Saturday, July 11, 2009

Trippy Thoughts Day 2

So, after a 16 hr flight, which was purely enjoyable, we landed in Dubai at about 7 pm their time. We just kept looking at each other saying, "I can't believe we are in the Middle East!". We walked through the airport and it was weird because it was like a ghost town, totally empty. It is a beautiful airport, totally modern and super clean.

Right away we noticed the signs written in Amaric and the signs that pointed to the prayer rooms.

That was weird, we'd never been in a Muslim country before, so this was a new sight. We got our luggage and said a prayer of thanks that all of our bags made it with us. Bruce was snapping pictures and taking some video, when a scary looking military guy stopped us and took our video camera and made Bruce erase everything he had taken there in the airport. Definitely a little scary and HUGE reminder that we were not in the US anymore!!! We got a taxi and went to our hotel. We had dinner that night at Chili's. I know, pretty exotic! They pretty much have all American restaurants there, the only difference was they don't serve alcohol. We went to bed since it was night time and we really couldn't see much.The next day, we got up, had breakfast in the hotel and then headed out to explore Dubai.

We first went to the Dubai mall. The mall was very nice, everything very high end, very clean, very modern. The only difference was the entire wing of the mall that sold burkas of every size, color and style you can imagine. Never seen that before! We walked outside the mall to look at all the amazing architecture and beautiful landscaping. We saw the tallest building in the world and again noticed how absolutely clean and modern everything was.

It was extremely hot, and actually a little bit humid, which I didn't expect. I mean, it's the desert, I thought it would be super dry!! Silly me! The landscape in Dubai can basically be summed up by saying the buildings were impressive, everything was super clean and modern, but the land was VERY brown and dusty and flat. Kind of like Vegas (minus the alcohol and gambling!)
That afternoon we were picked up in a Landcruiser to go on a desert safari. We were driven about 20 or 30 miles outside of the city, and just when I was thinking "where in the world are we going and was this really a good idea..." the driver flies off the road, over a sand dune and stops with 2 other cars. To be honest, I was sitting there thinking, "have we just been driven to our deaths??? Here we are, in the middle of NOWHERE in the Middle East, no one knows where we are, we don't know these guys from a whole in the wall..." While they were having a smoke, I was getting sweatly palms and wishing I had left a farewell note! Haha! Then, just as fast as we had stopped, we zoomed off toward the desert, up and over sand dunes as fast as that car would take us! I have never felt anything like that before! Sand was blowing past our windows and Sabrina and I were hanging on for dear life While we were white knuckling it in the back seat, Bruce was laughing and having a grand ol time in the front seat! This was right up his alley!!

We just whipped up and down sand dunes, left, right, up, down, it was CRAZY!!! There was a very sweet, older seikh couple in the car with us, and at one point, he says in his British accent, "Pull over man, I'm going to be sick!!!" Funny stuff! After about a half hour of this craziness we finally reach our destination, the absolute middle of NOTHING!! There was a huge tent type thing with tables and pillows for seating. This was where we were going to have dinner. There was a hooka lounge, a prayer tower, and small shops. Think the desert version of a Hawaiian luau. Before the sunset, we rode camels and took some amazing pictures.

Sabrina and I got henna on our hands,

and we watched a belly dance show. The food was ok at best. I really didn't even know what a lot of it was, so I didn't eat much. Neither did Sabrina. Bruce chowed down.

We drove back pretty late that night, that was pretty scary! Those drivers are CRAZY! Even on the roads, there were a couple of times Sabrina and I were scared to death! Bruce? He was asleep in the front seat! I was so thankful to make it back to our hotel that night! I felt like a survivor!! (Can you tell I'm not an experienced traveler???) But I do remember sitting there, in the middle of the Dubai desert, listening to the music, watching the sunset, thinking how amazed I was that we were there, and that tomorrow, we were off to Africa! Whose life was I living??? I don't do things like this! But, by the grace of God, here I was, and we were about to set off on what was going to be one of the greatest, most rewarding weeks of our lives!


Lindsey said...

So happy to hear these details of your trip! :) I feel nervous just thinking about the crazy driving etc. that you experienced! :)