Dubai, UAE

 

 

Joyce and I both arrived in Dubai International on Sunday the 15th. I flew from Vilanculos, Mozambique via Johannesburg and Joyce flew from Vancouver via Toronto. There are two international arrival terminals, which we didn’t anticipate in our “meeting up” plans. My flight was supposed to arrive at 7:30 pm which it did. Joyce’s was supposed to arrive at 7:50 pm which it didn’t. Her flight arrived an hour earlier than scheduled and she discovered, as I did upon arrival that we arrived at different terminals. Not knowing about her early arrival I headed over to Terminal 1 to meet her. Being early, Joyce headed over to Terminal 3 to meet me. We must have missed each other by minutes. I get to T1 and don’t see her but see her flight arrived early. Damn. Is she still in Customs?  So I wait a bit, see a couple of Air Canada flight attendants and they assure me she must still be inside but why don’t you just text or phone her? Well, because she has the phone, I don’t but I do have my iPad. I log onto the free airport wi-fi and send her a text and immediately she has texted me to tell me she is waiting for me in T3! Well, it was 35+ degrees outside and humid and I’m already sweating profusely from the trip between terminals so I catch the shuttle back to T3, we meet and have a very happy but sweaty embrace. I’m not sure what the moral of the story is here other than it is good to have free wifi when only one person has a phone and one has an iPad and probably a good idea to see how many international arrival terminals an airport has.

The next day we realized we haven’t left ourselves much time to plan our trip to Oman and Iran so we added an extra day and now planned on leaving the 19th to Oman instead of the 18th. Wishful thinking!

The morning after our arrival we had our expensive (more to follow on expensive) mediocre buffet breakfast and head out to Old Dubai using the nearby and very nice Metro train. All is good. We visit the spice market, have a (cheap) lunch, take a water taxi across the canal and metro back to our hotel. Now we still don’t have any concrete Oman plans but it must be easy to arrange through a travel agency which we will find and we will arrange and there are two agencies in Emirates Mall. Next day, Emirates Mall and useless travel agencies.

Through some further research we have a very big concern about our trip to Oman. We’ve travelled to Israel and although we do not have an a Israeli stamp in our passports we have Jordanian customs departure stamps from Aqaba, Jordan which to the discerning customs eye in Oman means we have probably travelled to Israel, the Satan country. We could possibly be denied entry into Oman because of this but we decided we will go anyway but we need another day to get our stuff in order.

So, after a great evening at a local nightclub/ bar we decide we need to add another night to get this all organized. Now what follows is really funny, stupid, and quite bizarre.

Feeling good because we think we found a nice hotel in Muscat (just airfare and stuff to look after now) and our bar and food bill was only $150.00 instead of the $180.00 the night before, we approach our hotel front desk and ask for another night. She looks at her computer and tells us there are no rooms available. Oh that is not good. No problem she says, check “Booking.com”, they may have rooms available. WTF! What do you mean, check booking.com? Well, we don’t have access to rooms in our hotel but they might. What???? So, I have my iPad in front of me and I check booking.com and there are rooms available. Now this is really crazy and we are not happy and I make it known. Okay, let me call the Manager she says. Long story short, she booked another night for us. Booking.com is taking over hotel bookings around the world.

Dubai

 

 

 

 

 

Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Really, what is so nice about this place? People love living here but you really can’t walk anywhere because it is too hot and too spread out. Dubai is freeways, construction, no green space, construction, sand and more construction and lots of big opulent shopping malls. I think it is a works in progress but I also think it is working to build an image for what will be a “post oil” time. They are smart to do this but to me it looks like a huge unsustainable bubble. Abu Dhabi is greener than Dubai probably because it is the Capital and possibly because it is more established than Dubai but like Dubai there doesn’t seem to be a heart other than the very beautiful Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

In both cities the building architecture is unique and beautiful. Small little clusters randomly placed in the desert. Very modern and space aged. They have the “biggest this and biggest that” but that is all. Biggest does not mean best. I think we are very spoiled living in Vancouver and Canada in general.

Abu Dhabi,  Sheikh Zayed Mosque