After not sleeping last night, I didn’t feel tired at all. I started the morning by repacking my entire bag and wondering what 104 degrees would feel like. I didn’t wait long to figure it out as I decided to run back to Mall of the Emirates (again), this time to get a power converter that actually works with UAE plugs. Last night, I noticed a large store in the mall that appeared to be similar to Wal-Mart, so I knew exactly where I was going.
Once I got to the store (Carrefour), I noticed that they had a TON of people working there …. which is exactly what I needed to locate the converter. I asked the first guy where to go and he sent me to an aisle with children’s toys, the next guy sent me to lawn equipment, the next to luggage, and finally someone else got me to the right section. $3 for a universal adapter – not bad. As it turned out, when I got back to the hotel, I found out that Amazon had already started the process of refunding me for the wrong converters. Too bad I have to carry them around for 6 weeks.
Next, it was time for the journey down to our team’s condo for the next 3 weeks, located in Dubai Marina. This area reminds me a lot of Las Vegas because everything was built from scratch, including the land. For those that aren’t familiar with it, Dubai has built (now two) palm islands that stretch at least three miles into the Persian Gulf. Dubai Marina is at the base of one, and everything is brand new here. There are too many 30-40 story buildings to count and an amazing man made intercoastal. Our condo unit is large, I’m estimating 2,000 sf or slightly more, 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, plus a maid’s room.
I had the afternoon to get my electricity and internet going again, and to get settled in the new place. After a few hours, my first teammate Gina arrived. She had the same travel itinerary as I did, just one day later, and proceeded to let me know how she had no travel issues and blew through customs – as you saw, this was not my experience. We shared a good laugh about this.
We also found out that my experience paled in comparison to the rest of the team that flew through Abu Dhabi. They ended up with a 14 hour layover in NYC and when they finally did arrive, they went missing after we received three messages (in this order):
1. Joey’s bag is lost
2. We have booze.
3. What is your number?
No idea why booze was #2 on this list and getting to Dubai wasn’t #1. Regardless…
As we waited for them, Gina and I went exploring to find a grocery store and one turned out to be very close, in our complex of buildings. It was interesting to see some of the same products we find in the US and to find many new one’s as well. Plus, we each picked up a staple – pita and hummos. We also found one my favorite drinks from my last study abroad experience in Korea … SWEAT. Delicious!
Since the others were still nowhere to be found, we sat outside on our patio for a while, but even at 10:30pm, it was 93 degrees outside. I should note that I’m not sure I knew what a dry heat was before coming here. I’ve never felt anything like it actually. As you sit, you can feel the moisture being taken out of your mouth. As a result, we invested in a four gallon water cooler tank.