Thursday, January 28, 2010

Arabian Night, part 1

Wed night

The arrival into Dubai, the second Arab country in my travel experience, was nothing like the crossing into Jordan a few years ago. There, Jase and I shlepped our bags across a wide deserted no-man's land surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards. Here at DBX, one arrives at an ultra-modern glass enclosed spotless transportation mall, with a stand of enormous palm trees lining the main corridor, gold sheathed columns mimicking the palm tree motif, and, overhead, a metallic flying saucer shaped sculpture with blinking colored lights. A Disneyland version of the Arabian World of Tomorrow. Loved it.

After clearing through customs and passport control, I found Didier wading through a very crowded greeters waiting area just outside the terminal. Midnight is the peak arrivals and departures time for flights here. And soon we were off into the night, heading down practically deserted 12 lane highways toward his home in an inland residential development.

Nighttime is a difficult time to form impressions of a new place. I could see the lights of the modern towers in the central shopping and financial district in the distance, but not much else aside from dozens and dozens of darkened unfinished residential towers just off the highways. A lotta land and a lotta sand here, folks. The air smelled warm and sweet. Mid 60s temperature. Nice.

Two business meetings and some touring around tomorrow. Let's see what the daytime sun reveals.

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