Sunday, February 13, 2011

Greetings From Dubai

It's our second day here in Dubai and we have packed enough activities in that I feel like we have already been here a week. I think I took care of any serious jet lag by taking a heavy dose of melatonin and Benadryl last night. Slept solid and woke up craving coffee.

Dubai is truly a metropolitan melting pot; people from every walk of life are mingling here. Life revolves around malls here so you will hear me talking a lot about the Mall of the Emirates or the Dubai Mall or the Mercato Mall, etc. The word "mall" is a little bit of a misnomer here. Even though they are all definitely filled with tons of stores and cinemas and food courts just like the U.S., they also contain hotels and apartments and grocery stores. Lifestyle center might be a better phrase. As it gets well into the 100's F during the summer it is very important to be inside in air conditioning. Each mall also has its own distinctive feel and theme and look totally different from one another.

We are seriously interested in food on this trip and in Dubai you will never be disappointed. This is a foodie town. Yesterday we went with my sister and her family to a Lebanese restaurant and the 6 of us probably ate enough for 10 people. The pita bread came hot from the oven and the spicy beef kabobs were fantastic.
I had no problem cleaning my plate. The hummus was delicious as was an interesting whipped garlic condiment that you can dip your bread or meat in. I need to figure out how to make that at home.
Later in the afternoon Trevor and I went to the Dubai Mall with my sister and my niece and had coffee across from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. We are going to the observation deck on the 120th floor later this week. I don't think this photo even comes close to showing the scale and height of this building. When you look up at it and clouds are racing by behind it, you get very near to a case of vertigo. Going up it should be interesting.
Coffee is very much a ritual here and you will be hard pressed to find any to-go cups or people rushing around with a latte. Here you sit down and get real dishes and there is always a nice, elegant way your coffee is served.
These red-velvet mini cakes are in the Magnolia Bakery at Bloomingdales.
This was my coffee this morning with breakfast at the More Cafe at the Mall of the Emirates. More is a Dutch restaurant and the food was fantastic. They also roast their own coffee beans here in Dubai.
An overhead view of breakfast. I had a very traditional British breakfast complete with a side of beans to slather on delicious brown bread. (Note: If you have never had beans on toast, what are you waiting for?) Also of note, since this is a Muslim country, pork is not served in restaurants. If you order bacon, it is usually a beef bacon that actually tastes quite good. You can buy pork at British grocery stores like Carrefour or Spinneys but it is in a separate butcher counter from the rest of the meats. We also went to the Arabic grocery store today and I had fun finding olive oil soaps and chocolate covered dates. I am going to load up on spices and dates and pomegranate molasses before we leave.

If you have heard of Dubai at all, you have probably heard of the indoor Ski Slope. That is in the Mall of the Emirates as well. It's pretty funny to sit and have a coffee and watch all the people that are very possibly experiencing snow for the first time in their lives. On the far end wall, the top two rows of windows are all hotel rooms that look out onto the ski slope.

Everybody wants to have their picture taken in front of the snow. This place reminds me a lot of Las Vegas. Everything is over the top.

I took this photo mostly so you can see the women in their full coverings madly texting away. It is very traditional Emirati dress to wear the full Abaya (robe) and Shayla (scarf). The Niquab (full face covering) is not traditionally Emirati--these ladies are more likely to be Saudi or from Kuwait. They might look boring in all black but when you get up close to them you see all the different designs in the fabric and their nails and purses and jewelry really show off their individuality. Also, there is an Arabic equivalent of the "bumpit"--the ladies will attach a giant feather clips to their hair (under their scarves) so as to make their scarves look like they have giant Meg Bundy hair underneath; it is a pretty funny trend. I will try to get a discreet photo of one.

I have a new found obsession with watches. I bought a bright green Swatch from Nordstrom last year that I love and when I discovered the Swatch store at the Mall of the Emirates, I had to get more. Trevor picked out a really cool gray one with orange numbers. I bought a red one and this fantastic yellow.
We are serious animal people so we are spending a lot of time with Holly's pets. This lovely kitty is named Oreo. She meows in a squeak.
And here Trevor is bonding with Jesse, a sweet mutt that my sister got from the local rescue agency. Unfortunately, a lot of animals get abandoned here because there are so any expats coming and going all the time. Something like 80% of the population in Dubai is made of expats from all over the world. It makes for a really unique mix of people and cultures and food.
My dad is flying in for the week tonight. It will be really fun to have so many of us together, exploring Dubai. More adventures coming soon!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I'm exhausted just reading all the stuff you're experiencing! Can't wait to hear more. I'm hoping there will be a picture of Trevor on a camel...