Well I've been in
for about a day now, and let me tell you, THIS is something to see! Dubai
My 8 hour flight from
(leaving Beijing - FINALLY)
For about an hour before we landed, it was just desert out the window. I couldn’t believe it...I mean I knew
Anyways, we landed around 11:30am local time, and the airport was pretty dead. Friday is a weekend over here (Friday and Saturday) so it didn't take any time at all to get my luggage and through security. The airport was really cool (temperature wise), but as soon as the fancy doors opened to the outside, this massive heat wave hit me! It was SO hot there! 41 degrees C - whatever that is in Fahrenheit...it's freaking hot!
So it turns out most people in
The taxis are VERY nice over here. BIG and clean, and almost everyone speaks pretty good English. We chatted a little bit on the way and pulled up in front of my hotel about 20 minutes later. It looked pretty nice (decent anyways) from the outside so that was a big relief! They had my reservation, too - which was also a relief! You never really know what you're getting when you do this stuff on-line the week before you leave and have no idea where anything is! It all turned out fine though. My room is small, but clean, and in a pretty good location, with a free breakfast buffet! Can't beat that for $20/night in
As soon as I dropped off my luggage in my room, I went straight to the concierge desk and started looking at maps and things to do. I didn't really plan anything for this part of my trip. I read up a little bit on a free
But first, I walked outside my hotel, and noticed a pharmacy right next door, so I went in -- still needing those malaria pills for Africa! I told the guy I had a sore throat (which I've had for a few days now and usually get strep throat shortly after that) and he handed me some antibiotic. Then I told him I was going to
After that, I hopped in a taxi (easy to get just off the road my hotel is on) and showed him in my little book where I wanted to go. He dropped me off about 5 minutes later, and I walked right in to the DEAD food court. Turns out it is freaking Ramadan in
Once I finished eating, I walked out of the bathroom with my water bottle in my mouth taking a big drink of water, and the same freaking security guard saw me and said, "No!". SHIT - no eating AND no drinking!? I really picked a good time to come to
The shopping in
Then we got back in the car and drove OFF the road in to the sand. We just took a normal SUV off-roading in the desert. It was probably the stupidest thing I’ve done in awhile - and definitely the best adrenaline rush I've had since skydiving and cliff-diving! The driver was even MORE crazy on the big hills in the sand than he was on the road. I'm not stupid, and I know enough about physics to know that we came dangerously close to rolling that thing numerous times. If I hadn't been in the front seat, I definitely would've throw up - ljust ike 3 out of the other 5 people who were in the car did. :( Whenever we stopped though, I got out and took pictures! The sand was really hot and it was super windy!
We did that up and down and ripping around for over an hour -- I was screaming about 45 minutes of that...CRAZY is the only way I can describe it. I've got lots of pictures...just crazy. Still can't believe I did that and survived... SO - after we stopped several times for people to throw up, we arrived at this little outdoor gathering area in the middle of the desert. We went on camel rides and got henna tattoos on our hands, and had a traditional Indian meal while sitting on these big pillows on the ground. It was pretty cool. We had to wait until the sun went down to eat, and then there were these big pretty lights all over - and we were out in the desert under the moon and starts - it was pretty cool.
We got back in the SUV with the crazy driver and made it back to
I woke up at 5:15 am and was WIDE awake. That felt like 9:15 to me (Beijing time) so I had a hard time falling back asleep, but eventually did, and woke up around 8:45. I took a shower - a cold shower for most of it - there's this little button thing you have to push for hot water and apparently it takes a long time for it kick in. I went down for my free breakfast buffet, and it was pretty lame. I had a pancake that was rock-hard, and two pieces of bread with strawberry jelly. Guess that would have to do it for breakfst...
I went up and waited for my "city tour" to show up. Well it wasn't really a group tour, it was a private guide and me in a car for the morning. My guide was 26, from
Okay, okay - internet time is almost up (I'm at a little internet place down the street and they charge you by the minute) so this is going to get cut short! I'll try and write more about the city tour later when I have time!
But first, here's a little information on the city I've learned since I've been here, before I forget it: The population is about 1.4 million people, and only 25% of those are native
Okay - I've got a million other things I want to tell you about this awesome city, but I've gotta get off before they kick me off! :)
Leaving tomorrow for AFRICA!!