Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Goodbye Dubai, Hello Thai

The next adventure has begun! I'm blogging from BangNa, Thailand. I took an English teaching position at the Catholic Assumption University; I arrived Saturday and begin orientation on Thursday. Teaching begins in two weeks.

En route to Thailand, I planned a long stopover in Dubai. Though reluctant at first to plan anything concrete (honestly, I think I was still exhausted from the month in Massachusetts), I quickly realized the insanity of spending twenty hours in an airport, even one as big as Dubai International. So at the last minute, I went to a tourism desk just outside of customs and booked a one night stay in the Howard Johnson in Bur Dubai. Trust me though, this was not the Howard Johnson you're thinking of. The hotel was pretty deluxe, complete with several restaurants, a minibar, a queen size bed and a full length tub. I didn't actually sleep, though. I had to be back at the airport at 1am to catch my connecting flight.

On the way to the shuttle stop, I met Jess--a vibrant soul from England who been working in Australia  (and traveling in southeast Asia, incidentally!).  I'm sad I don't have any pictures of us, but we hit it off right away and decided to explore the city together. According to the airport map, our hotel was right near the old souks (markets). We set out, but never found them. We did find some decidedly touristy textiles, though...

 Seeking out the local goods...
 
So maybe we didn't find the "authentic markets," but we did a lot of people watching--the streets of Dubai are crowded, mostly with men. We eventually came upon the port, found a great museum and watched the sun set before returning to our hotel for a little R and R.

One of the many banks in Dubai


Soaking in the Arabian sunset :)
 
Dubai's an interesting place. It certainly gives off an air of luxury and surplus. Advertisements abound. But walking through the streets, it felt very much like Ramallah (in Palestine), or Be'er Sheva, my old home town in Israel.  I actually felt a curious sense of ease being there; the street signs, the sidewalks, the traffic circles looked exactly the same. I felt like I was back in the Negev


Posts along the pier proudly display the United Arab Emirates' flag.

I'd love to go back someday when I have more time to spend. But for now I'm so grateful for this little taste of Middle Eastern culture as I prepare myself for life in the tropics of southeast Asia. Stay tuned...





I know it's just my camera being blurry, but this so reminds me of an impressionist painting...


With Love,
Mel

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