This place is living up to everything I expected.... minus the cars. Although I have seen pleanty of porches. Where i'm staying is on the 21st floor of a building which is the oldest in the dubai marina. It's four years old!!. From the front we're looking towards the ocean, which is about 300 m away. Theres a bunch of towers at least 50 stories high, there's 47 of them stretched over 1.5 km. The worlds biggest building was no the way here and the worlds biggest man made something is around this corner and around that corner. 4 k's down the road is the second biggest mall in dubai. It has a ski slope. I want to live here so bad!!
This place is awesome. Last night I got in at about 1000 oclock local time. Following the hoardes of passengers at Dubai international airport I at one point walked under a sign that had an arrow pointing left and beside was written gates 1 - 145 and the sign next to it had an arrow pointed right and was written gates 146-301. Its unreal. I got past imigration no problems,
I thought i'd give my basic arabic a crack, I said saalam, a common greeting that i'm sure I know how to say properly. The bloke behind the counter just looked at me and proceeded to speek to me only in English. The whole airport cracked me up. Most people were dressed in the local garbb but I still get the feeling i'm at a fancy dress party. After grabbing my pack I strolled through customs and out the front door and into the heat. My god, the Heat!! waving in my direction was a tall blond bloke chomping on a durry. With my day bag rested on my pack I turned round to see who he was waving at, there was no one there. I turned back and he was laughing at me.
I'm staying for the next few nights on the couch of a german couple. I found the place through a internet site called couchsurfers.org this type of thing is goingg to save me stacks of money, time and effort. It was the bloke, alex, who was waving at me from outside.
We jumped in his car and after my initial confusion as to why he was heading to the passenger side I realised that it wasn not thhe passenger side but the drivers side. I guess i'm going to have to get used to this.
On the ride home he explained everything we went past and then he showed me around there place. Their appartment is on the 21st floor of a the Al-Majara 2 building on the marina about 200m from the beach. The place is one of 2 buildings with a massive water feature, that I thought was a pool, a gym and is on the marina right beside the dubai yacht club hence the water to the front of the building is full of yachts ranging from 40 feet upto god knows what. These i'm assured are the small ones as the big ones don't fit this far down.
We then sat out on his ballcony looking over the dessert drinking beer, as ze germans do, until about 2am. Its gonna be fantastic, he's got all this stuff planned and is being fantastically helpful. Cant wait to get out there.
I woke up this morning to Svenja, getting ready for work she has the early starts. I was still in a daze so I just left her to it and went back to sleep. I woke up an hour later at about 7 and couldn't get back to sleep. I haven't slept for more then 5hours straight since I started travelling as I'm just too excited about it, as soon as I've had a tiny bit of rest I wake and start thinking and have to get up and do something.
I ended up going to check out the gym. It's fantastic, huge with a big view of the yacht club and the water. All the treadmills and the bikes are pressed up against the glass and the weights machines sit behind. After a good hour in there I headed back to what I thought was our building. I strolled through the foyer, said hey to the attendant and into the lifts. Upon looking for the 21 button I realised there was only 7. I figured it must have been a service lift. I checked the other 2 lifts and they too only went upto 7. Maybe this side of the building only goes up 7 stories and there's more elevators somewhere else. I walked back to the foyer and asked how to get to level 21. He looked at me and asked which building. Eventually he showed me to my building and I was able to find the lifts and get back to the appartment.
After showering I went down to try and find the supermarket in the marina mall which was a lazy 300m from our building. Mind u 300 meters into the dheat I was almost dripping and couldn't welcom the AC of the mall any more. Once inside I wandered around for a bit. It's full of luxury shops and cafe's yet it was empty, I guess it was still emply. I couldn't find a supermarket so I headed to the info desk to look at the map. Unfortunately for me supermarkets on this side of the planet apparently aren't called safeway or coles. So the map was of no assistance. As a last resort I ended up asking a lady with a pram where a supermarked was. In the thickest pome accent i'd ever heard she directed me to a wiatrose less then 30 m away.
