"Not all those who wander are lost"

Ugly Sweaters & Huge Malls

I don’t suffer from insanity; I enjoy every minute of it.

-Unknown

 

12/17

Once back at EA I started investigating the tickets for the Fifa Club World Cup.  Unfortunately they were completely sold out.  I had been checking every day and every other time I could still buy 12 tickets all sitting together, but I had waited so long trying to get the RIT Dubai kids together since 8 of them signed up that they were gone.  None of this three strikes stuff.  They’ve now bailed on Wild Wadi and this so I’m not going to be organizing anything else with them.  Fortunately the ticket crisis was received well by the group who even were up for still going to Abu Dhabi until I found out we didn’t have to pay any kind of deposit for the bus.

Our “party” turned out to only be our study abroad group, but was none the less a good time.  I had seen great ugly sweaters the week before at Carrefour and of course had to get one.  I was please to see that most people had found some kinda ugly sweater too.  The pot luck even worked out and we even had hot chocolate.  We played games, listened to christmas music, and best of all watched The Grinch.  Despite it only being a few days away it’s hard to imagine that it’s almost christmas or even that it’s winter.  This is the first year I’ve been anywhere other than Maine and I have to say, christmas just doesn’t exist without snow.  None the less, good times were had by all.

 

12/18

For the first time since I arrived in Dubai I slept until I woke up.  No cell phone, no watch, no alarms.  I made it to 11AM, but that was still only 7 hours since I went to bed at 4AM.  I enjoyed the lack of worries and hung out for a bit.  We discussed going to the textile souk and the Dubai Museum, but ended up going to the Mall of Dubai instead.  For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Dubai Mall it’s really not much of a mall.  Instead it’s several small universes contained in a single building.  It has an arcade with rides, an outdoor street inside, a bowling ally, a mall, a huge fountain, a “Gold Souk”, a skating rink, and so much more.  We started out wandering around just checking out random stores that looked interesting and looked at the olympic size skating rink.  One of the several atrium was home to the largest christmas tree I’ve ever seen and possibly in the world.  It passed all four stories (~25ft each) of the mall and continued into the domed ceiling.  We found the “Gold Souk” modeled after the real gold souk and traditional arabian markets and played with camel statues and shiny thrones.

We continued through the “souk” and found one of the coolest things in Dubai and in fact in the world:  falcons!  In yet another atrium there were several guys sitting in the center on pillows and rugs with arabian coffee and two falcons, both of which they were happy to share.  The falcons had hoods on and we very docile, but still impressive and just awesome.

After our falconing we headed out to watch the fountain.  The lights went down, the smoke came up, and the fountain started.  Blasts of water shot around the pool weaving into circles.  The music played and the fountains danced.  Water flew over a hundred feet into the air and floated back down.  It was far better than the water show at the Bellagio.  That’s no surprise since it was designed by the same company and this one was $218 million.  Some of the group that had disappeared earlier on met back up with us but missed the first show.  We waited a half an hour for the next show chatting and screwing around.  Just as we started to explain to them that it’ll be easy to know when the show will start because it will be preceded by smoke burst of flame shot into the air all over the fountain.  The show had changed and this one involved fire.  Flames and water mixed and danced and shot around the pool of the fountain to the timing of the music.  It was awesome!

Hearing from the other kids about the roller coaster they went it we headed off to investigate and redeem our discounted passes that Sonic the hedgehog gave us earlier.  Sega Republic was quite a place.  It was a huge arcade with every game imaginable.  Racing games in which you sat in a full STI or GTR, small climbing wall for kids, a spinning/swinging fair ride, and best of all a roller coaster.  I didn’t expect much from a roller coaster that fit in the mall.  Low expectations are the key to great experiences.  The ride whipped us around tight corners, spun our cart in circles, and weaved us through tracks over the arcade and into a dark room.  It was unbelievably good for a ride in the mall and good for any roller coaster.

We walked back into the universe of the mall and ventured through the Herseys store and found some interesting stores.  The first was an action figure store and was full of ridiculously expensive figurines and even a full size hulk statue.

The second store was similar but way better.  It had great looking pieces from some of the best movies:  Indian Jones’ whip, Batmans helmet, the sword and crown of Gondor, sting, the ring, the wands of Harry, Ron, Hermione, Dumbledore, Luna, and more, and even a Nimbus 2001.  It was so cool…I’m surprised none of us bought anything there.

Before heading out I made sure to check out an Organic grocery store and cafe.  I did it!  I FINALLY found PEANUT BUTTER!  I was so happy about that and rushed to not make everyone wait that I didn’t bother with anything else.  It had all the right things for a successful trip to the mall:  falcons, roller coaster, HP/LOTR, and organic PB.

(pictures courtesy of Mike Baer-family portrait, Nina Smith-Dr. Seuss and fountain, and Allie Schneider-Camel kiss, falcon, and Hulk)

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