Making the
Most of My
Final Days...
Checking out the Dubai police system.
November 24, 2007

Tomorrow is my last day here. Where does the time go? I know five days isn’t a long time…but it still doesn’t seem like it
should go by this quickly.

Today was also my last day hanging out with Alex as tomorrow he heads off to Bahrain for business. So crazy to think that
before coming out here I had only really hung out with him in a large group on our Antarctica trip. It was great…and rather
bizarre…hanging out with him out here just like I would hang out with any of my friends back at home. It was a really good
time. I told him I wasn’t done hanging out with him yet even though he is probably more than done hanging out with me

Needless to say, we had quite an eventful day today. It started with skiing at the mall and then turned into doing some
shopping at the mall. We went into an electronics store and I actually fell in love while I was in there. They had all of the new
ipods that I have never seen before. I almost made an impulse purchase right then and there. The only thing that stopped me
is that it is almost impossible for me to decide between the 8 GB square-shaped nano or the 16 GB ipod touch. Ohhh….how is a
person to decide between the two?

Even though I could have roamed around the mall for hours longer, we decided it was a good time to head out considering we
were going to Alex’s friend’s house for dinner.

But we would have to make a bit of a detour. This would be due to Alex getting rear-ended.

Now here’s the irony: When Louise (Alex’s housemate) and I were talking the other day, I mentioned the over-abundance of
SUV’s out here. She told me they are pretty much necessary out here as people drive absolutely horribly and a big car will
protect you. Now I was getting to see (and feel) firsthand what she was talking about. Not only that, Alex had just told me
earlier in the day what the protocol is when even the smallest accident occurs and how big of a pain in the butt it is. Another
thing I would get to experience firsthand.

Alex called the police and exchanged phone numbers with the guy. The police didn’t want to come out so we had to go to the
police station (while it was of absolutely zero interest to Alex, there were some great views of the Emirates Towers and other
buildings from there). Then it was a matter of waiting for the other guy to show up. After 20 minutes, Alex called him. He said
he was on his way (keep in mind that we were both coming from the exact same place). At first it seemed like Alex was happy
to have someone in the car with him (probably as a witness?) until he realized that his passenger was an American. In the
nicest possible way, he pretty much told me not to even open my mouth while in the station. Because we don’t know each
other that well, he thought it was a possibility that I might mouth off and lose my cool. I was laughing inside because there was
no way I was going to offer one unsolicited word – in my mind, why would they care what some female has to say? Twenty
more minutes passed and this time Alex had the police call. Within a few minutes, the guy showed up. Alex isn’t exactly sure
what the verdict was or what his story was as it was said entirely in Arabic. But based on Alex being handed a green slip, it
looked good for him. I guess it’s quite a feat out here for an ex-pat to be considered not at fault. We were now able to leave the
station. And I got some kudos for being on such good behavior. He apologized for having to tell me not to talk – and I told him
there was no need. After all, it’s true – you just never know when somebody is going to decide to argue about something in a
completely different culture/country where your story (whether true or not) isn’t going to matter one bit. And then I think the
reputation Americans have made him doubly nervous of what I might be capable of. Let’s just say not only do you not score
points for being an American out here; you lose massive points!

We finally got to Alex’s friend’s house for a Saturday dinner (which is the equivalent of our Sunday dinner considering this
marks the end of the weekend for them). I could not think of a better way to spend the night – they made dinner and we
kicked back and watched some DVDs (of an English show called ‘Cold Feet’ that has Emily from Friends in it). It reminded me
exactly of what we do at home on Sunday nights at home. This was such a treat for me. Who cares if these weren’t my close
friends – they were all so cool that it felt like I could hang out with them like friends despite having just met them. The last
meal I had at somebody’s house was back in Ireland in September when I was at Cat’s. Yes, restaurants are nice. But when
you have to go to restaurants everyday for practically every meal, hanging out in someone’s home is what stands out as really
special these days. It made me excited for that component that I will have in San Francisco that I don’t have while traveling.

November 25, 2007

Today really revolved around my jumping out of a plane. Everything else would pale in comparison. But since it was my last
day out here, I had to get my final fix of the things I love in Dubai.

Even though I told myself I had no need to go to the Creek area where the souks are this time around, I decided to have the
taxi drop me off there. Last time I was here I was disappointed by the Gold Souk. I thought maybe I missed something.
Maybe I needed to give it another shot. I did. And my previous judgment stands – I think it’s disappointing considering how
much people rave about it.

But my favorite thing here is simply taking an abra (i.e. the local type of boat) ride across the creek. I didn’t even get off the
boat to wander around the souks (I have seen more than my share of souks these days). I was just there to cruise the creek for
five minutes. Then I jumped on the bus to grab a late lunch at the Lime Tree Café (hey, I needed to get my final fix there!).

After checking out a few stores, I decided to be productive and I packed. Then it was time for one last look at the Burj-al-Arab.
I grabbed a glass of wine at a restaurant on the beach while sitting for a couple hours and watching the hotel change colors
every 15 minutes. The absolute
perfect way for me to spend my last hours here.

Now I just can’t wait until the next time I come out here and see it...
An abra on the creek.
Looking at the Burj-al-Arab head on.
Back to UAE.