Friday, February 25, 2011

My favorite day in Dubai

My favorite day was Sunday. We visited the souks, took a boat across Dubai Creek, went through the textile market, and I rode a camel (briefly). My first souk to see was the Gold Souk. There was shop after shop full of gold. There was 22k and 18k. Interestingly, the 18k gold is marketed to the Westerners and the 22k is marketed to the Indians. I didn't buy any gold but next time I will! They weigh it and you pay for it by the gram based on the price of gold that day. Also, there were the occasional vendor selling pashmina and silk scarves and the little bottles of sand that say "Dubai."

We kept wandering through the meandering path and came to the Spice Souk. Without a doubt, my favorite area. Saffron was so cheap! Next time, I'll stock up on saffron threads. The Spice Souk is also called the Iranian Souk because most, of not all, of the vendors are from Iran. The vendors were always interested in where we were from. I guess our looks and accents gave us away!

I bought several items from this nice man. He let me taste dates, pistachios and other things. I had already bought my saffron from another vendor. But next time, I'll look for his shop.

After shopping the souks, we took one of the boats across Dubai Creek. I think it cost the equivalent of 25 cents! It was a short ride to the other side. We then wandered around and found the textile market, the Historical area and had lunch.

to be continued...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday in Dubai...

The Burj al Arab

Saturday morning we walked on the beach and got some nice photos of the Burj al Arab. Saturday afternoon, we drove to the Jumeirah Palm. I got some more nice shots of the Burj alJumeirah palm is a man-made set of islands that look like a palm leaf from the air. We parked and walked around the Atlantis hotel. I imagine most of the people were like us, just there to walk around and not stay in the hotel. We stopped for some more photo ops.
Arab from across the sea. The

panoramic view of the Arabian Sea

sun setting over the Arabian Sea

The Palm Jumeirah is one of the few places that ex-pats can buy property. My friends aren't interested in buying. I wouldn't want to live on the palm either. It wasn't the most accessible But, alas, another interesting, if not over-the-top, attraction to see. place.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm back from Dubai. I made it back in time to pick the kids up from school on Wednesday. I flew business class from Atlanta to Dubai and from Dubai to Atlanta. It was really nice. The plane was a Boeing 777 where the seats fully go flat so you can actually sleep. And the food, well, let's just say it's very yummy. So, the trip started out wonderfully and continued throughout.

I arrived on a Thursday night. It was a long journey to get there--over 24 hours. After having a drink with my hosts, I went to bed. Of course, I woke several times in the night, hungry, and jet-lagged. The jet-lag was really bad. I think it's hard traveling east. But, after a day, I was fine.

Friday, Sylvie and Didier took me to Dubai Creek. It is where all the boats are that do trade with Iran. The Gold and Spice Souks are there, as well. We took some pictures of the boats and then went to a Lebanese restaurant for lunch. Didier enjoyed some shisha flavored with strawberry. It's also known as hookah. The food was incredible and I now am a fan of Lebanese food. We went back to their house for the afternoon to rest up for Eric Clapton. Yes, I saw Eric Clapton in concert. He was in Abu Dhabi, which was about an hour away. Two other couples came along.

Along the highway, I saw camels running in the desert. Once we got to Abu Dhabi we visited a huge, beautiful Mosque called Sheikh Zayed Mosque. It was truly breathtaking.

After the Mosque, we went to the Yaz Hotel for drinks and dinner and then to Eric Clapton. I always love live music and he was fantastic! He played for two hours straight.

Saturday, we went to the beach and walked along the shore. Sylvie and I collected beautiful shells which had washed up from the Arabian Sea. It was warm, but windy. The weather felt fine to this Southerner who now lives in the Northeast. But to the French people, it was chilly. After all, it was February. After a while we headed back to the house for some lunch with one of Didier's sons who happens to live in Dubai.

to be continued...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I bought some stuff from this guy. He is from Iran. I loved the Spice Souk (aka Iranian Souk). I think it was my favorite thing to see out of all Dubai. I loved walking along the beach, too. I'll be back. It's a wonderful place. But the best part was spending time with a dear friend,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

On Friday, I visited the Sheikh Zayad Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It was a sight to see. I had to put on an abaya to enter the courtyard and inside. We quickly took a look around to see the beautiful inside. Then we were off to see Eric Clapton! The contrast of the two is too funny. In fact, this area is so Western that it's almost a disappointment. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since it was under the British at one point. The Emirati make up only 20% of the population.

