Wednesday, January 6, 2010

DUBAI CONTINUES, Nov. 21st, 2009

OUR STAY IN DUBAI CONTINUES – November 21st, 2009

When we returned to the Sheraton Dubai Creek Hotel it was six o’clock and we were hungry. We were only scheduled for breakfast, so we were on our own for lunch and dinner. It was odd not having a set schedule of where we had to be every minute of the day. Without Tony, our African guide, telling me where to be for dinner and at what time we were to eat I sort of felt like an orphan. Most of our tour group went to local restaurants for dinner but Betsy and I decided to just eat at the hotel. We didn’t pick one of the fancy restaurants that the hotel had to offer because we didn’t want to get dressed up, so we ordered pizza and ate out on the open terrace where we had our breakfast. I can’t say much about the pizza. It certainly didn’t taste like “New York” pizza, or any other pizza that I ever tasted. Maybe I am being judgmental because I am particular about my pizza but I was so in the mood for pizza dripping with olive oil, layered with pepperoni, loaded with mozzarella cheese, and smothered in garlic. After dinner we went to our room and watched TV for the first time in almost three weeks. I must admit I didn’t miss all the bad news.

The next morning we were on our own time again and could go anywhere that we chose. We decided to go with the tour group to the “Emirates Mall.” We headed for the mall on the local Monorail. Being raised in New York City, I was amazed at the cleanliness of the entire system. The terminals and cars were immaculate There was a young woman in uniform that was an “Information Specialist.” She was there just to answer questions. We started up a conversation with her and she told us she was from Kenya and was working in Dubai for a few years just for experience. She told us she was very home sick and would be going back to Kenya in six months. There was also a man wearing a suit, which I assumed was a security agent. Since he was not in a uniform, I surmised he was security because he kept walking back and forth through the cars.

Now for the “Dubai Emirates Mall”! The mall was designed by an American architecural firm, F&A Architects. It contains approximately 2,400,000 square feet. Although it features the usual amenities for a mall its biggest claim to fame is the Middle East’s first indoor Ski Slope, “Ski Dubai.” The entire mall is covered in a beautiful glass dome. If you stand in the center of the mall on the second level you can see the entire mall in every direction. We went there mainly to see “Ski Dubai” so I will tell you about that.

Ski Dubai is the largest indoor ski resort in the world. It has 5 runs that vary in difficulty, height and gradient, the longest run being 400 meters with a fall of over 60 meters. There are also slopes for beginners. There are slopes for snowboarders to practice their stunts in the Freestyle Zone. Kids and parents can have fun in the interactive Snow Park. Ski equipment and clothing are available for guests, as is snowboard equipment. They even have Snow School instructors that will instruct you on how to ski or snowboard. They also have warming rooms. It seems like they thought of everything.

We walked around the mall for a while “people watching.” We asked some local male Muslims if we could take their photo, and they didn’t mind at all. We took some photos of two men that were actually on a holiday from Saudi Arabia. They told us they come to Dubai every six weeks for rest and relaxation. Their jobs must be awfully tiring if they have to go on “holiday” every six weeks. Poor guys! We were instructed that taking a photo of a Muslim woman was absolutely forbidden, and we would go to jail if we did so. We were also told that we were not allowed to talk to them. I don’t know how we got a picture of a lady in a black Burka with her face covered. She must have walked in front of our camera when we were taking photos of the mall! MOORE TO FOLLOW…

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