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See ya UAE

Yesterday was my last day in the UAE. In Abu Dhabi-I took a walk along the Corniche-a giant walkway along the waterfront-for two hours in the morning. And then I called a taxi for the bus station. The bus ride would be about 2 hours to the Dubai airport. (where I could find the cheapest flight to Muscat, Oman). By the time I got here-I had 7 hours to kill. Which is good, i was able to book a flight to Egypt out of Oman, because I want to go there, and I saw that to gain entrance to Oman, I needed to show a return flight or continuing travel. I wanted to print out this proof-and started to panic because I couldn't find an internet cafe to print it out. An airport representative directed me to a suite of airline offices on the second floor. The only office that was occupied was someone who worked with Saudia airlines, and they helped me out.

Dubai is like no city I have ever seen before. Although there are no flying cars, the city looks like it is either (A) From the Jetsons, or (B) From Sim City, developed by some computer nerd playing all day in his basement.
There are futuristic buildings upon futuristic buildings. Many buildings seem like they just sprout out of the middle of the desert. A Metro system which is the longest driverless system in the world. Gigantic malls (one with a gigantic ice skating rink, another with a ski slope), with more American chains then there are in America. In addition to the usual Mcdonalds, Burger Kings, KFC's Wendys and Starbucks, I also found Hardees, Popeyes, Sbarros, Dennys, California Pizza Kitchen, Chillis, Tgi Fridays, Red Lobster, Texas Roadhouse, etc, etc. Ditto for stores, Of course there was The Gap-but also Bath and Body Works, Tiffanys, Bloomingdales, Modells Sporting Goods, etc.
The skys we're gray the first two days I was here, -which was disturbing because I pictured the desert being comprised of endless summer days-the remaining 12 days, however-we're exactly like that. Not a single cloud anywhere-just hot, unrelenting sun. It even started to get tiring there was so much sun.
Abu Dhabi isn't quite as futuristic as Dubai-it looks more like a New York or other city. The tallest building here is only 99 stories tall. It did feature the largest indoor theme park in the world-called Ferrari World. Everything here is the largest, tallest, biggest and newest.


All of the service workers (At least all I met) we're from either the Philipines, Pakistan, and other African nations. That includes the tour guides, bus dirvers,taxi drivers, etc. It's hard to find many natives. What is surprising is that despite all of the new construction (in Dubai, for example, supposidly a new largest mall in the world is being built, and a new tallest building in the world-although they already have both), there is a lot of unemployment. When I bought dinner last night in the food court of a mall-someone dropped off their resume. He was a grown man, and I could see his resume had his picture on it. I asked the manager, and he mentioned there there was a lot of unemployment over the past few years, and even for cashiers-there are so many people availalble who have cashier experience there is no need to hire someone without experience.


Because it's difficult to meet someone who was actually born and raised in the UAE (someone who will talk to me anyway)-it is hard to get a sense of the place.

Right now, I am waiting for the plane to Muscat, Oman. I am in the Dubai airport-supposidly one of the most modern airports in the world. I got here 7 hours early from Abu Dhabi-and i found two things

(1) I couldn't check into my flight until 3 hours before, and there are very few places to eat and drink outside security. I spent a lot of that time at a Starbucks, which was one of the few places outside.
(2) There are digital signs trumpeting the fact that the airport has the best Wifi in the world. Despite the fact I am writing this offline because the wifi is too weak.

Posted by DavidPearlman 10:14 Archived in United Arab Emirates

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