Dubai, what a city! Everything is huge and clean and glittery and looks like a mall. Anyone can tell you the city already has way too many malls to begin with, but even the metro stations and the gleaming gigantic airport looked like the inside of luxurious malls! Cars are mostly huge, expensive SUVs and are all spotlessly clean. Roads are wide, and the traffic patterns reminded me a lot of Dallas, but on a smaller, fancier scale. The streets are not littered with trash or billboards which was extremely refreshing. There is construction all over the place. While we were there the weather was between hazy and rainy, and I never really saw or felt the full sunshine. The weather was balmy and lovely at around 80F and it was humid but not horribly so. Even at night it was still warm, and the sweaters and light scarves I carried were simply due to the air conditioning that was on full blast in every inside space. Why why why that is deemed necessary in such beautiful weather is simply beyond me.
|This is not my picture but it is a Dubai metro station. Whaaat?|
I’m not much of a sightseer and I didn't have much non-conferencing time, but I was able to see a fair bit of the city thanks to two lovely friends. I met Anna last summer at work as she tutored the CELTA and then we really got to know each other during the CELTA Young Learner’s extension course we both took in September. We had so much fun during those two weeks, that when I learned she’d be in Dubai for the conference I was so happy! She and her husband took me out for Pakistani food in an Indian district of Dubai called Satwa I think, and it was just so much fun to hang out with both of them and wander the area buying little bits of school supplies! Unfortunately I didn’t bring my camera that night so I have no pictorial proof of our wonderful evening.
|Not my my picture either, but this is where we ate! Got it|
here which gives a nice overview of the restaurant.
|This is what the area looked like by night! Picture from tripadvisor.|
The second friend I saw was the lovely Livia. We completed our CELTA course together here in Casablanca but then her Moroccan husband Zak got transferred to Dubai and off she went. She and I find it so easy to connect on so many levels, and seeing her again was just wonderful! We met up twice, the first to do some food shopping for things like good quality rice and cooking coconut oil which are hard to find here, and the second to go out to dinner in the Jumeirah district in south Dubai. Jumeirah is popular with well-to-do expats and is mainly full of luxury hotels and residences, but because it’s beautiful area it’s popular with tourists also. She and Zak picked me up after I was done with the conference on Friday, and took me there to look around. While there we met up with a few friends of theirs (who work for Emirates airlines, coincidentally). We all had a really lovely time at dinner and the mix of nationalities and accents was quite fun.
|In Jumeirah, with a famous hotel in the background.|
|Liv, me and Zak|
Afterwards, even though it was about midnight we headed over to the Dubai Mall to see Burj Khalifa which is right next to it. Just the parking garage of the mall was impressive! (Think of the biggest and brightest parking garage you've been in, make it bigger, and have it stretch five floors up and down.) We walked in, and most shops were closed but there were still quite a few people walking around. I saw some of the cool things to see there, like the pool-sized aquarium:
|It was late so the lights inside were off, thus the glare. I was |
impressed by the size of that shark!
and this cool diorama of the area we were in:
|Of course I couldn't capture everything AND the top of Burj Khalifa!|
|Apparently during the fountain shows every night (which we were |
too late for) the tower lights up and sparkles like the Eiffel Tower.
|That's the Dubai Mall entrance on the left.|
|A hotel opposite the Burj Khalifa, |
looking pretty small in comparison.
There’s a lot of Dubai that I didn't see, and I’d love to go back someday and explore a bit more. Hopefully next time Othman will come along too!