"Not all those who wander are lost"

Mall, Meatless, & Moving

A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite.

-Leo Tolstoy



Disaster!  The plan was to climb with Sam Saturday because she was playing in an Ultimate Frisbee tourney Friday, but in her tour to victory she messed up her knee and couldn’t climb.  We made plans to meet up in the evening to go to a vegetarian restaurant (I love having other vegetarians around to eat with) and get some climbing stuff.

In the mean time the Roc crew was planning on heading off to Ibn Battuta Mall on the other side of Dubai so I decided to join.  We did the usual hop skip and a jump and were at the mall.  As we walked up to the front we found a huge balloon tied down.  We debated whether it was an actual hot air balloon or just another mall decoration.  As we approached the entrance we found ourselves in Egypt.  The mall is broken down into different countries (Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India, and China) and decorated accordingly.  Walking through the mall we found statues and figures in each one as well.  Egypt had an early 25ft sun dial, Persia and the Elephant clock (though not working was cool since we learned about it in Islamic Studies), and China had an enormous ship.  We walked to the China end where there was an outdoor garden with restaurants.  Mike, Maddie, Steve, and I got some amazing food at Lime Tree Cafe.  I had an awesome orzo salad and eventually gave in and went back to get a huge, delicious slice of carrot cake.  Hunger sated we continued exploring the world.  The other three went to get some Yongen Fruz so I headed into GoSport to check what they had for climbing gear.  I was disappointed that their entire stock consisted of one glass cabinet with a few slings, biners, and cams.  I was interested to see some Wild Country Zero series cams.  They had the smallest one which was only rated to a few kN, was so light I could barely tell it was there, and had lobes only a couple mm wide.  Clearly not a piece you want to fall on (it’s only used for aid climbing).  I met back up with everyone and we wandered a bit more before I decided it was time to head out so I could get groceries at Lulus and meet up with Sam.  As I walked out the door I noticed the balloon in front of the exit was now a hundred feet up.  It was no open and taking people up for rides.  It was, of course since this is Dubai, the largest tethered balloon in the world.

The trip to Lulus on the metro was longer than expected and compounded with the impossible to find entrance I got there about when I was supposed to meet with Sam.  I dashed around getting what I could find off my list and was just about done when she got there.  I had only found a fraction of the things I wanted but evenings are just not the time to do any grocery shopping anywhere in Dubai so I called it quits.  We headed off to Bur Dubai to the vegetarian restaurant (the one Andy, Stan, and I made it to after the long search).  Saravana Bhavan (the restaurant) was delicious as expected and of course neither of us had any idea what we were actually buying but it’s all vegetarian so we didn’t care.  On the way back to EA we planned to stop at Ace hardware to get some quicklinks for climbing and Decathlon to get some webbing.  The only problem was our navigation or lack thereof.  Neither of us remembered what road Ace was on, just that it was between Emirates road and Sheikh Zayed road.  We took a guess and ventured off.  Our plan didn’t quite work.  If you’re not familiar with roads in Dubai they are a nightmare.  The great Maine saying “ya cant get theya from he’ya” was taken to heart in the construction of the roads here.  Roads don’t lead where they seem to and never have exits where you want them.  Eventually we ended up in Sharjah, the next emirate up from Dubai and couldn’t seem to find our way back to Emirates road.  At one point we saw a sign saying Dubai.  We followed the indicated direction only to find at the next roundabout another sign saying Dubai pointing back the way we had just come.  Call it a miracle, call it luck, call it my mad skills driving when Sam and I switched (her hurt knee wasn’t fond of driving), but eventually we managed to find our way back to Emirates road.  We had abandoned the attempt at Ace and Decathlon long before so I headed back to EA and said bye to Sam.



My roommate Tido had requested to go back to a single (aka boot me out).  I had talked to RIT people and everything was supposed to be arranged for me to get my new room key and move out between Thursday and Saturday.  That was all well and grand but the only person from EA that knew about it was apparently sick and didn’t tell anyone else about it.  I checked in with the front desk three or four times over the weekend to try to get it sorted but nothing got resolved until Sunday night.  I loaded up my stuff and moved down the hall.  I went from living with Achmed to living with Ahmed.  It was rather uneventful although amusing to see exactly how much stuff I have here.  The real amusing part is that 75% of it is climbing and camping gear.  I had been shoving little things in my pockets to carry them to my new room.  This however turned out to be a terrible idea with superglue.  I pulled a handful of junk out of my pocket and the lid got pulled off in the process.  Thankfully I realized quickly what had happened.  As superglue poured onto my hand I managed to toss everything else on the floor, grab the lid and cap it.  My index finger was covered in glue and I barely managed to remove my middle finger from it before the glue set.  Close call, but it only resulted in some glue on my finger and no fingers glued to phones (caugh caugh).  Moving didn’t take too long and it was relieving because I didn’t start until almost midnight.  My stuff in place I headed to bed.

In the middle of the night I got a phone call.  I answered without looking at the number or thinking about it.  It was some random person looking for Mario.  I told him he had the wrong number and was ready to go to hang up.  He wasn’t.  He insisted it was Mario’s phone and kept asking how I got it.  I was too grogy to think to hang up on him so I kept explain it was my phone.  Then he started threatening to call the police because I stole Mario’s phone.  I was pretty unimpressed.  He clearly didn’t know I had the cheapest possible phone.  I explained one more time and was about to hang up but he beat me to it.  I had talked to him for two and a half minutes, at 3:30AM.  I found out the next morning that Andy had received a call from the same number a minute before but hadn’t answered.  Michelle and I called the number back that afternoon.  The guy said his name was Achmed but wouldn’t give his last name.  Trying to figure out who it was Michelle asked if Bruno (RIT student) was there, the guy asked if she meant Brazilian Bruno.  It was an RIT student.  That was about as much as we found out, but if it didn’t cost to call people I would call the number back all the time and annoy the hell out of them.

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