Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dubai/US National Day

That Monday was pretty exciting for me. As I was preparing to journey out to the UAE, I noticed that Dubai was a prevalent news topic that ran across my usual news headlines I scope out. It's booming with business, commerce, and crazy things like build-your-own-island. And this day, I was going to witness it all firsthand.

We decided to get an early start so we could get as much in as we could before the boys hit the shut-off point where they become a tangle of tired and whining. Driving to Dubai was kind of comical, I thought. You leave Abu Dhabi, a coast of skyscrapers and budding business, and you drive and drive. Dubai is only an hour's drive from Abu Dhabi, but it's mostly desert, vast and dry.

Laura was a bit nervous with getting there because--as she described it--all the roads and landmarks change each time you go there. There is construction EVERYWHERE. She says that each time she goes, the buildings she saw under construction the last time are now finished and new ones have undergone the building process. As we were trying to find our freeway exit, Laura went into focus mode and Jameson went into question mode. Finally she said, "Jameson, I'm trying to find the place we're going, and I can't do that if you're squawking at me." He was quite adament in his response of, "I'm NOT squawking! I'm NOT!" And he kept that up for about two whole minutes. Way to contradict yourself. :) It reminded me of a few days previous when he had asked her to apologize to him after she had reprimanded him for his bathroom incident in Egypt. She told him she wasn't sorry for scolding him, but if you can imagine a 4-year-old demanding his mother to say she's sorry...quite funny!

We started out our journey in Dubai that day at Mall of the Emirates. This was one of the big highlights of my trip, as they have an H&M there. For anyone who doesn't know what H&M is, it is a clothing store with reasonable prices and awesome fashions. My friend Scott asked me if H&M was a type of candy...I told him it was sort of like candy for women... I found some hot jeans there. Then I started perusing the other stores, and that's when I found Ski Dubai. Yep, ladies and gents, they have created a haven for people who miss snow and the sport of skiing, right there in the mall, complete with lift. The picture I got isn't the best, but you get the point...

The rest of the shopping experience was somewhat frustrating. People are littler than me over there, so everything would be just a little too small. I was tempted to make the purchases anyway and force myself to fit into them at some later date, but I was too depressed. But it was fun, nonetheless. There were some great stores I've never seen in the US, and lots I'd heard of but never actually been to. I did find some really cute lingerie for Natalie for when she gets married this summer. Who else can say that they have imported lingerie from Dubai? And it's hot!

After getting some lunch and wrapping up the majority of our shopping, I was discussing my frustration with Laura...she pulled me into a couple stores and picked out some things for me. She told me I need to branch out and look for more feminine items. She's probably right...and she noted that if I want to be noticed, I need to advertise myself. Whoa, that's a strange concept to me, because I am not for sale! (Although... just kidding!) Anyway, I made a deal with her that I would work on finding some hot things before the next time I see her, which will probably be at the end of May. Time's ticking!

I wanted to see the architecture and islands I'd read so much about, so we got back in the car and headed along the freeway to see the skyline. Impressive! Especially the Burj Dubai, world's tallest building. It seriously towers over everything else around it. Kind of makes the other buildings look like toys. I got some cool shots of it. I also got some awesome pictures of the Burj Al Arab, the 7-star hotel that looks like a sail. It's the world's tallest hotel (come on, it had to be the world's tallest or best something, right?).

Then we ventured out onto one of the palm islands, Palm Jumeirah. You can't tell at all that it's a palm tree, but it's pretty fascinating to think that I was out on this huge manmade island! They sure know how to build a coastline out there.

After snapping pictures galore, we headed back home so Laura could get some rest. On the road home, I saw a sign that made me laugh. Because of all the construction, there was a road sign that said, "Beward of Road Surprises." Watch out for those jack-in-the-boxes and ghosts on the road! I would have gotten a picture, but going on the freeway wasn't conducive to getting a good shot. The boys fell asleep on the way home, and Laura was about ready to turn in herself! She was drained from playing chauffer, tour guide (thanks Laura!), and mommy. But the fun wasn't over for the day for me yet!

As I may have mentioned in my posts before, my bro-in-law works at the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi. They celebrate something called US National Day, which is somewhat like the 4th of July, in that they celebrate being US citizens and all, but there aren't any fireworks or anything. Laura was too tired to go and very gracious to help me get ready so I could go with Matt instead. She said that most of these parties are generally boring and don't hold much excitement for her, so she wasn't too sad that I was going in her place. After hearing this, I didn't know if I was excited or not, but I was definitely curious to find out what was going on.

We got there before most people because Matt had to sit at a booth for the ex-pats to sign up to get their absentee ballots sent to them for the election this November. I was a bit shy to begin with, but soon found myself talking with some very interesting people, mostly diplomats and their spouses. I got to find out a little bit more about the visa process, and everyone was so gracious. Also, if I may note, I had never been to nor ever expected to attend such a soiree. It was like parties you see in the movies. Food everywhere. Entertainment, drinking, laughing, hob knobbing. Surreal. And I was in the middle of it! I just owned it like I was something important, and that seemed to work because I had a great time. And I can't forget to mention that there were some pretty handsome men in uniform there, too. Too bad it looked like I was already on a date...unfortunate they didn't know it was my brother-in-law. The night did get a little long, but the view and beach at the hotel where it was held were beautiful. An experience I'll never forget. And I even helped someone get signed up for their absentee ballot!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home