Day one in Dubai

Dubai Travel Blog

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The hostel pool

Arriving at the airport in Dubai gave me a slight taste of what was to come. There were two Porsche Carrera "raffles" going on in the lobby so I stopped and drooled for a few minutes. For about $140 bucks I could have had a 1 in 1000 chance of winning, too, but I just couldn't stomach the dough.

I had my first of what would become some infuriating bus experiences. After an hour of waiting, I finally took a cab and made it to my hostel.

One of the beaches.
The people that work at this hostel  were quite unfriendly and completely unhelpful. I had to sit around for 2.5 hours because check in is at 2 only; nevermind that the place was only about 25% filled and I'm staying in a dorm. I asked them for a map of the city but they didn't have one. Then I borrowed a map from someone else and asked them where we were on the map. The guy said he didn't know. I asked him how that was possible not to know where the hostel was. He just said "no" and walked off. Then I asked another guy what bus to take into the city center. His reply: go to the bus stop and ask the bus drivers. Yeaahhh, that doesn't work too well.

I found out there was a McDonald's down the road and since I hadn't eaten in about 20 hours, headed down to get some food. And then I remembered it was Ramadan (the Muslim holy month which includes fasting during daylight hours).

Right. So I managed to get some food but was told I couldn't eat it there because of, you know, Ramadan. So I take it back to the hostel. Nope, can't eat it here. Great, where can I eat it. The guy says to walk down the road, there's a restaurant there. I told him I already had food. He said, "go to the restaurant". Sure. It's 38 degrees (100 F) and I'm tired and hungry. I ducked around the corner of the dinner and ate my food in hiding, feeling like a criminal or something, which I technically was. A British guy I met said that he'd been living in Qatar and there they'll arrest and deport you if you're seen eating or drinking in public. Seriously. You'd probably just be given a warning in Dubai, as it's a bit more liberal, but wow. Welcome to Islam. "Different".

Later, I met a few fellows from all over and myself, the British guy, and a German student who was doing an internship in Dubai for five months all decided to head to one of the only open bars in town; the illustrious 5 star Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

Upon strolling in I just about had a heart attack when a Lamborghini rolled up, followed closely by a Ferrari. After some serious lusting, we hopped on up to the 24th floor and were treated to an eye-to-eye look at the world's only 7 star hotel, the Burj al Arab. Wow. We plopped down about 10 bucks a pop for a Beck's and spent the next three hours lounging about and enjoying the views.

Our ride back took us right through the center of the new financial district, home to the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai. One guy told me it had 200 floors, which I'm not sure about, but whatever the case, this thing is stupid tall. There are 50-60 story buildings completely surrounding it, but they might as well be two story apartments. It absolutely towers above all else. A link: http://www.

burjdubai.com

 I was a bit dumbstruck for about the 12th time that day. The former world's tallest building, the Taipei 101, is 509 meters (1,671 feet) tall. To bring it home a bit, the Empire State Building is only 381 meters (1,250 feet). Ha. The Burj Dubai is already 707 meters (2,320 feet) tall. It's hard to fathom. But if that's not enough, apparently a taller one has already been planned and construction should begin right around the time this one is finished. It's projected height: 1,200 meters. 1.2 kilometers. 3,937 feet tall. Dubai is the epitomy of overcompensation.

More to come as Dubai continues to shock and awe. Stay tuned.

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The hostel pool
The hostel pool
One of the beaches.
One of the beaches.
Burj Dubai
Burj Dubai
Dubai
photo by: vances