Saturday, we went to the beach in Dubai. My friends live a couple of minutes from Jumeirah Beach. After getting some sun, we went back home for lunch. Late afternoon we drove to the Palm. I got some pretty photos of Dubai from a distance. We stayed until sunset.

Today we are going to the souks and then to one of the malls. I think we might go to the one with the ski slope inside. Yes, it's so strange. But, I think my kids would have a blast here. There is so much for kids. And it's so safe.

I'll post pictures later.

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Yesterday, I saw camels running alongside the road (in the desert), wore an abaya so I could seethe inside of a mosque in Abu Dhabi and then finished the evening with Eric Clapton in concert. Not bad for my first full day in the United Arab Emirates.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My hosts, Sylvie and Didier

Hello from Dubai!

I made it to Dubai. My trip started early on Wednesday morning out of central Pennsylvania. I was able to make the flight from our little airport to Detroit. From Detroit, I caught a plane to Atlanta. Getting to Atlanta was a little scary since I had to wait until a later flight to get on. While I get to fly for free, I'm on a standby basis so it can be unnerving sometimes. Luckily, there are a lot of flights to Atlanta from Detroit. My coworkers told me to get to Atlanta earlier in the day rather than later. I had about 4 hrs to kill in the Atlanta airport, but that was OK by me! I had some time to get a pedicure so my toes will be pretty.

The plane to Dubai was a Boeing 777. I'm not sure how many people it will hold, but it's a big one. Once they started boarding, they called my name along with two others. The gate agent told me that there were two people ahead of me on the list for business class. If I took my boarding card right now, I would be in economy. If I waited a few minutes and one of the two no showed, I would be in business class. I chose to wait. And all good things come to those who wait...

Yes! I was seated in business class, thank you very much! Not bad for my first time on a non-revenue international trip. Once I was seated, the flight attendant brought me a glass of champagne. Heaven. The seat was like a little cubby hole. The back reclined and I could sleep in the horizontal position. The food was delicious. Fingers crossed, I get to go business class when I go back. But, I don't want to think about that right now.

So, tomorrow the plan is to go to the beach and then tomorrow night we will go see Eric Clapton.

Oh, but I digress. This is such a different place from the U.S. Men dressed in the traditional garb (long, white robes and red/white checked things on their heads). Some women are dressed western and some are dressed fully covered in the burka. While I was waiting in the passport line, a prayer came over the loud speaker in the airport. I can't wait to soak it all up.

So for now, I will go to sleep and I hope I sleep through the night!!!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Keeping my eye on the prize...

The more I work at the airport, the more I realize I'm a Feminist. I never saw myself as one, but when you work with so many men who think women are inferior, it brings the Feminist out. I've encountered so many instances that I've lost count. From "just stand there and look pretty," to men not believing something you say,
even when you can show them in writing it's the truth.

I started this job in October and I was trained by a certified trainer on the ramp. Yes, this person went to a class to become certified to train. There's just one problem-this trainer is a woman. My station manager would undermine her constantly. So, she went back to her normal station and he sent two men,
yes men, off to become certified trainers. I think people are going to find out that she was right the whole time and that she did a good job.

So, a while back I pointed out something to one of the old timers that a certain thing could be done. I showed it to him in writing and he still didn't believe me. Today, I asked one of the newly certified trainers about that certain thing and he reluctantly verified what I knew all along. At first, he wanted to discuss it at another time, but I got him to talk about it in front of several people. I couldn't help but gloat a bit. "I was right!" I exclaimed and proceeded to jump up and down. Now, I wonder just how long he was going to keep that little secret under his hat before he was going to tell me? It is so frustrating and I need to work on not letting it get under my skin. The culture is pervasive with this male chauvinistic thought.

OK--I do have to say the job has some fun and exciting aspects to it. For instance, today I was pulling the chocks from the nose gear and the pilot must have released his brakes before I was able to get the forward chock out. The plane had rolled on top of the chock enough that it was stuck. And I mean really stuck. I don't know if the marshaller told him the chocks were out when they weren't, or if the pilot was a little quick on the trigger. Anyway, it took a tug and a tow bar to get the plane off of the chocks. What we had to do was called a pushback. It may be two years before I see another one. Needless to say, it was a little funny. Yes, there is always something.

Anyway, the reason for the stupidity of a job that pays so little? Flying benefits. And I hope to use them next week. Hence, the title of this post...