Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 13

Well... this is it. Our last day in Dubai. I slept in this morning, which was really nice. In fact, the whole day was pretty laid back. Not too much to worry about, so it was a nice relaxing day. Mariella and Leonard left early this morning to go on one last trip with Jamie, Mary Jane and some other students. It was optional and you had to pay for it, but they drove across the UAE to the Oman border to a small town called Al Ain. It's an oasis town where the ruling family hails from. I am sick of sitting on a tour bus and didn't want to spend the time or money, so i didn't go. Only a few actually did, and from talking to Leonard and Mariella afterward, it was totally lame and took all day. But i am getting ahead of myself. My morning was pretty laid back and lazy. I talked to Jenn on skype this morning for a bit and worked on getting my laundry done and started folding clothes and packing up my bags. Those of us who didn't go to Al Ain met up around noon and made plans for the day.

Danielle, Marisol, Tatiana, Josie and i all headed down to the JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) to the beach. It's the beach where the wave runner races were going on about a week ago when we came here. On the way down there we passed "the twisted building", or at least that's what people have called it. It's still under construction, but pretty sweet looking. They rotate the entire building by one degree every floor they go up, so the whole building looks like a spiral. Pretty neat stuff. Never a dull place, this Dubai. Our cabbie was pretty crazy (again), but that's to be expected at this point. He was speaking English, but we couldn't understand a word he said. We told him to take us to JBR and he said something long and drawn out to me, and all i could say in return was, "i have no idea what you're saying right now." It happened the whole car ride too. I would ask something or say something, he would respond with a drawn out answer of gibberish, and i would just look at him afterward and say, "i can't understand anything you're saying to me." He was a nice guy though, and he got us where we needed to go, so that's all that matters i suppose. We had seen a cool looking restaurant called Bo House that we wanted to eat at, cuz it looks like it's called "Ho House". The inside was nice, but we ended up sitting outside and enjoying the warm sun and view of the beach. The food was really good too. Definitely a place i would come back to if i ever make it back to Dubai, and hopefully for breakfast next time. It seems like this place is the breakfast kind of place, but we got here too late to order breakfast food. Khalid came down to meet us while we were eating and we walked down to the beach after and hung out for a really long time. It was a nice relaxing day. I got in the water a few more times and looked for sea shells, and we all just kinda hung out on the beach and talked a while and got some sun. There were constant streams of helicopters coming out over the gulf and people would jump from them and parachute down to a little island by the palm. We watched them jumping out and slowly gliding down just to go back up again for hours. I think i'd like to do that if i ever come back here. It looks kind of scary though. you're not that high up in the air to start with, and some of the maneuvers they were pulling look tough.

Around 4:00 or so, Khalid drove us back to the Academy where i took a shower and finished packing up all my stuff. We told Khalid he had to come to dinner with us tonight since Daisy and Hana were gone and the dinner was already covered. He asked if that would be ok, and we cleared it with Mary Jane and Jamie who said it would be fine. So he met up with us for the evening and we all piled on another tour bus and drove down to the creek where they have some old dhows that have been turned into floating restaurants. The food being served was (you guessed it) buffet style Arabic food. Not exactly what i was hoping for on my last night, but it was already covered in our program fee so i ate. The boat was pretty cool. The inside of the boat was set up as a restaurant with the buffet at one end and the tables in the middle. On top of the boat was a deck where you could chill afterward and watch the passing buildings as the boat floated out into the creek, down to the mouth of the gulf, turned around and came back. It was pretty neat. Something i'd do again (as long as i wasn't already so sick of the food). It was cool to see the old part of the city at night downtown when all the crowds had left and it was more vacant and open. The lights of the building were all lit up and reflected on the creek. It was really relaxing and comfortable. I even dosed off for a bit on the top deck. Khalid and i talked for a long time, mostly about movies and what not. He has some good tastes in films, and he watches a lot of them since he wants to go into the film industry.

We headed back to the Academy after dinner and said good bye to Khalid for the last time (almost...) and everyone finished packing up and taking care of loose ends. I skyped with Jenn for the last time, packed up my computer and got everything else in order and went out by the pool and waited with everyone else for the tour bus. The stupid thing about the tour buses is that they were always late, the entire trip, by at least 15 minutes or more. But the tour bus this time dropped us off and left when they knew they had to pick us back up a half hour after they dropped us off. So i don't know why they didn't just stay and wait. So anyway, long story short, they didn't come and get us. Mary Jane was calling them and we were worried we would miss our flights, so after 30 mins of waiting, we just walked down to the corner to get into some cabs. We needed to get a lot of them since we had at least 10 people with all their luggage, and we were worried we wouldn't make it on time, when guess who comes barrelling around the corner in his Suburban... Khalid pulled up and loaded a ton of people and luggage in his car. I guess Danielle had been texting him and told him the situation and he came right over to help out. Seriously, this dude is such a stud. We were able to pile everyone into his Suburban and just needed one taxi to get the rest of us to the airport. We all made it onto the flight with no problems. Mary Jane finally heard back from Alpha Tours, who told her their bus got into a wreck and that's why he was late. I think it was just a way of covering for their mistake, but it didn't matter at this point. We were already at the airport. It was a 2:35 AM flight, and the airport was PACKED. They say this is their busy time here. It took a while to get through security. One thing i noticed is that we walked through 3 metal detector and bag screening/x-raying areas. One just to get into the airport, one to get into the terminals, and one to get into the gate your plane departs from. Pretty intense. I blew all the rest of my dirhams on candy in the duty free shop, including on a camel milk chocolate bar for Jenn, and then went to my gate. Tomorrow we will be in London for a while, and i will be back home on Sunday night.

It's been an amazing trip, one i won't soon forget. My final thoughts about this place are only positive. This would be a really neat place to live for a while. Not somewhere i want to be permanently, but a neat atmosphere none the less. When am disgustingly rich and if i like you by then, maybe i'll bring you back here with me and Jenn. Anyone who gets a chance to come here before then though, i would highly recommend it.