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July 8, 2006 – A journey to Dubai, United Arab Emirates in Middle East

Welcome to the Middle East!

Ahh, Dubai. The picture in my mind of the city is exactly not what I had imagined. To put it shortly, Dubai seems to be a city full of tall, expensive shiny buildings in the middle of a too hot and too dry desert by a too warm sea. I’m still in a quandary why lots of famous people come here to vacation or invest in property. It’s not that I don’t like Dubai, it just reminds Rick of Vegas. And unfortunately I'm not too fond of places like Vegas (nor Reno nor Tahoe). Nothing to do here, really, except to go shopping. I don’t like shopping either.

In any case, I’m in the Middle East! This is a completely unknown land to me. A lot to learn, especially in terms of cultural practices. For example, Rick and I tried to take the bus yesterday to the Gold Souq. After three tries of trying to even get on a bus, we gave up. For some reason, none of the bus drivers would let us on even though the buses didn’t look full. At first, I thought I wasn’t properly dressed (was wearing long pants, a regular, loose shirt, and sandals but didn’t have my arms or head covered). I noticed that most of the local women around were covered from head to toe, and in black. Then, I thought maybe they didn’t like to give rides to Chinese people. They let an Arab man get on, but refused us and some Indian guys.

We finally got on the bus today and noticed that there were separate sections for women and men. Maybe the women section was full yesterday? Who knows? Could someone tell me what’d just happened here?

It’s been pretty interesting to just sit back and watch the people though. You’ve got the Middle Eastern men and women in traditional dress, men from India working mainly in business, service, or construction industries, and women from the Phillipines working in the hotel/shopping service industries. You also have the tourists that show too much skin.

lots of tall, shiny new buildings, which also means lots of shopping for the shopaholics

lots of buildings under construction too

a street in the Gold Souq, where you can buy lots and lots of gold

waters are in beautiful blue hues and very, very, very warm

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