Dubai – Not a Desert

So, I am the worst at updating. Apologies. In my defense, it is really hard to write blogposts when you’re on the road. And who wants to read just a whole bunch of words right? But it is really difficult to upload my pictures from my camera to a computer and then post it here. I do my best anyway, so patience! Good things (I hope) come to those who wait.

IMG_4795

Pretty decent airline, all things considered
Dubai, UAE, Nov 20

So I arrived in Dubai. Flight was bearable, and Dubai airport is very modern. The metro system is also pretty amazing, and I took it down to Zehra’s place. Got out and wow, it was raining. And cold. I felt very cheated – it’s Dubai! In the middle of the desert! Jeez. Anyway, at Zehra’s place, I had a delish lunch prepared by her sister-in-law, Kalya and took a nap.

Super Comfy Bed, Courtesy of Zehra and Nadir, Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Super Comfy Bed, Courtesy of Zehra and Nadir,
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

I needed to kill time till Zehra got off work, so Nadir (her brother) and Kalya dropped me off at the Dubai mall, the world’s largest shopping mall. Guess what? It’s like any and every other mall I’ve ever been in.

Dubai Mall Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Dubai Mall
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

If you know me at all, you would know I’m not a fan of malls, so of course, after 10 minutes at being quite taken aback that the mall was so huge it needed taxis to ferry people around, I was bored.

"Zara to Cartier please" Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

“Zara to Cartier please”
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Thankfully, there was a pretty cool fountain show to entertain me for a bit more.

It's more impressive in real life Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

It’s more impressive in real life
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

The Dubai mall is also home to a pretty cool aquarium, so I spent a good 20ish minutes watching the marine life float around, watching people gawking at them. I wonder what life must be like for a fish that’s slightly more intelligent than a goldfish.

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Well, Zehra turned up soon enough, and we had a lovely Arabian dinner with hummus and kebabs and all sorts of yummy things.

Yay us! Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Yay us!
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

So much yum Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

So much yum
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

We went to a quaint little place just under her apartment block after that, and coincidentally met up with a bunch of her friends there. It was fun, meeting new people and talking about this and that and really, after 20 minutes or so, it’s like you’ve known them forever. Interestingly, I always find that people are more willing to share intimate details of their lives with complete strangers, perhaps with the knowledge (belief? hope?) that they will never meet again, and that their secrets are safe. Hm.

Anyway, my second day in Dubai was rather uneventful, apart from the fact that Dubai was FLOODING.

In Singapore, we call this ponding Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

In Singapore, we call this ponding
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

It was hilarious really. It was drizzling, and within the hour, entire streets were flooded. I was very amused. We visited Zehra’s office so that she could run some errands.

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Zehra’s dedication is admirable
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

And then it was off to old Dubai! The gold souk featured some of the most excessively extravagant jewelry

Rob me! Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Rob me!
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

(including the world’s largest gold ring)

It is heavier than me. Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

It is heavier than me.
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

I have ever seen, and the spice souk had, well, spices!

Mmm, spicy? Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Mmm, spicy?
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

We also took an abra across the creek, for 1dirham, which was pretty fun, because the abras do not have sides to prevent you from falling out/off. Pretty cool stuff.

Abra-cadabra! Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Abra-cadabra!
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Look ma, no sides! Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Look ma, no sides!
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Gorgeous sunset Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Gorgeous sunset
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Dinner was at Zehra’s favorite place in Dubai, Wokyo, and the food was pretty yumz. The rest of the evening we just chilled, and had an early night.

Zehra and Seoul Flaming Chili Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Zehra and Seoul Flaming Chili
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

The next day! Zehra’s friend Zac brought me to a beautiful place, the Jumeirah … (I’ve forgotten the name). It was all obviously man-made but extremely beautiful nonetheless. I had fun wandering around, taking pictures like the real tourist that I am (or am trying to be).

Pretty! Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Pretty!
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Pretty Part II! Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Pretty Part II!
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

We even snuck into the theatre where a rehearsal for some show happened to be going on. The trick to get into restricted access places is just to pretend like you belong and know what you’re doing 😉

Sneak peek Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Sneak peek
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

After that, it was off to the desert! I finally got to see my camels – huge herds of them wandering around (within enclosed compounds) being all calm and cool in the desert.

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Cooler than cucumbers
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Part of the tour included dune bashing – being bounced around in our seats as the driver maniacally steered the car up and down the sand dunes. It was almost exactly like being on an extended roller coaster. Fun fun fun.

Sand dunes Dubai  UAE, Nov 2013

Sand dunes
Dubai UAE, Nov 2013

After that, we were dropped off at a large tented compound in the middle of nowhere, and I had my first camel ride on a delightful camel named Sheila!

Sheila, Irene and me! Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Sheila, Irene and me!
Dubai, UAE, Nov 2013

Dinner in the desert was accompanied by belly dancing and tanoura performances, and interesting conversations with the Bolivian lady I met, Irene.

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That evening, back in civilization, I bullied Zehra into performing at this pizza place we went to. (: She was super nervous, but it all went well in the end! Thanks for the performance, Zehra!

And that was pretty much the end of my stay in Dubai! Probably won’t be back again (for a long while), but it was fun nonetheless! Next up on my agenda – a super long flight to the other side of the world!

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