Dubai – Surprise

I didn’t know what I was getting into.  I didn’t do my homework and I didn’t know what exactly we would be doing in Dubai.  We planed a 6 day stay thinking “it’s a man-made city in a desert.  I am not going to ski in a mall.  I am not going to ride a camel. 6 days is plenty of time”  I was wrong, we could have stayed much longer.

IMG_3634Yes it is a completely man-made city only 50 years old with most building less than 10 years old. Everything is shiny and new and completely over the top. It was easy because my mother-in-law scheduled everything and was a top notch tour guide and personal chef.  So what did we do? The list, in order of enjoyment.

  1. Drove Dune Buggy in desert
  2. Jumeirah Hotel Brunch, worlds best of everything all you can eat & drink for 4 hours
  3. Relaxing with my wonderful in-laws in their home
  4. Abu Dhabi New Mosque – covered in while marble and carving of flowers with the world largest single rug, it’s breath taking.
  5. Trip to gold and spice souk and boat ride over the Dubai Creek
  6. Top of the Berj Kalifi – worlds tallest building (I was sick)
  7. Visiting modern swanky Mall of Dubai (still sick)
  8. The worlds fastest roller-coaster, but  not the rest of Ferrari World  (the other rides were out of order or closed or had 4 hour wait time)

IMG_3681

IMG_3633

What did I miss

I would still like to ride a camel (once) and would really like to see the Camel Races that happen every Friday in the winter.  We need to go to Wild Wadi water park and the new Yas Island water park.  I am fascinated with the mega amusement park thing, but will skip the indoor ski hill as I am spoiled, thanks Lake Tahoe. I would like to see the other malls especially the ‘local one’ outside of town. Activities like SCUBA Diving and sky diving are available and with enough time I might even try jumping out of a plane in Dubai. All it takes is money and there is loads to do in Dubai but it’s the last place you want to go on a budget.

View of Dubai Marina

View of Dubai Marina

Wow I didn’t know that!

Dubai speaks English, at least that was the only thing we ever had to speak.  They drive shiny new cars on huge roads and all the  signs are in English.  Not all the women wear Abaya’s (the black head covering) and not all the men wear the traditional white kandura.  More then 50% of the population is from foreign countries aka Expatriates or “Ex-pats”.  You can get a proper drink, you just have to go to establishments for foreigners and pay a good amount for the privilege.   You can eat bacon and there is an entire section of “Pork for Non-Muslums” in the international brand grocery stores.

Most companies doing business in the Middle East are based in Dubai or Abu Dhabi (they are about 2 hours drive apart).  Why? United Arab Emirates (UAE) makes it easy; there is no corporate or income taxes and setting up a new business is a matter of months not years.  If you are a westerner being stationed in the Middle East your family will be safe and have the comforts of home if you live in UAE.

Sheikh Zayed Road

Sheikh Zayed Road

Dubai’s car culture is most comparable to LA, with a plethora of super cars and 80% of whats on the road is less than 5 years old.  In Dubai however you can drive one hour on the main highway Sheikh Zayed Road and see Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini and more Mercedes BMW’s Jags and Audi’s then you many in one year in LA.  You will not see scratches, bumper dings, dents, missing panels or any less than perfect vehicles.  Apparently they will not renew registration for cars with body or internal damage.  Dream on, my American car dealership friends.

IMG_3643Dubai looks just like the pictures. You can see most of the buildings on theinternet but what was most unexpected about Dubai is how comfortable it was.  I thought we would stand out, have a language barrier, not be able to get alcohol or pork, and none of that was true. We got to experience only a portion of the international half of Dubai and I am eager to explore more.  Next time for much longer.

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