Week 5 - Dubai
I spent the last few days with a Portuguese co-worker in a country that's younger than me; the United Emirates have only been around since 1971. But that's not evident when you fly into the world's busiest airport and see so many of the world's biggest, tallest, flashiest sites.
The Dubai Fountains
At the end of the day, this city deserves its reputation for excess and extravagance, and I'm not even saying these are good things. Its all good to gold-plate your shoes and your cell phone or your Hummer, but its not for me. On the plus side, there is no garbage or graffiti anywhere, that I saw, in Dubai. I felt absolutely safe, never even saw a policeman. Those travel alerts about it being illegal to hold hands in public are BS... many couples (Westerners, Asians, Arabs included) hold hands while strolling. The alerts about not wearing shorts or showing any skin; BS. People dressed in shorts and T shirts everywhere we went in downtown Dubai. We took the metro to both of the biggest malls in the world where I managed to buy a new cell phone at an Apple store, a pair of cargo shorts at Abercrombie and Fitch and a T-shirt at Desigual, along with a half a dozen English novels at a book store. The food was excellent. Alcohol was difficult to get in all but a few restaurants but we did find a couple cold ones in a souk (market) at a Lebanese restaurant where I had a mixed grill of barbequed lamb, chicken, fish and prawns. Our hotel was on the north side of Dubai at Jumeirah Beach which has an incredible marina complete with thousands of yachts and hundreds of restaurants.
That's right.. yes there is a ski hill in the middle of the Emirates mall... go figure!
One of my favourite sites was the famous Cayan Twisted Tower which was right in front of our hotel at the marina. Incredible architecture! I walked around the base a couple of times... it defies logic!
But alas, all good things must end, and today we flew back to a little village on the coast of the Red Sea where I have been promoted to Site Manager for Heath, Safety and Environment. My Saudi Arabian visa says I have another 30 days of sun and sand before my next adventure which may well be in Qatar. Its back to work for me... :)