A New America?

Once I landed in Dubai, I couldn’t help but smile.  In fact, I smiled the entire time.  It may be cliche to say but there’s an energy there and it felt like Dubai is the future.  If America had started about 30 years ago I would imagine it would look a lot like Dubai.  It was around that time that the Sheik gave big tax breaks to people or companies who come in and develop Dubai (even Donald Trump is here).  And develop did they ever!

Dubai has also adopted the Texas’ slogan about everything being bigger.  The tallest building in the world- the Burj Dubai- is currently under construction and boy is it impressive.  From a distance it looks like it is double the height of the surrounding buildings.  The architects designed it so that they can “add more” in case anyone (Dubai or anywhere in the world) tries to out do them.  There are also plans for the largest airport in the world in which up to four planes can land at the same time.  That’s in addition to the current airport which will stay open and the new Emirates Airlines terminal is scheduled to be completed next year.  There’s also the iconic Burj Al-Arab the world’s only 7-star hotel.  Also, Dubailand- Dubai’s answer to Disneyland- is under construction.  I’m sure it’ll be bigger and better than anything else in the world.

I had a great three-day stay.  I probably could have stayed for longer but my budget wouldn’t allow it.  Dubai is known for beaches, desert, and shopping.  I didn’t quite get to the beach nor did I want to but I did do the other two.  On the first day, I took a day tour that included the wonderful Dubai Museum (which was directly across the street from my hotel), a trip across the creek, and a visit to the boring souks (I’ve been to better souks).  The next night I went on a Desert Safari where we went dune bashing in 4×4 vehicles and then had a buffet dinner at night surrounded by mounds and mounds of sand.  I also got a henna design on my hand.  My last day I spent at the Deira City Centre shopping mall.  I chose this particular mall because: 1) the Mall of the Emirates (the largest one in Dubai which also has an indoor skiing facility) was too far from my hotel, and 2) this mall had more inexpensive, non-exclusive stores so that when I showed up in my backpacker clothes I wouldn’t feel out of place or like a hobo.  Even the mall’s logo was “Where you can be you.”  The reason why people come to Dubai to shop is because everything is tax-free.  You can get stuff for cheaper than if you got it at home.  The line to get a taxi after I was finished was at least 200 people deep.  I waited an hour.

Dubai is not as expensive as you may think.  Once you get over the sticker shock of the cost of hotels the prices are pretty comparable to the US.  Go during the summer and save up to 75% over the high-season (December-January) hotel costs.  It was hot but in reality you’re shuffling from one air-conditioned space to another air-conditioned space.  I felt hotter in Egypt.  So, don’t be put off by the hot, humid temperatures.  Now, there are direct flights from the US (Houston, New York and then San Francisco and Los Angeles starting in the fall) to Dubai on Emirates Airlines (which is fabulous).  The in-flight entertainment system is the best I’ve seen and the food generous and excellent.  There are some airlines that like to put a lot on the food tray to disguise a small main course entree.  Emirates was definitely different.  So, the next time you want to take a big trip think outside of Europe and go to Dubai!  Currently, Dubai gets about 7 millions tourists a year and they’re projecting 70 million-a-year in 10 years.  Because Dubai immigrants outnumber the actual UAE nationals, English is the common language so there’s no need to worry about a language barrier.  So, go now!  You won’t regret it.

Right now, I’m in Singapore awaiting the start of my next tour which will take me through Malaysia and up to Bangkok.


2 Responses to “A New America?”

  1. 1 Amy August 1, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    Sounds like Dubai was a good thing after all. YOu even gota henna tatoo, couldn’t get one with your litle sis in Egypt huh? Everything here is great, my doctor sent me in to have another ultra sound because my stomach measured too big for how many weeks I was along, I tried to tell him my stomach is always that big,but he just giggled. Everything is still good and set for Nov. 6th. The doctor said her legs are measuring longer than they should be, so I might have a baketball player too!! I start birthing classes Tuesday, August 11th, Mom will be going with me most of the time. Take care and have fun!!

  2. 2 mandy August 4, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    i want to go to dubai now. did you have to wear conservative clothing? also started reading eat, pray, love and so far so good, but i think my book is gonna be better. lol i’ve also been doin a lot of painting and color studies. can’t wait for you to come back and give me more helpful hints. thanks for the posts and have fun in asia!

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Stacy is in West Virginia and totally amazed by the power of Math. (Nerd, I know!)


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