Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Comin' on Home

The Dubai airport is half shopping mall, half hotel, and half airport.

Thanks to the miracle of aviation, I'll be getting in to Seattle in
about 26 hours. That includes a seven hour layover in London (anyone
interested in a morning pint?). I've never been one to sleep on
planes, but this will have to be an exception. At least it's not

I'm not sure how I feel about my trip coming to an end. On one hand,
I won't have the same feeling of personal freedom and self-reliance,
or the excitement of seeing new places and cultures on a daily basis.
On the other hand, I can buy Reces' Peanut Butter Cups whenever I want.

So it's absolutely time to come home for a while.

Once I get home, I'll make some longer posts and draw some conclusions
and post pictures and all that. After I sleep for two days straight,
of course. I have tons to write about Dubai (about my final day in
particular), so stay tuned.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

National Day

I took the bus to Abu Dhabi today (only 15 dirhams for a slightly
unconfortable 2-hour drive). My plan was to get in at noon and spend
some time at the beach-- after Dubai traffic/bus overhead, I didn't
end up leaving until noon.

But it all worker out fine. I got in with enough time to walk around
the city and eat some delicious curry. For low-end restaurants, Abu
Dhabi is about half the price of Dubai. An entree, naan, and a lassi
came to around five dollars.

It's National Day in the UAE, which is a sort of fourth-of-july-on-
crack style celebration in all seven emirates. Everyone has the day
off (the weekend here is typically Friday-Saturday), and there are
various state sponsored festivites and marriment across the land.

It's a lot like the fourth actually, with the same kind of crazy flag-
waving and music-blasting that is probably confusing to foreigners.
Except instead of sharing the American obsession with fireworks, the
Emiratis decorate their cars in UAE colors and cruise back and forth
revving their engines and honking their horns. There's so much
revving at times that people's cars either backfire or erupt in a
cloud of black smoke. I saw a guy in an old Golf throw a rod while
barely moving. His hood was exploded out as if an angry bear were
trying to escape from the inside of his engine compartment.

So aside from that puzzling display of national pride, I'm a big fan.
More reasonable people take the day just to sit around, barbeque, and
smoke shisha in the park.

Whoa, I just saw someone wearing a burqa made out of a UAE flag.
That's a first (for me, anyway).

Also, it's pretty cool when two (or more) cars join forces and play a
song with their differently tuned horns. I've been hearing it off and
on all day, and I think I may have managed to grab a recording of it.

It's about 7:30 now, and I'm drinking coffee in the Marina Mall. I
walked all the way from the Al Wadi mall, mostly because the girl at
the Indian restaurant said it couldn't be done. Now I have to figure
out whether I'm going to try to stay in the Abu Dhabi hostel or take a
late bus back to Dubai.