharing the same terminal so I had to be escorted back thru security and badged out so I can exit the airport and take a bus to the Death Star (aka Terminal 1).

I’m spoiled. Delta did that to me. I have status. I’m Delta’s boo which means I’m priority…more specifically, Sky Priority. Do you think Air Canada thinks I’m special? Nope. I was promptly told to get to the back of the line like my name was Rosa Parks. No fast lane. I had to wait in line with all the other underprivileged travelers hoping that Sally Struthers would host a telethon helping the agents to speed this line along.

After 14 days (well, 30 minutes), I check-in only to be told that I had to check my carry-on bag and pay $25. Wait. What? Pay? What fresh hell is this? I’m Platinum on Delta! That agent looked at me like, “Where’s Delta now? Pay it or walk to your destination.” Good God. So I pay the fee and ask for a receipt because my boo is paying for this…I don’t care if you have to ask for a loan from Jabba the Hut…I best get my money back.

You’d think that would be the worst of it. You’d be wrong. I then had to go thru customs. I’m Global Entry which means I only need to go to the kiosk for fingerprinting and picture validation. However, since I had just done that an hour earlier, the kiosk was basically like, “Nope! Sorry sucka!” So I had to fill out a form. I promptly told the agent I wasn’t standing in line because it’s not my fault that the kiosk gave me the middle finger. I guess he could see I was on the edge of sanity so he told me to get in the crew line. I did…and this is my conversation with the customs officer after explaining the kiosk fiasco:

Customs: I see your hair is longer than your passport picture from 2006. Are you growing it out?
Me: Yes…but this is also hair I bought.
Customs: Are you wearing a weave? I can’t even tell!
Me: Thanks
Customs: How do you wash it? Do you use soap & water?
Me: *slow blink* Yes, yes I do. It’s hair.
Customs: Sorry, I’m just mesmerized. So, where are you from? Your accent is so exotic.
Me: *WTF??* Indiana.

Not a soul to be seen.

Not a soul to be seen.

I’m sorry, I thought I was going thru customs, not speed dating. I can’t even concentrate because I’m still mad about the $25!! Once I get thru customs and security, I have to walk the Green Mile thru the backwoods of the Toronto airport to my gate. Why is this gate so far away? How come I don’t see any other people?

Then I see…prop planes?? Seriously?? Jesus take the wheel. iCant with you.

Delta…I quit you. We don’t go together anymore. Don’t call me and tell me how special I am because I don’t believe you! Keep your SkyMiles and pretty trinkets. You have maxed out my emotional debit card & owe me $253.43 + $25 bag fee. Don’t try to pay me in those “free drink” coupons either. Cashier’s check is fine. Next time you see me, I’ll be wearing this shirt.

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