"Not all those who wander are lost"

Dubai Part Deuce

I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

 

12/2

It’s UAE National Day which meant nothing to us besides we didn’t have to do anything.  We all decided to figure out the metro system and head to the beach.  There’s a metro stop right by Etisalat Academy (EA) but unfortunately it hasn’t been opened yet so we had to take taxis to the Al Rashidiya station which isn’t too bad in a group since taxis are so cheap here (this taxi ride is usually about 16 AED which with four people is just over a dollar per person).  The entire metro system here is brand new so everything is in perfect condition, clean, and looks nice.  On a side note, most things here especially in malls and buildings is immaculate because there are lots of people paid to clean all the time.

We got off the station we were told to and wandered in circles for a few minutes at the station until we decided since it was our second day in the country we should just get more cabs instead of trying to walk several miles to the beach.  The cabs brought us to the entrance to the park, which we found out later is the only spot we would have had to pay to get in the park.

We decided to get some food before the beach and went across the road and go food over there.  As we were contemplating our lunch options there was an Emirati discussing, not very happily, something with another guy.  I saw the guy start walking away and thought that was it but a minute later I noticed the Emirati start following him.  The pace quickened as the Emirati chased the guy down the sidewalk, through a parking lot, and down a side street.  Most of the time this wouldn’t have been anything special, but since they were both wearing sandals and running at a light jog it was hilarious.  Andy and I hesitated for a second wanting to help whoever needed it, but didn’t know who to help or want to get arrested for messing with an Emirati.  While I’m not sure if you actually can get arrested for messing with an Emirati, you basically can.  In any traffic accident the non-Emirati is always at fault.  If you hit a camel in a car (they all belong to Emiratis) it could end up costing $70,000.  Anyway, not knowing what to do we did nothing.  So we continued inside and split up to go to our restaurants of choice.  I had a delicious quinoa, beet, pumpkin, spinach, and sunflower seed salad.

We headed into the park and spent the afternoon hanging out on the beach and swimming.  When it started to get dark we tried to find out about fireworks we had heard about to no avail.  Not wanting to go back yet we walked down the main road and started seeing all sorts of crazy things.  The first was a group of kids riding bikes and running around in the road trying to get cars to stop in the road.  Then came cars with decals of the UAE colors and the Sheiks face.  Pretty soon the 6 lane road was stop and go traffic as people cruised up and down the road.  People were running from car to car spraying silly string in the windows.  Kids with roller blades skated the center line spraying everyone.   Trucks had been tuned to backfire so they sounded like gunshots.  And since this is Dubai it was done mostly in SUVs over $50,000.  There was even one Porche Cayenne stretch limo.  We hung out and watched this for quite a while before tracing our way back to the metro and back to EA.

Friday (12/3) was another day off since it’s the beginning of the Islamic weekend and classes still hadn’t started.  We all needed to do some shopping so we headed to the Deira City Centre Mall.  It was another enormous mall (Dubai is all about the huge malls).  We wondered around for a while and found out there was a performance at 6:30.  We waited around for it and watched the traditional Emirati dance, music, and weaving.  Carefour was our last stop so we could get food before we headed back to EA.  It’s similar to Wal-Mart only not as global or evil.  Our timing couldn’t have been worse: it was a holiday weekend at 7PM on the weekend.  It was a mob inside the store.  After fighting through trying to find food I gave up on half of it and bailed.  The most important lesson of the day and actually in all of international travel:  ALWAYS BRING PEANUT BUTTER.  They had some, but it was Jiff and wicked expensive.  I still had a bag that was 12lbs underweight which could have been my PB supply for 3 months.  Finding good peanut butter is now one of my highest priorities here.

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