Thursday, March 24, 2011

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Before I talk about Dubai, I must mention a bit about the Doha Airport in Qatar, our lay-over point in flying from London to Dubai. The airport is very large, modern and comfortable. As with most airports in the Middle East there is a mosque in the airport. (Actually two mosques, one for men and one for women.) We have been to large mosques in Casablanca and they have large washing facilities for hands, face and feet before the prayers. In the airport the closest they have is the men's room. In the couple times I used it (we were there for 5 hours) there were men washing in the sink of the hands and face. The last time in there, there was a gentleman washing his feet in the sink. No foot baths in the mens room!

We arrived in Dubai early Wednesday morning about 3:00 AM and after going through immigration and customs we got a cab to the hotel. Arrived there about 4:30 AM after the cab driver had to stop at another hotel to find directions to our hotel. It is a small (and I mean small) hotel inside a cultural center with only six rooms. Different and very nice. It was originally the home of the grandfather of the current ruler of the UAE. Because we had been travelling all day and night we were tired and just as we crawled into bed at 5:00 AM the calls for prayer from about a half dozen mosques started, all with loud speakers. We have found that in Dubai a wake up call is not necessary.

Both Wednesday and Thursday we travelled all over the city in the "Big Red Buses" and saw quite a bit of Dubai. There is construction everywhere on office buildings, hotels, shopping centers, entertainment centers, etc. There is a lot of money in Dubai and have found that a large parts of the construction is being done by different members of the royal family. Although the capital of the UAE is Abu Dabi, the ruling family lives in Dubai. More about Dubai after we get on the ship. It is now 6:50 AM on Friday morning.

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