Cali to Dubai, Day One
In short, I've decided to tell the story of our experience in Dubai. I hope it shares our life events with family, friends, and those who may just be curious about living abroad for the first time.
16 hour flight from SFO to DXB. 7 bags, 2 carry-ons. A middle-aged Indian lady in a baby blue scarf took a keen liking to Emaan, and by hour 6 was resting an elbow on her knee as she fell asleep. An older gentleman stood by my seat staring blankly across the aisle. I glanced up confusingly from my book two or three times to see why he was standing there and what he was looking at. I still don't know. A middle-aged white guy dressed mostly in grey and pink spoke loudly to his neighbors about places he's visited. I turned up my headphones but between songs eavesdropped a conversation about Mezcal and am now convinced this needs to be my next alcoholic wave. He described it as "smokey with great flavor, none of those chemicals like tequila, and the best kind of buzz he ever had". Near the lavatory it was difficult to tell if some people were in line or just standing up. I waited behind a man for 5 minutes before I realized he was just standing in the line.
Once on the ground, we were met by Emaan's sister Heidi and cousin Aaser. Great people. Punctual People. And after a 16 hour flight, my favorite people. They offered us better hospitality than Kathy Bates in Misery. We piled the luggage in the two separate cars as Aaser, Emaan's cousin, made a remark about dead bodies. He's a funny person and I often imagine if he's this witty in his second language, how funny is he in his first? On our last visit, his 4-year-old nephew had an ice cream mustache and Aaser asked him if was in the Cartel!
The contrast of dark and light in Dubai is really something to see. The city looks lit but feels dark. Almost as if the darkness is trying to consume the light, sort of like a David Fincher show or film (House of Cards / The Social Network). We get to Heidi's, drop bags, and head to Shake Shack, a slightly overpriced burger joint on the marina where we paid about $50 USD for 3 meals and two shakes. There's one in Vegas and L.A. for my west coast folks, and there's usually a line long as the DMV. I can do Smokehouse in Berkeley and be thrilled.
We gazed at the half-constructed ferris wheel across the gulf which will be the largest in the world once complete, but for now looks like the lower half of two Iron Giants stopped mid-stride. The site at night sort of resembles the energy plant in Stranger Things. (Side: If you like 80's sci-fi do yourself a favor and check out that masterpiece on Netflix. Most of the actors have already been signed to other gigs. Which is impressive since the median age of the cast is 10.)
We hopped back to the house and had 2 (or three) glasses of South African wine with Nina and Rob, Heidi's Serbian roommate and her dude. Rob is from South Africa, and put us up on the fact that the same $60 (USD) bottle in Dubai costs $10 back home. A tough lesson in economics for a proud scrooge such as myself and I didn't even buy the bottle. The ladies talked bloggers and cosmetics, Rob and I listened, checked our phones, smiled, listened. About 12:30am, we decided Monday wasn't the weekend, and started showers, dishes, inflating mattresses, and digging clothes out of suitcases. Nina asked, "How does it feel to move to Dubai?"
To my friends, family and soon-to-be-friends back home...I don't know, but we'll find out together.
- Positive Thoughts