Day 20. 21 Hitting the slopes in… Dubai, United Arab Emirates

          We made it on the flight that took forever and arrived in Dubai.  I thought I’d look around and see if there was anything interesting to see.  If you look west you see the Persian Gulf, look north (with better eyes than mine) you see the Strait of Hormuz and maybe the coast of Iran, south is sand and east…one…big…building.

Up there

          That is the Burj Khalifa.  The tallest building on earth.  It reaches 2722 ft., I’ve been told.  I didn’t measure because TSA took my pocket tape measure.  I had to find a way to get up there.

Maybe I can take a helicopter to the top.

 

          At about a half mile up, it looks like I’m in some type of aircraft but no, this is a shot out of a window in the building.

Big View

          The nice lady helped me get just a little higher to see better.

          You can get in a line at the bottom and buy tickets to go to the 125th floor, or if you think you are clever you can get in the shorter line.  The shorter line costs about twice as much but gets you on a very long elevator ride to the 148th floor. 

You know you are in a different world when you are met at the elevator door by a uniformed attendant with a tray of sweets and a glass of fruit juice.  It gets narrow up this high so it doesn’t take long to walk around.  You can even go outside and take in the somewhat hazy view.  There are about fifteen floors above you here.

And 146 floors below.

          Closer to earth, I thought I would look for other attractions.  I’m here for a short time, what wonderful sights await me.  It is hot outside so I didn’t see any parks.  Not much in the area of natural green color plants at all.  You could sit on the beach.  Hot sand melts the plastic off me so that would be a “no”.  I like to visit historic…  That’s problematic too.  While the history of the region goes way back, Dubai really wasn’t much to look at before the 1990’s.  Since then there has been an explosion of growth resulting in some very stunning examples of modern architecture but not much in the way of historic.  So what do you do?  We went to the mall.  That is the air conditioned place to go and the people here make the most of it.  We visited two; the Dubai Mall and the Mall of the Emirates.  We barely got to scratch the surface.  The Dubai Mall alone has around 1,200 stores. 

 There is artwork.

          These aren’t swimmers and they aren’t guys leaving the Big Building taking the express way down, it is art, man.

There is the chandelier of all chandeliers.

Kind of that jelly fish effect.

You can go ice skating.

Or meet this guy.

          I think he is supposed to be a penguin but looks more like a duck to me.  There aren’t’ a whole lot of penguins here to complain about misrepresentation.

          Yes, the sign behind him is correct.  Here, in the desert on the shores of the Persian Gulf, you can go snow skiing.

Don’t bump your head on the ceiling when riding the ski lift. 

          Dubai is a pretty mind bending place.  A building so tall it looks like it has to be Hollywood special effects, snow in the mall, and a chalet of sorts, with a form of fireplace.

Or at least a video of a fireplace.  It is too hot here to even think of such a thing. 

          This is a place unlike anywhere we have been and before my mind explodes, it is old world customs meeting with modern technology in the desert.

I think I will get in a plane and head east again.

Advertisements

Day 19 Doha, Qatar and Dubai U.A.E.

To go further east we headed to Doha in Qatar where we would change planes and go to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.  The trip should be easy enough except…

Bubba and I watched on the seatback monitor and realized that the phrase “as the crow flies” doesn’t apply to commercial aircraft.  We were doing a little zigging and some zagging to avoid “conflict zones”. 

          We traveled east to Germany, turned south east down the coast of Italy, took a hard left to skate over Greece and the north part of Turkey, a hard right to go south and wander back and forth along the Iraq-Iran border to the gulf where we made a pretty hard right (west) to skim down the coast of Saudi Arabia to finally land in Doha.  By this time, we were late for our connecting flight and had to spend a few hours at the airport.  Bubba speaks.

            This isn’t where we planned to be hanging out.  Since we missed our flight, we were a little concerned about what to do next, but we were met at arrival by a kind lady with new tickets.  Seems they kind of knew we weren’t going to make it on time and went ahead and rebooked us. To go from arrival to our new gate we had to go through a security line.  We ended up on the other side with a lot of time and no cash.  We had US dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros, and Dirham but no Riyals.  We finally were called to boarding and Rick was in the last row and Spider in the second to last.  After a delay, we started to taxi.  A down side to traveling with a pilot is she notices things I try to ignore.  As we taxied, she turned back and whispered, “I smell smoke.  Something is burning.”  Not something you want to hear on a plane.  And, just as I was saying, “Nah, just your imagination”, the flight crew advised us we were going back to the terminal with a “technical issue”.  I may have been tired before that, but I was wide awake now.  We stopped a little short of the terminal and the flight attendants went to the emergency exits, took off the little party streamer things, and stood next to them.  There were looks back and forth and some quick calls on the cabin phones.  Eventually, they relaxed a bit and we turned around and headed back to the runway.  The plane took off with everyone sniffing for the duration of the flight to Dubai.  It sounded like a flight of bloodhounds, sniffing for, but not wanting to smell, smoke. 

 

You may have noticed a lack of photographs in this narrative.  That would be because I was hiding deep in a pocket and Rick and Spider had a tight grip on the armrests and were not letting go.

We arrived in Dubai around one AM somebodies time.  I lost track and quit trying to change my watch several time zones ago.  Although late at night, the city was lit up  a Christmas tree and was quite enchanting.  Like a refinery at night enchanting.  Like the spaceship landing on Close Encounters enchanting.  Lots of lights on lots of tall buildings.

Tomorrow, I need to pick up a few supplies.  We have been on the road for 19 days so far, time to restock.  I wonder if I’ll be able to find a little shopping mall around here.