I’m being cynical. The airport was not busy at all where this picture was taken. Of course it was 11:00 at night. My plane left at 2:45 AM and the check-in ticket counter didn’t open until 10:45 PM for check-in to the flight going to the United States. What kind of flight leaves out at 2:45 AM? A weird one. There was no way that I wanted to fly out of anywhere at 2:45 in the morning. That’s just silly. But, I did it. And, to tell you the truth, the Dubai airport turned out to be very busy at that time of the morning. The boarding started at 2:00 AM and I went to spend my last three dollars at about the time boarding started. What I noticed was that I had to make my way through the crowd to find a shop that would sell me some food for 10 Emirati Dirham or less. It was truly busy at that time of the morning. I couldn’t believe it. Where were all those people going at that time of the morning? Who knew?
We had dinner at one of the local Filipino restaurants. Junie, one of the local CS members from Manila took Martin and I to a local buffet that is frequented by his fellow country-persons. The fish and chicken were really good and the tea was some of the best I’ve ever had and they kept it coming and coming. One thing that is clearly obvious is that CS has a very active Dubai chapter. From what I could gather they get together often and they have a fairly good-sized group. I highly recommend getting ahold of some of the group to arrange some time with them.
It’s supposed to be the only seven-star hotel in the world. Of course the seven-star designation is just made up. There really isn’t such a designation, as least as far as I know. I was told that rooms start at $7,000 for a night and go up from there. Later I would find out that it was possible to get a room at the hotel for under $2,000 per night. Why would anyone admit to paying those prices? Why not just spend $400 and give the rest to charity. I understand living well, but I think there’s a point where over-indulgence should be frowned upon. Of course those people who over-indulge would disagree with me. They would say that it’s not possible to over-indulge. I do not agree with that philosophical position. However, I will always say that it’s their money and they should be able to spend it the way they want. It’s just that I also feel that such over-indulgence gives the Bolsheviks the philosophical justification they need to revolt.
It’s the tallest building in the world. This one isn’t open for debate. It’s a beautiful building. Truly. Dubai is blessed with tall buildings. Sometime in the near future I’m going to do a study of how the city ranks in terms of the number of high-rises versus other cities. There were just too, too many buildings over 50 stories. Martin said he lives on the 30th floor and used to live on the 60th floor of 80-story building before he moved and scaled down a little. I tied to think of how many cities in America had apartments on the 60th floor and above. I couldn’t think of a whole lot in the United States. Only Asian cities came to mind as potential candidates.
This is Martin climbing out of a wadi. This how we came down to find the swimming hole where we went swimming. Note that it was hot. Really hot. I’d guess it was somewhere approaching 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit. It was so hot that I couldn’t hold on to the rocks for more than a couple of seconds as I was climbing out of the wadi. It was so bad that I had to use my hat as a glove to help me get out. Males old enough to draw social security should probably admit that their best rock climbing days are behind them. Martin, however, didn’t seem to notice my age. He’d stop every once in a while and ask me if I was doing okay. What could I say? He wasn’t going to rescue me unless I got into some serious danger and it wasn’t like this was a major mountain. It was, however, a serious climb for me.
While Martin and I were cruising around the United Arab Emirates and in particular around Wadi Al Wurayyah Dam he took me to one of his little spots in the desert. Martin has been here long enough to know a lot of "hot spots" and in the type of heat that can be found in Dubai, the term "hot spot" is entirely too correct. The have temperatures there that approach 120 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s hotter than I want to think about. Way too much hotter than I want to actually experience. Here is a little swimming hole. We had to hike to it. Apparently, it’s in the desert and it’s spring fed. Note that we weren’t the only ones there. There were people there when we arrived and there were people arriving when we left. It was a very neat little place hiding in the desert.
My friend Martin picked me up and took me to several places in and around Dubai. One of the places we went was the Wadi Al Wurayyah Dam. A wadi is a dried up river bed that sometimes has water in during the rains that happen every so often. This dam was built to catch some of that water. What was on the other side of the dam? Nothing. Not a thing.
I’ve done a little mall walking in my day. Not a lot, but some. It’s good exercise. This is a picture of a mall walker in Dubai. The malls are so special in Dubai that being a mall walker in Dubai takes on a whole new level of significance. This is mall walking on par with anywhere in the world. Anywhere.
This is a picture of a McDonald’s taken at noon on a Thursday at the Mall of the Emirates. Notice that there is no activity. Now I need to tell you that it is located in a large food court at the mall. The reason it is not open is that it is Ramadan. During Ramadan, no one is allowed to eat in public anywhere in Dubai during the daylight hours. This means no one. As a matter of fact, if you are caught eating or drinking in public during daylight hours during Ramadan, you are subject to a fine. This isn’t a joke. During the time I was in Dubai I saw no one eating or drinking anything other than people who were in a car with me and I refuse to divulge their names and addresses. It’s really that serious. Restaurants are closed during this period. Grocery stores are open and do business as usual, but no food is consumed there in public. I can’t tell you how serious this is.
I rode the metro to the Mall of the Emirates and got off. This is a must see attraction in Dubai if for no other reason that it contains Ski Dubai, a ski slope in the mall. It is also a large, over-the-top mall in Dubai, a town that specializes in large, over-top-malls. This is one of the two malls in Dubai that I knew I must see. The other mall was Dubai Mall, the mall that some people argue is the largest mall in the world. It turns out, if you are trying to decide what is the biggest mall in the world, there is more than one way to measure the size of a mall. Anyway, the malls in Dubai are special. One of the characteristics of the city of Dubai is that it is a shoppers paradise and the malls are a component of that characteristic. Go shoppers!