Here, everything is bigger.
Spontaneity is key. We had a free weekend, and took full advantage with a trip to the United Arab Emirates. With the help of my ridiculously accommodating friends, Ashank and Joel, the Wisconsinites had a splendid time in Dubai. However, what's the fun in a last minute trip without some last minute drama? We set off on the bus to Amman and upon our arrival (an hour later), Rebecca realizes that she left her passport in our room. With a departure time of two hours later, there was not enough time to travel back to Irbid to get her passport. And thus begins the generosity of Jordanians. A friend of ours found another person with a car to pick up her passport at the hotel and bring it to the airport in Amman. Unfortunately, he did not make it to the airport in time for the flight. Consequently, she missed our flight and had to wait for the next one, three hours later.
Ashank picked us up at Dubai International Airport after a day of work with his father. The weary travelers met up with our sharply dressed friend, and headed to a mall to hang out and wait for Rebecca. We saw the world's largest aquarium, fountain, and skyscraper in less than twenty minutes. We wandered around for a bit longer, and then braved the hot humidity to pick up delayed Rebecca. After picking her up, Ashank and his brother took us to an outdoor bar/restaurant. It was ridiculously warm there, even for nighttime. My other friend from UW-Madison, Joel, came out to meet us as well. We had a fantastic night out, and even got our picture on a Dubai nightlife website! Afterwards, we went to Asahnk's place, which is located in Jumeirah. Dubai has the most strict drinking and driving penalties, there is an absolute no tolerance policy. If you're caught drinking and driving, you're put in jail for three years and then deported. Thus, Ashank's brother was our designated driver for the weekend.
Greatest Tour Ever.
Ashank's house was beautiful. Right out his window was a gorgeous view of the Persian Gulf. The view from his balcony was overlooking the palm islands. It was so wonderful to wake up to the sun reflecting on the gulf. The next day, we slept in and enjoyed the spicy Indian tea his mother made for us in the morning. We made our way down to the beach and frolicked in the Persian Gulf bathwater. When we were sufficiently steamy, we made our way to the private pool to rinse off and cool down. After the beach, we changed and headed out to see some more of Duabi. We went to the Palm Islands, which are ridiculous. They are composed of rock and sand from the United Arab Emirates. To get onto the island, you drive on a highway that was built below ground. It doesn't even seem like an island, it's so large and architecturally beautiful. We went to the Atlantis hotel and saw the large aquarium, and then headed out to see the Burj Al Arab, the "Tower of the Arabs." It mimics the sail of a ship, is built on it's own island, and is known for being the place where Tiger Woods teed off of the helipad.
After this, we went to another mall and saw the indoor ski slope. It was really interesting how they constructed it. Everyone inside was wearing winter jackets, hats and mittens. We went a a rampage to find Mike clothes for the evening because as Joel so eloquently put it the night before, "Mike, tomorrow wear fucking pants and not trainers." The previous evening, Mike was not allowed into the club because he had shorts and gym shoes on. He had to quickly buy a pair of pants, which ended up being skinny jeans. Having learned his lesson, we found him an acceptable outfit for going out in Dubai.
We went back to Ashank's to change and headed out for the evening. We went to a few different places, and we quite happy to find that women get free cover everywhere. Perfect for Rebecca, Cassidy and I. We thoroughly enjoyed Dubai's nightlife and consequently woke up late the next day. We headed to the pool for a little bit of sun, and then headed out for sushi, shopping, and the Burj Khalifa. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest structure is the world, at two thousand, one hundred and twenty-seven feet tall. It just opened in January of 2010, and is so sparkling and new. The view from the top was amazing. You could really see the distinction between old and new Dubai from the top. We could see the largest fountain, which looks similar to the Bellagio's in Las Vegas, but on a much grander scale. We also could see The World (archipelago) from the top. Dubai is such a development. They have the most advanced everything, it's so exciting! We heard that now they're going to replicate the new Seven Wonders of the World, which should be interesting.We went to Dubai's "markets" which are still very similar to regular stores, with admittedly cheaper pricing. We picked up a few souvenirs, and headed to the airport. Leaving our carefree weekend was especially difficult knowing that we had class at eight thirty am the next day. I can't wait to go back.