25 April 2010 Life Travel

12 Feb

Part 2 of Dubai and Pakistan Trip Journal

12:40 PM

Waiting for Dad to come pick me up - I’ve got most of my stuff packed and ready to go!

8:50 PM

So this plane is the Airbus A380 – it has two levels and 800 passengers! We’re settled in nicely. The guy that took the shuttle with us is sitting in the same row. I was reading the documentation on this plane, and it’s pretty fuel-efficient: 3.1L/100km per person (providing all seats are filled, which they are). Not bad!

10:30 PM (Dubai Time)

Well, I’ve made at least one cultural faux-pas so far. Our friend hired someone to guide us through customs and take our bags through the airport. I made the mistake of reaching for my suitcase as it came off the carousel. The hired man turned and said, sternly, “That’s my job.” Oops.

Dad’s University friend, Shahram, met us there and we went over to his house for tea. As we drove through Dubai, he pointed out the landmarks and neighbourhoods. There are so many skyscrapers and flashing lights, one could be fooled into thinking it is just the same as any number of American metropolises. But, there is one major difference, as Shahram explained. “This might look like a carbon copy of Vegas, but no one knows what’s happening inside these buildings, or even if they’re empty. There’s no transparency here. Every single one of these structures is owned by Sheikh Mohammed. Of course, Dubai doesn’t have Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth, so all this is built on borrowed money.”

We’re in the Sheraton Dubai Creek now, watching the olympics. We weren’t allowed to carry our own bags; the bellboy took them up the seven floors to our room. We tipped him 10 dirhams (about $3).

Sam Nabi

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