Archive for the ‘U.A.E.’ Category

An unusual day

March 27, 2010

Before I forget, there are two observations that I have to make:

1. Omanis are absolutely crazy about reggae
2. The drivers on the Arabian Peninsula are the worst drivers in the world

Now for an update of yesterdays happenings:

Figuring that there wasn’t all that much to do here, I decided to go to the biggest mall in the world. Why not, it is the biggest. It was a mall. The only major difference is that this mall is aimed for the incredibly wealthy. Everything there was ridiculous. But, unfortunately, because it is the biggest mall in the world, it isn’t very easy to find the exit. I ended up walking around in this mall for about 6 hours.

After the mall experience, and my extreme wealth warm-up, I decided to go to the Burj al Arab (the 7 star hotel shaped like a boat). When I got there I was informed I had to pay over $100 just to enter and walk around. Not feeling that, I headed to another mall to kill some time. This time I was in the Mall of the Emirates (the largest mall was the Dubai Mall). Inside the Mall of the Emirates is a giant indoor ski resort, Ski Dubai. Indoor ski resorts have always seemed hokey to me, but this was amazing! It was huge, with real chairlifts, -3 degrees Celsius, and some pretty decent runs. I haven’t been skiing in a few years, but this definitely rekindled a long lost love. Hopefully future blog posts will include Lake Tahoe! 

After skiing, I returned back to my hotel, watched some CNN and passed out. A day well completed.

Dubai is … big!

March 26, 2010

One of the things I am most intrigued about around the world, is different people taking the same materials and “lot in life” and making different things with them. Now, of course, if everyone did the same thing, the world would be pretty boring and nobody would leave their houses.  One outcome is never better than another, merely “different.”  Dubai definitely went “different” in a very developer friendly manner.

This place is huge. Imagine that the Las Vegas strip kept building at the same pace for 100 years. You would have Dubai at the end of that century. There have to be more hotels here than the entire state of California. My taxi cab was a Lexus (and was cut off on the freeway by a Lamborghini).  The internet here makes the US seem like we’re on dial-up.

All that said, this seems like a soul-less and depressing place. Not in a “lost my rent money” Las Vegas feeling, more like “the place where people who sold off the last common-shares of their soul go”. Lot’s of business, lot’s of money, still searching for what lies beneath. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll figure it out (and, no, not at the Wild Wadi Water Park or giant indoor skiing place).

In the meantime, I guess I should show everyone the amazing architecture here…

Goodbye Africa

March 20, 2010

Tonight I am heading back to the Middle East for 9 days before returning to San Francisco. Erik left the night before last, and I feel like I have seen the sights of Addis. I’ll fly back to Dubai tonight and arrive around 1:00am, then tomorrow I’ll take a bus to Muscat, Oman. The drive should be 4 hours with no sights except sand to see. Oman is at the south-eastern most part of the Arabian Peninsula and borders Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and the UAE. I’m excited about getting to see more of the Middle East than just Dubai. It’s kind of like the equivalent of going to Las Vegas and believing you’ve seen the US.

Yesterday I went to find some liquor. I love bringing home local libations. Whenever you want to travel the world, you can hop a flight to your liquor cabinet. The idea was to score some Tej (next time you want a laugh, ask me to try to pronounce it!). After some rangling with the taxi drivers, they took me to what looked like an Ethiopian speakeasy. They asked me if I brought a water bottle (in hindsight this is telling). I had to pay extra for a bottle, which they filled with the sauce. Tej is a wine brewed out of water and honey. Think back to your english literature classes from high school (it was called Mead). Apparently there are no national brands, or even properly bottled brands. You simply show up to the place they brew it, and they fill up your bottle. Beacuse the bottle they gave me is leaking and doesn’t hold liquid, I have no idea how I’m going to get this stuff back on the plane. The last thing I want is to land in San Francisco and discover a backback full of clothes covered in honey.

Dubai airport hotel

March 8, 2010

After the single longest plane ride of my life, I made it to the United Arab Emirates. I arrived around 6:45 in the evening, and went straight to my hotel and crashed. Sleeping on airplanes has never been my things and not to mention the last 4 hours of the flight was quite bumpy. After some sleep, the phone rang with a wake up call, and it was off to the buffet to see what could be eaten. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy. Eggs, fruit, veggies, etc. No problems. I’m boarding my airplane now, and in about 4 hours I’ll be in Africa.

Dubai – I’ll be back to learn about you in a couple of weeks…