12.08.2011 - 15.08.2011 44 °C
So 2 nights in Dubai because we missed our first flight then couldn't get another till 4 days later. The. When we got to the airport we discovered the travel agent we rescheduled with had only booked josh's flight to Dubai and not mine! After 2.5 hours of running from desk to desk trying to explain our situation to people who's English was very limited we were finally directed to a desk where I was on standby and was immediately given a boarding pass. So we ran down with our bags, hopped on the bus all flustered to make it to the gate on time only to be told that our flight was delayed by an hour. An hour later we were boarded only to wait on the plane for another hour then unboarded due to mechanical difficulties. Finally at 1am we were boarded onto another plane 8 hours later, after having a few scotches with a lovely American chap who was moving from china to Dubai to teach English. I called lisas friend who we would be staying with and advised we would be late. Arrived before 7am the following morning and the temperature outside was already mid 30's. By the time we'd been able to negotiate our way through customs (straight through nz passport) and get breakfast which was a dealing itself as Ramadan it was 9am. The cafe inside the airport had trellises up so no one could see people eating inside the cafe. Many of the men were wearing a traditional dish-dash ( white pants with a long white top covering and a white sheet on their head and black rope around it and the women were mostly dressed in black burkkas or wore long clothing and loose floor length coats over the top.
Near the airport is a community where a lot of the ex pats stay, town is a short drive away where they have the largest building in the world, a monstrous 136 story building with poles that goes miles into the sand to keep it steady, also there is worlds largest shopping mall over 1k across, worlds biggest fish tank inside the shopping mall so large we caught a boat across the top and fed the fish and worlds largest dancing fountain like the bellagio in Vegas. Temperatures soared to 43 degrees celcius and the weirdest thing was that it was mug heat because we were near the ocean no dry desert heat like I had expected. The shopping malls had a dress code and signs saying knees and shoulders must be covered but there were still a few people walking around who hadn't covered up. Inside the mall was a ski field complete with tobogganing! And everything was expensive. Food courts were all completely shut down so no stops for coffee. Eating or drinking anything in public was completely forbidden, also no gum or smoking until after the last call to prayer after the sun had sunk.
We were lucky enough to get a seat at an Iftar tent which is where the Muslims go to break the fast. Dates and water are served first then there is a buffet style banquet put on and the food was amazing. Half a lamb cooked with rice was on offer, small kebabs, curry, salads, Babaganosh, bread, hummus, kofta, desserts. Huge feast and the tent was right on the beach looking out to the famous 6 start sail hotel. There was valet parking and everyone drove either a BMW, merc or Audi. Money was prevalent and it was obvious. The wages there are tax free so if you have a half decent job your wallet is bulging full. The buildings seem to be replicas of other famous buildings around the world, the 'gherkin' was there, big Ben, etc. Plenty to see and do. The locals all dine outside in the winter when the temperature gets to a reasonable 26 degrees, even at night it doesn't really cool down, so we were running from air con buildings to air con cars. Cool place, quite spread out, lots of cash. Minnie who we stayed with said there is a trend of living above your means by many of the locals there. But also a lot of real wealth, apparently under those layer of black are designer outfits worth thousands. Definitely a rich persons playground or a great place to earn a lot of cash.