How I Deal with Life.....

How I Deal with Life.....

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Day in Dubai

I spent the day yesterday with Suzanne and her son Jarret, a really cool and funny young man who I love hanging out with.

Jarret with his baby Arabic Coke!

On the way to Dubai I had to take photos of all the tricked out cars. The Emiratis decorate their cars for National Day and today marks the 41st National Day, so everywhere I looked there were red, white, green, and black decorated cars plastered with images of the sheiks.

Suzanne set the GPS for Dubai Mall and we only got turned around eight times because road construction is so rapid in Dubai that the GPS devices can't keep  up. So, the GPS lady will say, "Turn right at the next roundabout" and there is no roundabout. Or she will instruct the driver to "Take a left in 100 meters" and there is no road to turn left on.. just a huge construction wall. But I knew we were heading for Dubai Mall, and the Dubai Mall is right at the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, so how hard could  it be? Just look for the really tall ass building.

But...but.. IT'S RIGHT THERE!!!

Saw some lovely young Emitati girls hurrying through downtown Dubai and I had to sneak a shot.. I felt so touristy.

Under those abayas lurk some very expensive clothing, think along the lines of Dior...

The buildings in Dubai are beautifully constructed, and Dubai is an absolutely beautiful city that has EVERYTHING. Since I arrived here though I have read articles and heard people comparing Dubai to New York City.  I take offense with those assertions. There are no comparisons at all.  It would be like trying to compare a newly found polished diamond with a mine cut one from the 1880s; both beautiful, both multi-faceted, but in ways so different that they are apparent to the naked eye and the heart. NYC has a history, a feel of stepping into the past in some areas, a feel of continuity and legacy. Ellis Island, The Statue of Liberty, Grand Central Station.

Dubai is sparkling new. No historical buildings, no places to go to remember the past. Dubai is a city intent on being the gem of the Middle East. Old money vs. nouveau riche. There's always a sweat coated mild desperation and barely suppressed inferiority complex that leaks from the nouveau riche. Dubai has that feel. The city hasn't possessed their great wealth long enough to grow into the old dowager who no longer has to flaunt her money or power to prove herself; she just IS powerful and knows it, as does everyone else- hate her or admire her. NYC is the grand dame dowager. Dubai is the mega successful dot com guy who grew up in rural Kentucky and wore hand-me-downs. So please, everyone stop trying to compare the two. Dubai will never be New York City. No city will.

Emotionally charged opinion based rant over..

But just look at the architecture of Dubai!

One can't deny the thought, creativity, and talent that went into building this city. It is breathtaking.

Suzanne, Jarret and I  finally arrived at the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world (why is there such an attraction to the BIGGEST in the United Arab Emirates? A more than slight Freudian phallic physiological issue going on, perhaps? But I digress..).

The Dubai Mall is four stories of shopping paradise. Dior, Versace, Lush, Guess, Starbucks, Levis, The Gap, Virgin Records, Hushpuppy and Clark shoes, Payless Shoe Store, Sephora.. I could go on and on and on. The mall houses 1,200 retail outlets, two anchor department stores, and over 160 food and beverage outlets (Red Lobster, Outback, P.F Chang's, The Noodle House, Chili's, McDonald's.. anything your palate desires).
Views from the fourth floor looking straight down and across the mall

Jarret was enthralled by the scope of the mall, and I almost immediately found a mega bookstore where I nabbed a book (surprise, surprise for anyone who knows me..)

And I had to go into Virgin Records. I just had to. And I had to buy a Beatles CD.  I was helpless to do anything but walk zombie-like to the check out counter, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band clutched tightly in my hand. It was fate.

And I was just as helpless to wander into Lush and stock up on Christmas presents. My God, I love that store!
 Ha! All wrapped so Mom, Stacey, and Lara can't tell what it is!!

I got hungry, so we stopped at P.F Chang's where we ate outside near the fountain. The hostess seated us behind a wall that blocked our view of everything. We had a view of a.... wall. After the hostess walked away, Suzanne, the fearless renegade, said, "Let's move over there" and proceeded to pick up her packages and leave the table for another one. Of course, I followed, protesting how "wrong"  this was, but that didn't stop me. I didn't like the wall either.
About ten minutes later when the hostess with the Mostest walked by to seat someone else she stopped at our now empty table, a look of puzzlement crossing her face, spied us at seated at the "new" table, and I just know she was pissed. You could see it. Well, Suzanne said she could see it. I tried to avoid the withering gaze of the Hostess with the Mostest.

We ended up having a nice dinner: dumplings, honey chicken and rice. Then we took photos to prove we had been there.

During dinner the fountian music started playing (Barbra Streisand and Julio Iglesias)  and the fountain put on a show in time to the music

A walk by the indoor aquarium, a quick sneak photo of an Emirati man probably waiting for his wife to finish browsing, a quick stop at Second Cup for coffee, and we were ready to head back to Al Ain.

National Day pride was dripping from everything. Sheik Mo looks very stern on this billboard. I think he needs to lighten up a bit...

  It took us ten minutes to get out of the vicinity of the Dubai Mall due to the perpetually confused GPS lady..

However, before we left Dubai, we had to make a quick stop at the airport to check on Jarret's ticket for next week because Suzanne hasn't been able to get through to the airline by phone.  She batted her eyelashes at the parking attending guy and he let us park for free (she is going kill me for writing that, but wait until she gets her eyelash extensions, there will be no stopping her).

After going into the airport and seeing it for myself, I now at least know what to expect when I fly out December 14th for Christmas: long lines and a security check where I will carry all my bags through before they check them. No curbside bag check in. Atlanta Hartsfield airport has spoiled me.

We arrived back in Al Ain around 11:00 p.m last night. Suzanne and Jarret went snorkeling today, but I sit here on National Day (Happy 41st National Day, United Arab Emirates!) holed up my little apartment because there is no way in hell I am going out with all the National Day craziness going on. A day to cook a good Australian beef steak and baked potato, read, watch an amazon movie, and start packing the gifts I bought. With all the Lush products I am going to have to pack, my luggage is going to be the best smelling that goes through security!

In the words of Dr. Seuss, (pardon me for twisting them a bit..) "Dubai was good. Dubai was fun. Tomorrow is another one".

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