By Ikenna Emewu
That clear sky was great incentive to see the vast continent of Asia very clear from the air starting that morning with blazing sun over Dubai.
Sitting by the window aboard Emirates Flight EK 308, Boeing 777-300ER liner from Dubai heading to Beijing on a journey of about 5900km in seven hours was real pleasure seeing the beauty and geography of Asia, the world’s largest continent.
The sight presented a good physical geography textbook from the beginning to the end and that started unfolding immediately the heavy jetliner with over 350 passengers lifted effortlessly to the hot sky over Dubai.
The city of Dubai is a stove located in the middle of the desert whose existence was made possible only by the ingenious strength of creative minds. At the outskirts of Dubai, it’s interesting to discover that desert sands take every space and truncated only by human habitation to the extent that any spot where there is no structure, there are desert sand bars.
The hot air caused a tussle and jolt between the jet and elements of weather as the heavy metal kite battled gravitational force to gain balance and zoom off. Skirting over Dubai was a sight as the aircraft shuddered intermittently but kept pace steadily.
In about 20 minutes, it had gained some balance and left the Dubai sky.
That exit revealed uninterrupted continuation of the desert of the United Arab Emirates that ends at the banks of the Persian Gulf. The blue sea that glimmered in the sun was a sharp contrast with the dry desert and creates some splendid beauty.
The water body is fused in between desert sands as the desert that ended at the Dubai shores continues thereafter. Every lover of nature can never blink watching and admiring the features of Asia. At this point the flyer had hit cruise altitude hovering between 36000 and 37000ft above ground level and hurtling at a velocity of about 980km per hour from the data on the flight map.
Into the skies of Pakistan and close to Afghanistan to the left, the intermittent escarpment of wind carved surfaces over the bare earth had started giving way to the most fascinating highland and topography on earth.
When my phone GPS locator in the course of taking photos showed the location was over Al Jabhiyah, a most wonderful landscape stretched under – that was the south western reaches of the Himalayas range, the highest altitude on the earth. The ridge of mountains continued over the Kashmir regions that border Pakistan and northern India.
Steadily, the jetliner kept its pace further into Asia until the flight compass indicated it was over the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, the tallest point on the Himalayas range.
It looked wondrous gazing down over those peaks and beauty folds with shiny snow caps over them glittering in the bright sun.
Further in the journey as the airplane inched towards Nepal, that borders North West China, the sunlight had started fading into the night hours. Nightfall blanked out the scenes of the mountains that continue into the Tibet region of China, which takes exactly four hours to fly from the China west tip over Tibet to Beijing.
With prior experience last year, overflying China west tip towards Lhasa, Tibet capital city, a journey of four and half hours from Beijing, every nature lover would feel like remaining airborne to absorb the beauty of the landscape forever. The jutting spurs with resplendent snow caps shiny in the daylight sun is beauty that defies word to convey to one that didn’t see it. The nightfall during that flight from Dubai robbed one of a repeat of that lovely sight, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
On the opposite direction heading back to Africa, the desert of Dubai battles with the deep blue waters of the Persian Gulf on which the city sits at its banks.
On the sea is a cluster of patches of desert sands popping out of the waters as tiny spots of islands of varying shapes and sizes.
Continuing after the seas abate is the desert and barren lands of the Middle East. The UAE lands are just desert and that way it stretches into Saudi Arabia to the west and with no break to the banks of the Mediterranean Sea, the gap between Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Within the vast lands, there are barely pockets of settlements and cities to an extent one may ask where the people actually live at least on the flight tracks that lasts for at least three hours before getting to the Mediterranean.
It was a beautiful outing admiring Asia, world’s largest continent, and the wonders nature wrought on it with spectacular features.