Dad Finds Out Our Next Destination!

I’m presently taking my dad on a surprise round the world trip to celebrate his “round” birthday. Even now the trip remains a surprise, as he’s just finding out what we’re doing and where we’re going on a day-by-day basis.

Here are the previous posts about the trip:


We’re wrapping up week one of my dad’s surprise round the world birthday trip, and I think it’s safe to say it has exceeded even my (very high) expectations.

We had a few amazing days in Dubai, which I’ll write more about in the actual trip report.

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View from highest restaurant in the world at Burj Khalifa

Monday night we headed to Dubai Airport at around 9PM. My dad still had no clue where we were going, and I was content keeping it that way for as long as possible. In the last installment, my dad explained how he thought he knew our next destination, though I wasn’t about to confirm or deny.

Thanks to the cooperation of the people at check-in and in the lounge, they agreed to keep our destination from him.

When we finally got to the Emirates A380 First Class Lounge I first took him on a tour. It’s simply a ridiculous lounge, and spans the entire length of the terminal. It’s one level above the main concourse, and one level below the business class lounge.

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Emirates A380 First Class Lounge Dubai

The lounge is so huge that it doesn’t actually look like a lounge, but rather just looks like a terminal. The world’s nicest terminal.

That’s because there are gates in the lounge, and you can board your flight from inside the lounge.

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Emirates A380 First Class Lounge Dubai

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Emirates A380 First Class Lounge Dubai

Upon entering the lounge, my dad was confused, as I was the first time I visited the lounge.

“Benny, vher is za lounge?”
“This is the lounge.”
“Vhat is?”
“This is the lounge.”
“Zhis can not be. Zhere are gate signs and duty vhree shops.”
“Welcome to the world’s largest first class lounge, where you can board your flight directly from the lounge.”
“VOW.”

So I spent about 25 minutes giving him a tour of the lounge, which is how long it takes to get from one end of the lounge to the other sprinting at a German pace. Hands down his favorite part was the cigar bar, which he was committed to spending as much time in as possible.

Then we had a seat so he could finally find out where we were going. I showed him his boarding pass, and he showed me where he had guessed. So, who guessed right? 😉

Sure enough, immediately after that we headed to the cigar bar, where my dad had a cigar and glass of red wine, while I sat working on my laptop with a Diet Coke. To say he liked the cigar bar would be the understatement of the year, as you can see in the below video…

After that we had spa treatments and then dinner, where the staff had prepared a lovely surprise for my dad.

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Emirates A380 First Class Lounge Dubai Timeless Spa

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Emirates A380 First Class Lounge Dubai dining room

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Happy dad!

The ground staff generously managed to box up the massive birthday cake he was given, so he could share it with the crew onboard.

Our flight from Dubai to Singapore departed at the absolutely horrible hour of 3:15AM, also known as rush hour in Dubai. You’ve gotta love when you taxi out to the runway at 3:30AM and the captain comes on the PA to apologize for the delay due to congestion, “as is the norm here in Dubai at this hour of the night.”

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Emirates A380 First Class Suite

We originally reserved seats 2E & 2F, though there was an Emirati couple on their honeymoon seated in front of us. The bride’s seat was apparently totally broken, so the purser asked if we wouldn’t mind taking two separate window seats so they could sit together. We were fine with that, and a bottle of Dom to go quickly followed.

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Emirates airshow

Catering on Emirates’ 3AM departures is so damn confusing. They have a snack menu and a breakfast menu. Given that it’s 4AM before you’re airborne, are you supposed to eat a snack and then breakfast before landing, or breakfast and then a snack before landing?

I decided to have a snack first. Emirates has pretty lackluster menus on the late night/early morning departures. On this particular flight, the snack choices were between a vegetable pie, fried rice, noodles with prawns, and instant noodles. I had the vegetable pie and noodles with prawns, which were actually quite decent for what they were.

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Emirates First Class snack

Then before landing I just had some granola and yogurt.

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Emirates First Class breakfast

I spent most of the rest of my flight at the bar, where I was only accompanied by crew — everyone in business class seemed to be passed out the entire flight.

Somehow we got to talking about Etihad, and I mentioned how they’ve run out of food in first class on my two most recent flights.

“Yeah, you’re not the first person I’ve heard that from.”
“Oh, really?”
“Yeah, I read this blog from a guy that flies mostly first and business class, and he had the same thing happen.”
“Hmmm, just curious, which blog do you read?”
“It’s called One Mile…”
“Oh…”

Hah, I often run into blog readers while traveling, though this “situation” was a first for me.

While my dad slept most of the way, I only napped for a couple of hours, between the two meals and my time at the bar and in the shower — there’s a big agenda of things to get through on each Emirates flight. It’s tough work, but someone’s gotta do it! 😉

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Emirates First Class bed

Eventually I did fall asleep, though I was woken up by the sound of a Polaroid camera. Hmmm, was I having a bad dream that took me back to 1994? Nope, the crew had just presented my dad with another onboard birthday cake (okay, this one I actually ordered), and they took a picture of him holding it, which they put in a beautiful Emirates display case.

