Welcome to the new improved Las Vegas….or Dubai, United Arab Emirates as some call it.
April 16th, 2010 by Jeff

If you’re flying in from Mumbai to Dubai be prepared for some culture shock.  Flying into Dubai’s new international terminal is like stepping into the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, minus the smoke, liquor, weirdoes and scantily clad women.  After arriving at our gate we rode the moving walkway through large arched hallways made of glass, marble and glittering gold for probably a mile.

The girls infront of the lift, notice the waterfall in upper background.  I could only get in two of the elevators.

The girls infront of the lift, notice the waterfall in upper background. I could only get in two of the elevators.

The girls stopped briefly on our way to make use of the bathrooms (see Tessa’s post).  Once through customs, we entered one of three glass elevators the size of a small living room in front of the 150 foot tall, 100 foot long waterfall. The elevator brought us down three stories to the baggage claim area.  From the airport we hopped into an immaculately clean, large Toyota sedan and were driven to our new accommodations.  This was about as polar opposite as it comes to our experience of arriving in Delhi’s international airport (look back in the blog to get our take on that).

As far as accommodations go Dubai was another couchsurfing success!  Our gracious host for our time in Dubai was a delightful, funny and intelligent young woman by the name of Staci Haag.  She took all of us into her nicely appointed two bedroom apartment in Dubai proper, which ended up being a great departure point for our explorations of the city.  Even thought she had work obligations for the week, we stayed up chatting into the night, discussing her work in promoting democracy in the region and the trails and tribulations of working in the environment that is the Middle East.  Her stories were all very interesting and entertaining.  (We certainly wish her the best with the work she is doing there).

After our time in India, we all decided we needed some good all American style consumerism, and general merriment.  Therefore, the first item on our agenda was hitting some of the UAE’s gianormous malls for some shopping.

Butterfly cutouts hanging in on of the malls huge atriums

Butterfly cutouts hanging in on of the malls huge atriums

Here again, the Las Vegas analogy comes into play.  We went to a mall that had different themes to the sections, (like Rodeo Drive with the upscale shops and an old time Arabic bazaar).  We went to the mall that has a full size ice rink, the world’s largest saltwater aquarium, an indoor ski slope, and a water show outside in their fountains.

Water fountains sync'd to musical score outside the mall.

Water fountains sync'd to musical score outside the mall.

This mall was right next to the world’s largest skyscraper.  We had originally planned to go skiing here, but after looking at the cost ($80/per for two hours) and the size of the hill, we just decided it just wasn’t worth the cost.  It was pretty cool (and a little weird) to see this inside the mall.

Once we were done exploring the malls, we had our sights set on one of Dubai’s two water parks for some good clean fun.  The girls and I choose to go to the Atlantis Resort water park out on the famed artificial palm tree shaped island.  (Kate opted out on this adventure.  When she saw some expat’s that had nice blonde hair she inquired about their colorist; after that she was on a mission to restore here beautiful hair to it’s normal color from the stripper blonde shade she acquired in Thailand.  She knew this would be an all day job).  This park had some great slides built into a pyramid type tower about six stories tall.  On some of the slides you rode on tubes down a curvy bumpy track and where deposited into a lazy river which you could either ride back to a conveyor, or dump yourself into the rapids ride which would take you around the park.  Also, on the highest level of the tower you could go without a tube down an almost vertical drop through a tube in a shark filled aquarium and out to a waiting pond.  Phoebe was tentative at first, but later in the day got up the courage to do it.  I was very proud of her, seeing as she was probably the smallest person I saw taking the plunge on that particular slide!

On our last full day in Dubai we were invited to a party thrown by some of Staci’s friends.  Unfortunately, only the girls and I went, since Kate had one of her dizzy spells and just needed a day in bed.  We had a great time at the party as it was like a traditional American Bar-bq, with the added touch that it was the day before Easter and the host had eggs for the kids to color.  Tess and Phoebe both grabbed and egg and went to town!  We all enjoyed the grilled chicken, sausages and a garden salad, while the girls regaled everyone with stories from our adventures.

Our quick stay in Dubai was most pleasant and a much needed respite from our third world adventures.  We got in enough time to prep us for our next stop, Cairo – which we knew would be a little challenging!  We all agreed we enjoyed our quick stop and would be happy to go back and explore a little more.

2 Responses  
Morgan writes:
May 9th, 2010 at 12:48 pm

spent a little time getting got up on your journeys this morning, what an adventure! and what a nice written and visual record of your family’s experiences. Not too many men have genuinely tried to literally drink beer ’round the world. What a trendsetter!! hope you are safe and well today and please wish Kate a happy Mother’s Day. YITB, Morgan

Danielle DiTerlizzi writes:
May 21st, 2010 at 11:04 am

Hey Jeff! Your mom just left the house and she told me about this website! This is so crazy! Your trip looks like its been SOOOOO awesome! Give my best to everyone! I will be reading about all your adventures!
God Bless,
Danielle DiTerlizzi

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