Dave Henry (davehenry) wrote,
Dave Henry

Trip Report: Dubai

In Dubai, I'm very aware that this is the farthest I've ever been from home:
  • The travel time is more than 24 hours "subjective" time. By this, I mean that I left Boston at 10PM Sunday (Boston time) and arrived in Dubai at 11PM Monday (Dubai time). This works out to about 17 hours objective time, but ends up feeling like a lot longer.
  • Dubai is so unlike home it's a very surreal experience.

I've seen so much, I'll just sum up things that stand out and random thoughts/impressions:
  • If you think of a particular airport as huge, and it's not the Dubai airport, well, you've never been to Dubai. I'm under the impression that all of Logan Airport would fit inside the Dubai terminal...
  • Dubai is like Disneyland for architects. If an architect had a crazy idea -- no matter how crazy or impractical, he'd be able to find somebody in Dubai willing to fund it.
  • It wasn't enough for Dubai-ans to build crazy buildings on normal ground -- they've gone and created crazy artificial landmasses on which to build crazy buildings. We drove around on "the Palm" (the main one -- unbelievably there's more than one), but didn't get to see "the World"...
  • Dubai-ans really love their towers.
  • Bostonians, remember how horrible it was driving downtown during the construction of the Big Dig? How the routes through certain neighborhoods would be different from one day to the next? Dubai is like that all the time,
    , not just in certain neighborhoods.
  • No matter where you are in town, easily more than 50% of the buildings within sight are currently under construction.
  • Remarkably, given the above, new construction in Dubai has slowed drastically due to the recession...
  • On Tuesday I got to go wading in the Persian Gulf. The water was so warm it was completely unlike any ocean experience I've ever had before.
  • Later on Tuesday, Stefan and I went on an amazing desert safari. It included:
    • Mad crazy driving of SUVs over shifting sand dunes (only certified tour guides get to drive like this -- it's clear I lack the desert-driving skills required).
    • Being happy the vehicle we were in had a roll cage installed even though it proved unnecessary...
    • Stefan and I jumping off of steep sand dunes.
    • Sunset in the desert over reddish-tan sand.
    • A ride on camelback.
    • Getting to take a 4-wheeler out over the dunes in the dark (we did get to drive ourselves on this one, although we were accompanied by a guide).
    • A huge feast out under the stars.
    • A belly-dancing performance.
    • An after-dinner shisha while reclining on cushions under the stars.

  • Dubai-ans really love their rotaries.
  • Wednesday's training session was good. I did another zero-PowerPoint-slides presentation.
  • Doing this style of all-day training is exhausting no matter what country you're in.
  • Wednesday evening Walter and I went into "Old Dubai".
  • Throughout the "Gold Souk" section, I was approached approximately once per minute with an offer to sell me a watch, a Rolex, a "copy watch", etc.
  • The "Spice Souk" is an olfactory assault, but in a good way.
  • Taking a boat across the river to another part of town, it hit me that my life-long impression that "desert" equals "lack of water" isn't actually correct. In reality, "desert" equals "lack of vegetation".
  • I've always enjoyed hummus, but fresh-made here is easily ten times better than a grocery store tub back home.

If I had to sum up Dubai in one word, it would be "overwhelming".

It's 1:50AM Dubai time. I have to check out of the hotel at 5:30AM to get to the airport on time, so I'm off to catch a little sleep. I'll next have 'Net access in Istanbul.
Tags: travel, work
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