Friday, 14 March 2008

It's Dubai again

I say again because i've been here before, this was actually the first destination my work sent me to, and it was to get my induction training. The spirit of Dubai has not changed since, still feels artificial, has an ever increasing number of skyscrapers and malls. They've been also building a lot of new hotels, a lot of new entertainment places, etc...

This time around i ended up in Dubai because my manager in the office changed job, moved there and asked me if i want to do my rotation over there, the answer was a straight away yes! Anything to get out of Gatwick at last!

So the situation was that our company bought another and i was going to help with the transition, the surprises (pleasant ones!) awaited me the moment i landed in Dubai. First, I was "met and greeted" in the airport, sat on a buggy, fast-tracked through immigration and delivered to my hotel's booth. Second, a car was there to take me to the hotel, one of the latest models of Mercedes! Third, the hotel was fully booked so they booked me a hotel apartment! 92sq.m. that still gets cleaned till it sparkles everyday, spacious room, huge bed, fully equipped kitchen supplied with food! luxury! We were also told that we can use the hotel's beach...nice :)

The apartment by the way on the 45th floor and one morning i wake up and i see this:
I couldn't see the ground, only the tops of those sky high building. Imagine: the buildings are higher then the fog-level! Quite a breath taking scene!

The office was pretty close to that hotel, but due to the monstrous road system they have in Dubai, getting there was not easy, the road was like 5 times longer than a straight line. The office itself though was nice, with full length glass walls, so you're sitting all "airconed" but still getting the warm rays of the sun right at your desk, there wasn't much work to be done which also allowed me to go home pretty early and use that beach :D

The surprise i got a couple of days later (still a pleasant one) just made my stay a paid vacation, i got a car on the company's account, didn't even have to pay the parking ticket i got a few days before leaving! Slightly sad that we took over them, now cost saving is up and running and all luxury gone :(

Erik was with me there and he was walking/driving around and tanning at the beach while i'm at work, then i joined him after coming back.

It's when we started driving to the places i visited the first time i was there, particularly Emirates mall and Ibn Battouta mall that i realized how much has this place grown within the year and a half i've been away! The road between those two malls was a mere construction site, now i was living there, having all i needed around, quays, marinas, shopping places, entertainment, restaurants and more things were still coming! Amazing what oil money can do!

We've been also to places i haven't been, Marina walk was one, and the one i enjoyed the most (also where i got that same parking ticket) was Bur Dubai, i finally found out where the locals live, and where normal people and normal lives exist, people were sitting in open cafes, walking by the shore and just enjoying their time, that was definitely the best evening spent in Dubai.

Although i'm not a fan of Dubai, i enjoyed my two weeks there :)