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Emirates Polaroid picture

I found the phrase on the front of the card to be especially appropriate — “Where will tomorrow take you?” I know my dad wishes he knew! 😀

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Emirates Polaroid picture cover

Anyway, we’re having an awesome time, and it’s about to get even more fun!

And as always, thanks so much for all the nice comments. I’ve been reading them to my dad, and he just said “Benny, I don’t deserve zhis.”

Comments

  1. Ben – as you probably have heard by now, one of my favorite trip reports you’ve done. I love the paraloid photo done for your dad from the crew – On my first emirates flight i couldn’t contain the excitement and the crew did the same thing for me with their famous cabin crew hat they wear. Your pops is Awsome and glad you too are enjoying the journey around The Globe. Videos are a great way to show his excitment as well. Have a great time.

  2. The guessing game was a pretty cool way to find out a place that your dad does want to go, so you can do Mumbai next time!

  3. didnt expect he would say Mumbai or any Indian city for that matter…but now since ur dad too wants it, please visit India…preferably with your parents..would be great 🙂

  4. It’s great to see Emirates still using the onboard Polaroid camera! I still remember they did that mostly to kids (even in economy class!) Though I’ve changed my loyalties to other airlines it’s great to see EK still doing well.
    When my sister and her fiance flew Emirates, I ordered them a cake as well since it was her fiance’s birthday. They were both surprised! Awesome feeling! The EK crew also took a polaroid photo of them.
    Enjoy!

  5. Love love love your updates. You and your dad obviously share a precious bond. I hope that someday I can take my kids on an adventure of a lifetime like that. To your dad, kudos for raising such a wonderful young man who’s eager to share the beautiful world we live in.

  6. Your dad is a great reminder of what this hobby is all about, spending time with family. Enjoy your journey together!

  7. Wow, must have been cool that the bar staff referred to your blog. Well deserved.

    So, if an Emirates crew member is reading this, then I want to say; Emirates is fantastic. I flew business class from Asia to Europe last summer with my family, all legs on the A380 and we were amazed. Was the best flying experience we ever had – and I have flown Cathay and BA F many times. The bar was just fantastic. I don’t know how many hours I spent just chilling in that place and meeting other passengers. Everything about the flights was fantastic. Can’t wait to fly again with Emirates.

  8. Another great update Lucky. As others have mentioned, this is my favorite trip report. And the videos of you Father have been awesome. Keep having fun. And Happy Birthday Herr Schlappig!!

  9. happy to see the trip is working out well and your father is enjoying it all. Did something similar with my mom bat 20 years ago, in biz class to BKK/HKG & SING. I just love ze vay you write like your gazer speaks vith his accent. My perents are also European, my Fazer also spoke Zis vay. have fun.

  10. This trip report makes me smile every time I see an update go up. Not only because I am extremely jealous but because you manage to capture the absolute joy your father feels each time he hears of your next adventure. I imagine all of us who read your blog would love to take this trip ourselves, but to be able to do something so spectacular for a parent is what puts it over the top. I only hope that one day I can do something half as nice for my parents as well. Enjoy every moment.

  11. Ben,
    Love this report and think your Dads amazing he Likes a Cigar and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon, I would enjoy traveling with him.

  12. Lucky, I’ve been reading your blog for months (I love it and now visit daily), but this is my first comment. I just wanted to say I hope you and your dad have a great time for the rest of your trip.

  13. Lucky, I absolutely loved reading your blogs. Keep up the good work. Happy belated birthday to your dad. He is very lucky to have you for his son.

  14. Your dad is awesome! I love the videos, and love seeing his down to earth reactions to everything. Keep the videos coming, but also make sure to enjoy your time together, what an awesome trip!

  15. I love seeing what a blast your dad is having, and it’s neat hearing the perspective of someone who is obviously a seasoned traveler but not a professional in the industry. I wonder how many birthday cakes y’all will end up with by the end of your trip!

  16. Hi Ben,
    I’m in the park hyatt sydney right now for my mom’s “round number” birthday. Was hoping to bump into you and your dad but looks like you’ll get here after we leave on sat. It would been fun to introduce you to my family as “one of the blogger who crazy mommy follows every day”. We weren’t able to get an upgrade from the basic city/harbor view room since the hotel was full the first day we were here. Hope you’ll have better luck. Happy birthday to your dad!

  17. Ben- I absolutely love this trip with your dad. I look forward to reading each story and watching the newest videos every day! Watching your dad just be beside himself with such enjoyment is so fantastic to see unfold. The moment you had with the crew at the bar was great too! I had a big laugh at that one.

  18. And now I am late for my 1-1 with my boss, all because I had to catch up with you and your Dad on your RTW trip. But I dont care, the blog and your fathers comments are a much better way to start my morning. Keep the videos coming, your father is great.

  19. I’m amazed that it’s so bright that late at night!! I love how much he enjoys the cigar bar!! What an amazing experience for you both!!

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