It seems strange to be in such a huge gleaming building containing the most grotesque show of duty free shops imaginable, yet surrounded by dry dusty desert in a region that has to import energy to desalinate water.

The Airbus A380 was also bizarre. I expected a huge high-speed force on take-off and landing, yet the jet eased off the ground and back down again with minimal effort and noise. In some ways it was impressive because it was so underwhelming, and so unlike flying, but rather like sitting on a large stationary object with a commanding view of the towns far below.

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