Monday, January 12, 2015

Intro to Omra: Flights and Delights

My family of seven decided to proceed on Omra and our trip were done in the span of two weeks by this particular route: Jakarta, Abu Dhabi, Jeddah, Medina, Mecca, Amman, Israel, Palestine and back to Amman then back to Jakarta. We went with a group managed by ESQ Tours and Travel from Jakarta back-to-back and follow the many schedules set by the travel. With an early flight from Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, several hours were spent on the Emerald Sky Lounge provided by the tour as I was drinking away bottomless glass of orange juice. The lounge and its buffet still operates well even by midnight, although the pot for chicken porridge and several selections of bread were left empty by the night.

We hang around the lounge for about three hours beginning from 11 o'clock at night. Spotted are some people falling asleep by the lounge couches, including my brother too!

After several hours of waiting and chugging our fully-booked Etihad flight takes off to Abu Dhabi and it lands in one of the smoothest landing procedure I've ever had. We still are continuing our journey with another flight and there are several hours to spare upon catching the next flight that were spent by looking around the Abu Dhabi International Airport terminal. Every restaurant within Terminal 2 were very packed at the time we were there; still wanting to look around and coinciding with our boarding gate location we then decided to go to the newer establishment of the airport Terminal 3. The terminal is certainly more elegant and spacious, yet the many food stalls are full (especially the fastfood joints such as Burger King and McDonald's) even hours before noon, but finally we've gotten a seat at Montreux Jazz Cafe by Montreux Jazz Festival.

Arabic Breakfast (AED 34)
The platter calls for hummus, black olives, foul medames, labneh, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, za'atar croissant and Arabic bread. It is a plentiful portion of breakfast that is served prettily upon the plate. The hummus were lovely and the feta cheese complimented the food well. Looking back from this breakfast menu from this café and onwards, Middle Eastern breakfast heavily relies on the bread, hummus and cheese that I've found almost everytime I had breakfast.

Montreux Jazz Café is one of the more modern restaurant within the area of the airport. The place is beautifully lit with natural sunlight with an open view to the airplane runway, complimenting its simple decorations.

BB Cheeseburger (AED 58)
The menu calls for beef burger, cheese, grilled onions, salad, tomatoes, and Montreux Jazz Café sauce. It also comes with a side of french fries to complete the pretty huge portion of the burger. The salad was very refreshing and the burger itself is juice and well seasoned. The fries were fried very well, making it crispy on the outside yet still fluffy on the inside.

Hot Chocolate - Single (AED 23)
Initially wanting to order the Espresso Milkshake that were unavailable, I opted for their cold chocolate that arrived in a cup of 'supposedly' hot chocolate. Tolerating the wrong order, I was tad disappointed to have the cup of chocolate arrving in the midst of confusion in being served or cold as it is barely warm.

The service we got were very nice despite one order mix up. Many of the waitstaffs are Filipino and being close to home we spent few minutes talking. After the bill, we move toward our gate.

As I bite into the croissant in the midst of waiting several other minutes for the flght to board, I grew more and more excited for the continuing trip. Even though the next flight would arrive in Jeddah, we are still continuing the journey as our main destination is Medina. The flight really took a long time that I lost count in both the time spent in plane and in the airport. As we took off on December 22nd, our arrival at Medina is at 22nd evening (also calculating the five-hour time difference). The journey is still long to go, and I cannot wait to explore more of what the pilgrimage would have bring!