I grabbed a few days food from waitrose, everything but dinner to last me till I leave for 40Dhs, about 12AUD. And headed back to the appartment. I was starving and was pretty focussed on getting back when I crossed a road at great speed looking to my right. It was clear not a car to be seen. Then all of a sudden a car came hooking round the corner on what to me is still the wrong side of the road and nearly collected me, it was pretty close and he wasn't driving slowly either.
Alex finished a meeting at 11 and came via the appartment to grab me, we jumped in his sweet mustang a great car which cost him the equivillent of 1300AUD. He took off dodging the BMW's and Mercs, he's not a bad driver and the car does it justice. The only problem was the AC isn't working in and by the time we got to the mall of the emerites it was pretty toasty.
.I'm sitting in the mall of the emirates. This place is huge, its got a ski slope, and makes chaddy or highhpoint look tiny. Browsing this whole place would take all day, and a black mastercard. It reminds me of chapel street back home. All the Beautiful people in heaps of make up and a lazy 800 doller casual dress. And i'm walking round in shorts a t and thongs, mind u thats what most the blokes who aren't business men are wearing aswell.
This place is off tap. It is just a giant construction site. The buildings are massive and the extravagence is unspeakable. At the moment i'm on a bus tour. Its been going since 1330 and i've still got another couple of hours at least to go.
We started at the Mall of the Emirates, went to the dubai mall where the burj dubai is, the largest building in the world. Standing at a lazy 800 and something metres it can also have a couple of 100 more metres chucked on top if they feel like it. It was then onoto the Festical city, another mall, then too Deira city centre and to Wafi Mall. Here I swapped buses onto another route which goes through the whole of old delhi and through the centre hub.
We've been past Dubai creek, Al Fadi Fort the Dubai museam and the dubai old souk. It was then past sheikh saiid al maktoum house and under dubai creek. Dubai creek is anything but a creek. I thought alex was making a joke last night when he mentioned its name as we crossed the 200 or so odd metre wide water feature. Alex commented that this is probably the only natural thing in Dubai.
On the other side of the 'Creek' we were at the gold souk.
Yesterday finished off really well. The end of the tour wasn't that exciting and I was a bit over it considering I'd been on the bus for like 4 hours. It finished going down the length of Jameira Beach. I had no idea how long Dubai was. For me the tour finished at the Atlantis. The massive hotel at the end of the palm islands. It looks so cool, apparently it has a massive massive fish tank with dolfins, sharks, the whole works. From here I was planning on walking back to the appartment, as on the map it looked pretty close. However when I got out there I couldn't even see the shoreline through the haze and it was only half way so I ended up catching a taxi.
The taxi was heaps of fun. He was a yemini bloke, and I spent the wholee time talking, well trying to talk to him in arabic. That was good, desptie most of the time we spent laughing at my poor, poor diction.
Last night was so much fun. I was feeling absolutely dead, and even fell asleep on the couch from about 8 until 9. But at about 9 a couple of Alex and Svenja friends turned up. The plan was to have a barbie and a few drinks and then head down too the local pub.
I'm sitting out by the pool now with svenja. Its fantastic. It's surorounded by beautiful people, the suns out, lifes good.
Last night 3 of Alex and svenja's friendss came over. It was an absolute crack up. In the room was myself 2 germans, a saudi, a palestinian and an Irishman. It was a crack up. The whole time I just thought people were having a lend of me. The Saudi Taarek had brought his camera over, its some fancy slr thing, and every time I looked over he was laying on the ground or propping it up against a wall. I got my first real taste of the whole lost in translation thing two. I never realised how hard my name would be to pronounce. I think i'll probably just go with 'lock' from now on, keep it simple.
