I flew into Dubai on my way to Malta and was preparing to spend another 14 hour period of my life at the airport. Luckily Dean (a British former student of my school) offered to show me around and let me sleep on his couch. What a guy!

So I took him up on his offer, he picked me up at the airport and we went to lunch at an “Irish Village”. Had an Irish Lunch (Dean, what the hell are “Bangers and Mash?”) and met his friend Ali. Ali is a native Emeratian and he drove us around to see the sights. Turns out that most, in fact the vast majority of the people that live in Dubai are from somewhere else. Actual citizens make up only 18% or so of the population. That was the first of many remarkable things that I learned about Dubai…

Ali drove us around and showed us the place, everything is in the middle of being worked on. We went to a section of town with all of the really high rent hotels (check out burj Al arab, yes those are heliports on the roof, prices range upwards of $10,000 a night!) and there must have been 10 high rises under construction right there. The most amazing thing was that there wasn’t anything but sand there 6 years ago, now it is one of the valuable pieces of real estate in the world. That was the one thing that struck me about the place, everyone was building everywhere. As Dean says, it’ll be a nice place when they finish… I’d say it already is a nice place…

As we were driving along, we went past a huge gate with more roses than I had ever seen growing around it. There were all sorts all blended together, reds, yellows, whites, etc. I asked Ali what that place was and he mentioned rather offhandedly “Oh, that’s a palace…” They have multiple palaces there for the royal family. You can’t see the places from the road, but judging by the sie of the fences, they had to be spectacular.

For all of the glitz and glamor, there doesn’t seem to be a lot to do there. After showing me around, the guys asked me what I wanted to do, I told them I was pretty easy, what was there to do? They looked at each other and then there was silence… “Umm, you said you don’t drink, right?” Yeah, I don’t usually drink. That put a bit of a halt on things… I wanted to check the price of some colonge that I have been coveting. Dubai has the reputation of a shopping Mecca. Not only can you find anything you want here, but it is supposed to have a very good price. Color me unimpressed, I did find “Green Irish Tweed” by Creed, but one place was more expensive than the States and another place was $20 cheaper… I’ll wait, thank you. Dean and I eventually went out to dinner and then we watched TV at his place. That was a bit of a novelty for me, I hadn’t watched ny since I came over here. Spent the night on his couch, which was probably the darkest and most quiet I have had since I left Rick’s basement. Caught the plane the next morning to Malta.

So my overall view of Dubai is that it is a very ritzy place, there is a lot of money floating around (saw two McClaren modded Mercedes SLR coupes, those are a cool $300,000+ and a Saleen Mustang, also big bucks) and it is abuzz with activity. If you like nightclubs, prostitutes, and shopping, there’s plenty to do, otherwise, it’s best to go home and watch TV:-) I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures, the trip didn’t really lend itself to that. There was rarely any place to stop the car and it was getting late. I will try to get some skyline (which is really impressive) shots on the way back…


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