Eliot here: been scarce on my entries lately as my means of entry ain't been cooperatin', so here's a whole truckload of thoughts and such:
Dubai is amazing and huge and crazy and wild, etc. This you know.
What you don't know:
We're staying with my parents, who currently live in Dubai. Living with the folks has been really great (thanks again, M&D) - Drew and I get up pretty early here, like around 5:30-6am (when you listen out the window to hear the mosques pouring out the first call to prayer of the day), make tea and figure out what the day is going to be like. Been truly nice to have a peaceful, quiet, homey place to get over jet lag and adjust to opposite-world time zone. I hit the bed every night and immediately sack-the-funk-out. I'll often wake up a few times during the night to hear the screeching of tires on a Range Rover or Prado, or sometimes I'll wake from a "vivid" dream to look out at the city sleeping and hear just the buzzing of electric lamps and insects. Then when the mist dissipates and the cars start moving and the Indian guys bicycle by and the city comes alive, so then do you. It's pretty great, actually: I look forward to sleeping and waking up as a means of finding peace amid the fracas that the day supplies.
The Fracas: we've been visiting the various amazing sights that the city has to offer, from the tallest building in the world to simpler historical bits like the Dubai museum. Amid the forceful slap-in-the-face of amazement and wonder the city has to offer, I've been finding that simple things tend to stick with me just as much, if not more so, than the greater things. EXAMPLE: We popped over to the neighborhood sheesha (hookah) joint the other night and sat out on the sidewalk, had mint tea and puffed like a caterpillar. We people-watched as many Emirati youths piled in via their Range Rovers and grouped around us at tables to smoke sheesha and hang out. One large group of kids looked about 19 or so, and though they were all speaking Arabic, I could tell I had had that same conversation with my friends when I was 19, too. It was funny and true: despite the tall buildings, enormous malls, sprawling civilization and 190 different nationalities, I still felt an immediate sense of similarity and camaraderie with the offspring of this ancient culture. Pretty cool - thanks, travel!
Jet lag sucks. I sleep at weird times of the day, feel like a total sloth and then get bursts of energy out of nowhere. But you know what helps jet lag? WATER SLIDES!!! Wild Wadi, i.e. Arabian Schlitterbahn, was a total kick today. Good for the body and the soul. We're getting this overdose of luxury and endless personal service right as we're about to hop 3 hours over and find ourselves sleeping in a tent on the side of the road in India. Whiplash, but it has been a pleasure, and will no doubt crank the juice on our perspective-o-meter for this trip. For now, we're enjoying it. It's an interesting time to be alive, and Dubai is an interesting place to be alive.
We got tomorrow left here, then Thursday we ship out to Mumbai for the start to India. I'm truly excited to get started and get acclimated - I remarked to Drew today that I am already dreading the return at the end of the trip, as my travel "drug" will be no more. Interesting.
Tomorrow, we'll pop inland to the glorious desert and visit Al Ain and the highest peak in the Emirates, Jebel Hafeet. The view is supposed to be gorgeous and the drive dramatic. And if all else fails, we can hang out with some camels. They're known to wander around near the highways out in the open sections of the emirates. My dad's office used to have a heard that hung around, but the recent construction activity has booted them off to more remote pastures. Bummer.
I could like here, I think - for a year, maybe. It's like Las Vegas, and in such can be truly tiring and exhaustive. But, not to be descounted, the place is doing it's darndest to set a name for itself, and for cultural overload and exposure, one can't really find a better value. But what do I know? It could all be a mirage, sprouted up a few years ago and gone as quickly. Whatever the case, it's pretty cool to be here now. Yep.