7 stars, tallest building, largest fountain

Trip Start May 08, 2010
Trip End Jun 05, 2010

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Where I stayed
Ali's House

Flag of United Arab Emirates  ,
Wednesday, June 2, 2010

We woke up around 12:30 PM and the maid brought us in some sandwiches and tea. We chilled until around 1:00, and then Ali came in for a little bit.  We met up with his friend, and headed to a really Arab restaurant.  It wasn't touristy at all; it was legit.  It was a real Arab restaurant.  They didn’t try to make it look good or anything.  There were some tables, and there were some floor spots to eat.  We sat on the floor and a guy put down some bags as a tablecloth.  We ordered some chicken and rice.  We each got our own meal on a platter with a full chicken on top of rice.  You were supposed to eat it entirely with your hands.  It was hard to eat the rice, but I got the hang of it.  America should really utilize the use of hands when eating meals.  Who ever invented etiquette anyways?  Who has the authority to say that using your hands is rude?  It really isn’t at all; it’s just easier and makes sense.  The entire meal was really good.  I ate the whole chicken and all of the rice.  It was so cool to see a real Middle Eastern Arab place where locals came.  It was a run down restaurant, and it was great.  There were local people just living their daily lives around us. 

We are tourists, but we were with Ali and his friend, so they made us feel like locals.  It was neat to see the Arab clothing in real life situations.  The national garment here is the long white robe that stretches from head to toe.  The cool thing about these is that no matter how formal or informal the situation is, these are always acceptable.  People can club with these, they can go to formal dinners, or they can just be chilling at home with them on.  I wish we had something like this in America.  It just makes sense.

We left the restaurant and went back to Ali’s house for a little bit.  It was so hot out.  It was 110 degrees and so humid.  His friend went back home for a couple of hours and studied for engineering, because he is in university right now in Dubai for a summer session.

Ali, Rick, and I drove to the Qatar Airways office in Sharjah because we have been talking to Ali, and we decided to extend our stay for one more day.  We did this for a few reasons.  First of all, we wanted to party here tomorrow night, because here, Thursday nights are great for parties.  Also, Ali’s brother is big with the nightlife scene here and knows some people.  Also, We decided to take that day here instead of London because London will be easier to go back to in the future, whereas Dubai is very difficult and expensive to get to.  After getting our flight changed at the office, we made our way back to his house for about 15 minutes.

When Ali’s friend finished studying, he came to Ali’s house and we headed out for the night.  We drove downtown and our first stop was the 7 star hotel, the Burj Al Arab, meaning the Arab Tower.  It had a cool shape, and was lit up really cool.  There was security at a gate, so we could only get so close.  To give you a feel for how high class this place is, here are some prices… It’s over $1,000 a night to stay there.  Just to visit for a couple of hours and get past security, you have to book a reservation at the bar or café.  The café is the cheapest way to get in, and that costs about $120 each.  Craziness!  We were like "Hellz… to the no."  There is also an underwater bar somewhere that is so isolated, that the only way to get to it is by submarine.  What?

We took some pics and got back into the car.  Our next stop was this mall that had an Egyptian theme.  The mall was in the shape of a pyramid and was really nice inside.  Keep in mind that nothing here is older than 30 years old.  The country itself is only like 38 years old, and nothing was really built well until that time.  In the past 5 to 10 years is when all of the malls and tall skyscrapers were built, so everything looks brand new here.  It’s pretty nuts to see every time we drive everywhere.  I want to take a million pictures, but I’m taking pictures of the same things over and over.  It just looks so cool, I don’t want to miss the photo opportunity.  The mall was sweet.  There were tons of shops and one section was set up like an Egyptian market, so that looked really different.  We were going to eat there, but decided to wait a little, until we went back to the Dubai mall.

We drove to the Dubai mall, which is the biggest, craziest mall that I have ever been to.  It should be one of the most famous in the world if it isn’t already.  Like I said in my earlier post, it has everything.  This time, we just walked through 10 minutes of it so we could get outside.  We got outside, and I was blown away.  Check out the pictures and videos, because words can’t do it justice.  It was one of the most amazing sights I have ever seen.  It was wild.  There was a huge fountain called the Dubai Fountain that put on a water show every 30 minutes that was bigger than the one in Las Vegas.  On one side of the pond is the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, at 2, 717 feet tall.  It was so tall; we couldn’t even get a picture in front of it because we couldn’t get the whole building in one shot.  I had to video tape it in order to get the whole thing.  The second tallest building in the world is 2,121 feet, so Burj Khalifa didn’t just break the record, but rather, it towers over the second tallest building in the world, the Warsaw radio mast.  It is 160 floors, which is 52 floors taller than the second tallest.  It’s elevator runs at 40 mph, which makes it the fastest running elevator to date.  It also has the world’s highest mosque, swimming pool, and observation deck.  Dubai is running out of money and couldn’t afford this building to be built entirely, so the UAE king, Khalifa, paid for it.

On the other side of the fountain was the Dubai Mall, then a bridge, and then another mall.  After the bridge was another huge fountain area, then a huge hotel building that looked awesome.  In the distance in every direction, there were lit up skyscrapers.

We ate at a place right next to the fountain on the main stretch and got to see 2 shows while we were eating.  We ate a plethora of meats and bread because we couldn’t decide on what to order.  I didn’t know exactly what each meat was, but they were all so good.  It was traditional Lebanese food.

After the meal, we rode home, once again seeing all of the huge skyscrapers in all directions.  We got home around midnight and called it a night.  We are going to sleep in because tomorrow is a crazy day.  We have to finish doing everything that we haven’t done yet during the day, and then we have to party all night, until we have to leave to go to the airport straight from the club to catch our flight to London at 5:55 AM.

I was writing this entry in the dark, and Rick just scarred the crap out of me by sneaking up and grabbing my leg.  It is scary in the dark here because there are cockroaches and ants everywhere.
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