We sat around, me again trying, poorly, to smash out some arabic to try and impress the palestinian girl. I'm pretty sure it didn't work at around 0030 myself alex and nathan got in Taarek's car and went to pick up another one of Alex's friends. This bloke Murry, was from sydnedy so we were beginning to out number the rest of them. We went down to there local It's just like any pub in australia except it was full of, well not Australians. We sat at a table and grabbed some beers. Murry put gave the waiter his credit card and we were into it. I didn't pay for a drink last night it was great. I guess if i'm ever on a salary and I end up playing darts with some back packer i'll reciprocate the favoiur. We sat around until 3 oclock when the bar was closing playing pool and drinking beer. To finish it off Murry ordered aa round of what he calls a bullfrog, which is a blue concuction of god knows what. And followed it up with a ......... the only difference being that this one was black not blue.
We grabbed a cab and went back to Nathan's place, who lives across the road from Alex. That Place was awesome to. After walking over the moat on a glass bridge we went up to his flat and sat out on his balcony for another couple of hours drinking jack and 7 up. Alex was was starting to look a little under the weather so we left at around 4 and went back to the flat. I'm hoping tonight to see a bit more of a wild dubai. I'll see what Alex is upto.
Yesterday finished up pretty quietly, muchly dictated by the hangover combined with the remnants of Delhi Belli. I got up late morning and went and sat down at the pool with Svenja. It was hot down there and the pool was freezing, finding a balance was pretty difficult. We lay around for a bit and eventually alex joined us, looking very sorry for himself I might add.
After a quick lunch of hot dogs we jumped in the car and headed down to Dubai creek. We caught an Abra, which is pretty much a floating piece of wood with an engine, across the creek. The locals drive these things by standing above the drivers seat and steering with there feet. Once on the other side we walked upto a fresh juice bar that alex had been raving about. Once there delli belli was desperately shouting at me to find a toilet. I did, this one was worse then the one in Malaysia. Thank god I had a packet of tissues in my bag, otherwise I would have had to adopt the local tradition of left hand madness. After leaving that public toilet absolutely dripping in sweat I sat with Alex and Svenja and enjoyed a pineapple juice which I shortly followed with a watermelon juice.
We were all feeling pretty sorry for ourselves at this stage. So after getting the energy to stand up we grabbed an abra back to the otherside of the shore and walked back to the car through all the local markets. Walking with Svenja a tall attractive blond meant that for the first time since I left Australia I didn't feel like everyone was looking at me. As it was quite evident that all eyes were focussed on her.
Next stop was the Dubai mall, which we drove to going past Sheikh Mo's house. Svenja was saying her company decided it was too dangerous to service the air conditioning there because of the Cheetas and crocodiles they found roaming around the place.
The dubai mall is the biggest in the world, It's located beside the worlds biggest building the burj dubai and is next to the worlds biggest fountain, which shoots water a lazy 180m high. This place dwarfed the mall of the emirates, yet it couldn't match the ski slope. This mall had a ice skating rink and a massive fish tank. The front panel of thiss pish tank is the worlds singe biggest piece of pyrex glass. The tank was full of sharks stingrays and hundreds of fish. You can even go scuba diving in there if you wish.
We walked around the mall for ages and after another stop at the toilet we went to the food court. Again this place was massive. After a quick feed it was back to the fountain to watch the 6 oclock show. We grabbed a coffee, and another shot to the toilet (thanks delhi belly) and went back outside. 6 came and went and Alex ze german started to get quite frustrated. He's a crack up, He's the fussiest person in the world out side the army i've met when it comes to timings. Turned out the show had been cancelled due to the wind. I guess 180 m up the trajectory can be effeccted to a fair degree by a light breeze, and the mass of the water is probably fairly significant too I guess.
We left, after a quick fight with the informaation about there being no announcement to the cancellation and came back to the appartment. We lazed around all night and grabbed subway from the Marina mall for dinner. They have one here called a chicken Tikka sub. Fantastic, tastes great. It was good to get a decent sleep last night. I'm going to need it, I'm on a plane all night tonight and then the tour starts tomorrow. Cant wait!!
