"Not all those who wander are lost"

Archive for April, 2011

Bye Bye Dubai

I always love coming home.  The only problem is that I have traveled so many places and met so many great people that I can’t go home without leaving another home.

-Me

 

I’ve been back in the states for over a month now, but I’ve had trouble getting myself to write this last blog about Dubai.  Part of me feels like Dubai was so long ago, even when I just got back, that I shouldn’t be writing this.  The other part of me has been hanging on to this because it’s one more thing from Dubai I could hang on to and I didn’t want to let it go.  But I’m here now and planning on finishing this.  It requires finishing one chapter to begin writing a new one.

The last week in Dubai was a whirlwind.  I had finals Monday and Tuesday (2/21-2/22) so I spent most of my time studying since I couldn’t get anyone to go climbing with me.  I finished finals with a victory over my Renewable Energy Systems final and headed directly over to Gordons for one last night of bouldering.  It was a bit sad to know that it was my last time seeing most of them and my last time climbing for a while but as usual it was a good time.  When it was time to I headed out to Barasti, a relatively renowned beach bar, to meet up with the rest of the study abroad people and some of the local kids.  It wasn’t a big surprise to find the bar pretty empty on a Tuesday night but we hung out and had a good time.

 

Wednesday was uneventful and was mostly spent editing climbing videos since I couldn’t convince anyone to ditch work to go climb.  Sam took me to Fawkies, a huge antique (and/or fake antique) store down some winding road in an industrial area of Dubai.  We spent a while just wandering through the place looking at all the trinkets and useless decorations.  I was looking for some gifts to bring home that would be nice traditional Arabic things, but found more African and Asian stuff than local.  Eventually the man who had been following us through the maze of narrow aisles began to get impatient and informed us it was 5 minutes to closing.  I eventually found a couple things and we headed out.  Despite Sam’s former experiences haggling and getting great deals the whole store was being forced by the government to move to a fixed price system so I ended up paying much more than I wanted.  We headed over to Bur Dubai for one last visit to the awesome vegetarian restaurant.  As usual, it was delicious.  I ate unknown tasty vegetarian food until I couldn’t possibly eat more.

 

Thursday.

My last day in Dubai and I still made it out to climb one more time.  Somehow I convinced Javi to take the day off to climb at Tawayan.  Before I knew it Toby was coming too then Greg and Wendy even showed up.  I was happy to finally get the new route Caracal Branch (7a+ or 7b, I don’t really remember anymore) and I nearly onsighted a 7a, but ended up taking a couple tries.  It turned into a great day of climbing with some great people.  It was bitter sweet in so many ways since I knew I was leaving in a matter of hours.  On top of that, I still haven’t climbed on real rock to this day and have barely even climbed in the gym due to numerous injuries.  If only I could have this day of climbing over again!

(Leaving Tawayan for the last time)

My flight out of Dubai was at 11pm.  We got back from climbing at 7:30pm and I quickly packed my remaining stuff.  Considering climbing gear was well over half my stuff in Dubai this a lot of packing to do.  I managed to get it all done and even ran to the labor camp to get dinner for Sam and I since she offered to give me a ride to the airport.  Of course, naturally I ended up being later than desired and arrived at the airport at 9:20.  It was a good thing I managed to scarf down my entire dinner in the 10 minute drive.  I said good bye to Sam and took one last look at Dubai before I disappeared into the airport.

The Dubai airport was crazy.  At the first security check, before I could even get to the ticket counter, I was held up for not deflating my soccer ball.  Apparently low pressure air is now a considered too dangerous to have on planes.  After being bouncing from one person to another I was finally let through since it was being checked and I couldn’t use the low pressure air to attack anyone.  I checked in and proceeded through the normal security check.  Not wanting to be late for my flight I went straight to the gate and went through a third security (yes, THREE, trios, tres, 3!) check only to discover that there was no bathroom there and I couldn’t leave.  Then of course, the plane was 45 minutes late.  It was a 16 hour flight to Atlanta and I managed to get a solid one to two hours of sleep.  On the bright side I watch 3 or 4 movies, but none was even good enough for me to remember what movie it was now.  I ran through the airport as fast as I could to make my connection, made it through customs with all my dates and spices, and got to the plane with a few minutes to spare.  After another 3 hour flight retracing the path I just traveled I reached the end of the flights; Boston.  I turned on my phone only to find that it had not yet been activated.  I cursed Ian.  Luckily I managed to find dad and we headed north.

Two hours later I dropped him off in Portland and drove the last two hours home myself, in a huge snow storm.  In total it was 33 hours door-to-door.  I was happy to see family, have snow, and when I went into my bedroom I even found a mini Christmas waiting on my bed.  It was nice to be home.

 

I thought about making a couple lists of the things I like and dislike about living in Dubai, but it’s just not worth it. There’s no doubt it has plenty of problems and likewise plenty of good things about it, but in the end only one thing matters.  No, it’s not even the climbing.  It’s the friend’s.  I would rather live in hell with my friends than be alone in heaven.  So thank you everyone for making Dubai home not just a place to live.