Don’t forget to click on photos to get the full effect!


  • Subways in Dubai run by computers — no humans at the helm.  There are cars for women and children only and cars for men; women can ride in the men’s car but not vice-versa.  KOJI: The first bus we rode from the subway station to the mall had a women’s only section which we unknowingly sat in, as there was a bit more space. When we realized we were breaking the rules, we noticed a few more men following us and sitting down in our section.  It’s amazing how everyone is comfortable breaking the rules as long as they see someone brave enough to break them initially, kind of like the first person to jay-walk triggers a wave of followers.
  • JANE:  When we went through customs in Dubai, the officer asked if Koji and I were husband and wife.  When we went through customs at JFK on our return, the officer asked if we were grandmother and grandson.  KOJI: I probably looked tired and haggard in the beginning of the trip from the stress of the office but became younger and younger looking as the trip wore on, given how relaxed I was!
  • JANE:  Starbucks invasion…surprising?
  • When you are in line at the Dubai airport having your passports checked, you will hear someone chanting Muslim prayers — live, miked, and sonorous — filling the air with the beautiful mystery of a foreign land.
  • You can purchase gold from an ATM in the Dubai Mall.

    What happens if you pay $1,000 or more for the gold, and nothing comes out of the ATM…or, if the gold that does come out isn’t worth that amount of money? I wonder how many people buy gold in this manner…

  • Koji was very popular among the (over 60/70-year-old) women shopkeepers.  They told our tour guide they thought he was so cute and kept pointing to their cheeks and laughing (indicating that they thought his dimples were adorable).  Here is a photo of my son, Mr. Ladies’ Man, with his fan club:

    One of Koji’s fan clubs.

  • Directions in the fashionable Dubai Mall are as unclear as signs on Bergen County, New Jersey, highways.  Consequently, it took FOREVER to find our hotel.  (Hey guys, don’t be the type who doesn’t like to ask for directions!)  😉  KOJI: The other confusing element was the fact that there were two hotels with basically the same name attached to the mall  – The Address Hotel Downtown Dubai, and The Address Hotel Dubai Mall.
  • JANE:  Our tour guide told us that 30% of the world’s cranes are in Dubai.
  • Camel meat is eaten on special occasions; camel milk is good for those who are lactose-intolerant.
  • I noticed that (can’t remember where) kids were playing a game of checkers using bottle caps.   KOJI: It was during our China-town tour in BKK.
  • JANE:  If you hold your plate too long in front of someone who is serving various delicacies at a BBQ in the desert, he/she will give you an extra portion, thinking you wanted more food.
  • If you are 63 (or older) and intend to go on such a strenuous trip, you must be in top physical condition.  (I recommend waitressing for at least six years before such an excursion to ensure that you are.)
  • You are welcomed into your hotel room in Thailand with flowers all around the room and unusual, folded designs and objects.

    An elephant with front legs crossed…folded out of a towel on the bed

    Toilet paper: before and after

  • I’ve always preferred vegetables to fruit.  And now I know why.  Fruit at home (in New England) is tasteless compared to the juicy, flavorful, and fresh varieties available in Dubai and Thailand.

    Miss Pu, our tour guide, with a bunch of bananas. Never knew they could taste so good!

  • The kids (in uniforms) in Koh Phi Phi return home from school via the beach.  Some walk barefoot and carry their shoes.  One adult drove four kids home on a motorbike along the edge of the water — one kid in front, and three behind the driver.  Total of five on one motorbike.
  • I began wearing sandals instead of walking barefoot along the soft, sandy paths of our resort on Koh Phi Phi after I saw centipede after centipede, hoards of red ants, and one night, a three-foot snake on the trail.
  • Thai massage (body and feet) are offered on the beach — under an open-air thatched roof.  It’s fun to see the geckos racing around under the roof when you lie down and look up.
  • Waiters and waitresses on our island in Thailand get to wait tables in bare feet.
  • Sounds (of things such as birds) and smells (such as incense or dried squid) are so extremely different than what we’re used to.
  • The hotel info packet in Koh Phi Phi states that topless & nude bathing are against the law.  That didn’t stop one young woman from Spain from taking off her bikini top on the beach.  She thought nothing of it as she waved over a waiter to take her food order while she was in this state.  Didn’t stop another woman, as well.  Sorry…no topless photos available, but here’s one that reminds me of the Corona beer commercial & is the best I can do under the circumstances. (Remember to click on photos to get the full effect.)

The sun is setting on Koh Phi Phi.

  • Apparently, Thailand is the place to go if you want to have a sex change.  I did see many transvestites.  And, while we were in Phi Phi Tonsai, there was a parade.  Many in the parade were men who looked like women.  This mermaid was the most spectacular.  Or, was she a woman?  Hard to tell…

  • Finally, there are no yarn shops to be found in Dubai or Thailand (knitting addict that I am), which was actually, no surprise.      😉

2 Responses to Surprises

  1. I’ll have to tell my daughter about camel milk for Cameron 🙂

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