Todays been the hottest by far. Walking from the aircon out side and a haze goes over your face as your sun glasses fog up. It was 46 degrees here today, and a bit more humid then the other days.
I got up early, I had a heap of stuff to do, with organising my work in Austria etc. Once i'd done that I went over to the marina mall to try and call the bank in australia. It sucks i've got a card which is free to call. But you cant call anything with out putting a phone card in the damn machine, and it was only 800 so nothing was open. Slightly annoyed off I headed back to the apartment and went to they gym. That got me happy again and by the time I got back to the apartment Alex was up and almost ready to head off.
We jumped in Alex's Aircon-less mustang and first headed to swap it for Henry, Svenja's car. We spent the next 4 hours driving around the dessert. It's fantastic. We got out at one point and stepped up some of the dunes. I was really surprised at show hard they were, but then I stepped onto the downwind side of the dune and my foot immediately sunk in past my ankle. One the way back we went via the Burj al Arab, the tallest hotel in the world, and drove along a couple of beaches. This place is absolutely space age.
I want to live here so bad. Its off the planet. So many nice cars, so many classy people, no hippies.
I'm about to Leave Dubai. But i'll be back for sure. I'm sitting at gate 126 of 360 its rediculous. I've had such an awesome time here. Everything just kicks ass.
This evening finished off fairly relaxed. Another 2 of Alex and Svenja's friends came over. A Yank from kentucky called Randy and a Jordanian called zaeyeb, I think, This guy iis one of the biggest blokes I've ever seen. Yet he has the gentleist softest voice i've eer heard on a bloke, It's really quite funny.
We had an awesome Barbie, I had 2 pieces of steak and a chicken breast, well over half a kilo of meat. I was so full but I didn't want to seem rude and say no. After that Alex took me to the airport. I could have swarn I was leaving from terminal 2, so we drove all the way to the far side of the airport. I was wrong, so finally after another 15 minutes drive we were at the terminal I was supposed to be at.
Check in was no probs and passport control was a breeze, I just cant believe the size of this place!!
I'm sitting in the kingdom of Bahrain international airport. I thought I was going to be sitting here for a lot longer with just my day bag while my pack went onto Istanbul without me. Apparently they stuffed up the business class seating and there we oone too many people then there was seats, and do you reckon one of the 16 arrogant arabs in Business class could suck it up and just sit in the economy class?? No the Idealists decided to make a massive deal out of it and as a result we didn't taked off until an hour after I sat in my seat. That wasn't too bad but getting to Bahrain late meant that we clashed with some "VIP activity" and had to circle Bahrain for almost another hour.
The flight landed 2 minutes after my connecting flight to istanbul was supposed to start boarding. I got up super fast to try and get to the front of the plane quicker so I could run to my terminal. I got to the front of the plane pretty quickly only to be greeted by a bus at the bottom of a stairway. I jumped on that and after 10 minutes of waiting for people to stuff around we began the 10 minute drive back to the terminal. Once back there myself and an assortment of other passengers started running, when we weren't in quees that is. I got through the screening and ran upto the gate where we are taking up for. It had been delayed thank god and are just starting to board now.
Last nights plane rides were a shemozzle to say the least.What cracked me up the most was sitting in Dubai waiting to board the crew came past. There were 3 or 4 gorgeous petite arabian girls dressed in a version of the local garb and following them was the pilot. This pilot was the Arab Ron Jermemy if i've ever seen it. He was walking along with his fat, and I assume hairy, gut, with a big sleezy grin on his face while his eyes darted from hostess to hostess. What fun he must be to fly with.
Apart from the delay the flight wasn't to bad, I even got I reckon half an hour sleep in there somewhere between the arabs whinging and the babies crying. The next flight I half dozed the whole way and I reckon I got the equivellant of 3 hours sleep. I didn't eat though, which I wish I had of, free food, cant get enough of it