Please click on photos to get the full effect…
- We took public transportation from the Dubai airport to the hotel…a long subway ride, then a bus ride, then a long walk through the very fashionable Dubai Mall. We ended up at the wrong “Address Hotel.” Apparently, there are two Address Hotels on either side of the Mall. So, we had to walk miles back through the Mall to find the right one, which was ours. The staff must have felt sorry for us when we registered, because they upgraded our room to one with a view and a balcony. Entry way, bedroom, huge bathroom with shower, jacuzzi, and a bidet, no less.
- Here’s a passage from my diary, dated 9/30, in Dubai: It is so hot and humid. Well over 90 degrees. Am having nasty allergies; they say they will be all gone once we leave, and that apparently visitors to Dubai often report runny noses and coughing. I actually lost my voice for four days. The desert air is so sandy. Dubai is a brand new city, built on the desert only 40 yrs. ago. Food is fantastic…very flavorful and perfectly spicy. The old digestive system works much better here than at home. Says something about our flavorless, not-so-fresh food. 15 percent of the population are indigenous to the area. The rest are foreigners from all over the world…over 100 nationalities live together in harmony (How nice is this?!?) and mostly from India and the Philippines. We met a 29-yr-old cab driver from South India. His parents are arranging his marriage. He goes home to India once a year for one month. The airplane to Dubai was the biggest I’ve ever been on — an airbus, double-decker, A380. Felt like I was sitting in my own living room. We all had our own monitors with a choice of 200 movies to watch. The airline is Emirates, one of the best in the world with the biggest and newest planes. Service is equal to the fine service of Japan airlines and food was fantastic. Locals probably don’t mind foreigners because the government provides all their needs, whether they have jobs or not – housing, food, health care. Foreigners can only live here if they are employed by companies from their own countries, which must provide them with a contract for their jobs. There are three man-made islands north of Dubai. We went to one today. Construction in Dubai will be completed around 2020. It feels like another planet here…the most modern city you can ever imagine, built on a desert…beautiful, clean, new, efficient subways…everything operates like clockwork…efficient, fantastic service conducted by what appear to be such cheerful people. (I wonder if they are for real!?!)
- From my diary, 10/1, Dubai: Before I continue with my stream-of-consciousness rambling, let me finish yesterday’s story. After a breakfast of omelets, hummus, olives, yogurt, aloo gobi (Indian-style cauliflower), spicy beans, fresh watermelon juice, and coffee, Koji and I practiced yoga poses in the hotel room until it was time to board the tour bus to see “old” and “new” Dubai. Oops…perhaps I am repeating myself…what with a combination of jet lag and possible hangover from last night’s Ambien…I took it while I packed my suitcase and took a shower to be able to sleep so I could get up early the next morning for today’s flight to Bangkok. The pill hit me stronger than ever. I actually saw double of Koji and had a hard time sorting my stuff into a suitcase and backpack as I staggered around. I can’t remember if I took the shower or not. Needless to say, I had a great night’s sleep!
- Some of the women in Dubai wear black, flowing garb (the “abaya”) that is meant to hide a woman’s shape. Some have their faces uncovered, some of their faces are only partially covered, some have only a slit open for the eyes, and some cover their faces completely. Out tour guide told us that this varies not for religious reasons; rather, they are following the tradition of their family. Despite what people wear, nowadays most carry IPhones and are basically glued to them. The juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modern living can be startling.
- Dress code for foreign women in Dubai: slacks or skirts to below the knees at least; shoulders must be covered – no tank tops. Avoid miniskirts, midriff-baring tops, and shorts.
Dress code for men?
- KOJI: For me, while Dubai was breathtaking on the surface, there was a feeling of superficiality and unsustainability that lay beneath the surface. An incredible amount of oil money is used to create an unnatural environment in the most prohibitive, hot desert setting. It is a testament to just how advanced our capability as humans is to engineer the world around us. What happens if the oil runs out? I guess it would be devastating for Dubai, but even New York City would have problems if that were the case. In a nutshell, Dubai reminded me of a cleaner Las Vegas, without the gambling. There also wasn’t a sad and depressed underlying personality to the city that Vegas has. All-in-all it is a very interesting lay-over city that I would love to visit again en route to Asia.
- JANE: One of my friends on the knitting website, ravelry.com, wrote me this, after she heard that I had been to Dubai: “Small world, right? 🙂 My parents and I moved to Dubai, U.A.E. for work in 1985-87. That was before it became the Las Vegas of the Middle East. It was just starting to boom, but most of it was desert with one shopping mall, very few high-rises, and only two really nice marina country clubs. We were one of the few families that did not live in a protected community of fellow expats, so it was a pretty isolated existence for my mother and me. No way we would have traded it, though, since it allowed us an observer’s seat for witnessing the smallness and greatness of the region, its peoples, foods, music and expat group mentality. We came out wiser than we went in. 🙂 We’d all like to revisit to see how Dubai has changed, but I think it would be sad to see the wadis and dunes we used to explore had been replaced by buildings.”