Home Sweet Dubai

Thankfully settled into hotel in Dubai.  We soon are going out scavengering for food but wanted to record initial impressions.  First, to Lisa, my personal trainer:  bless you!  As I effortlessly heaved up my 20 lb backpack in a bicep curl time after time I thought of you.  Same thing when I went into squats to lift bags – you prepared me to be my own Sherpa – thanks!   ;-).  Then, Dubai . . .

Ironically, in London the airport was stuffed full of Middle Easterners.  In Dubai, it was full of Westerners.  I don’t know if that is typical or whether we might be doing a big population shift for the holidays.

Second impression, you put a dishdasha on any man and he looks gorgeous.  All the low-level, tourist managers in the airport wore them, and I swear they looked like royalty.

Third impression while driving through downtown Dubai, if I were an architect, I would want to work here.  Wildly imaginative skyscraper designs, all . . . scraping the skies!  Sydney came to mind at times.  The tallest building in the world (unless someone has built one taller since the writing of my tour book) is here.

Fourth impression . . . It is disappointingly smoggy – don’t know if it is really smog or just dusty.  I felt a little like I did the first time I saw the Washington Monument through a yellow layer.  I wish I could have seen this spot 50 years ago.

Finally, this will be a super place to meet people from elsewhere.  Our cab driver was from India and our bell hop from Nepal.  Another man I met was from Denmark and a couple in the lobby with the spouse well wrapped, perhaps from one of the more conservative countries.  (A side note, an observation – she looked very tired and he treated her so very sweetly.  They clearly were fond of each other.  I am trying to come to terms with my feelings about burkas – they don’t seem to mean the same to the women wearing them as they do to a western woman)

Enough for now.  Tom has fallen asleep, but we are on our way to a mall named after the Middle Eastern version of Marco Polo, an explorer named Ibn Battuta.

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M.A., Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Wanderer. Author, "When Freedom Called: at the front and home front in the Gulf War", 2011.

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