Monday, February 9, 2009

Bright eyes

Colleen and Pat, I must say, demonstrated what perfect house guests should be. They helped clean, pay for "petrol", and even babysat. encouraging and freeing me to go running. Now that's a great deal.

In return I tried to show them as many of Dubai and the UAE's beauties as I could. They bore up admirably, especially the day I took them to the Gold and Spice Souks. Now, had I taken them the boring direct route, that would have been one thing, but I took them the "I am so completely and utterly lost it's almost not funny" route.

Pat got to laugh at me and Colleen made the best of it by getting some photos of a stretch Hummer limousine on one of the, er, detour tours, so that worked. They were calm passengers in the onslaught of interesting driving conditions as well; construction everywhere, U-turns, crazy drivers (hopefully I wasn't considered one of least I didn't go twice the posted speed limit!), and signs that led one inexplicably astray. (Never follow the signs if you can help it.) I assured them that I drive much more aggressively in Dubai than I ever would in the have to.

They may or may not have believed me, but they didn't argue the point. Probably worried I'd crash if I got agitated enough. As it was, I managed to have only one accident while they were here.

We finally got to Dubai Creek. The Souks are one of the best parts of Dubai, in my opinion. They are colorful and a colorful cross section of the population as well. Tourists, Indians, Iranians, Emiratis, all beneath the carved wooden beams overhead that encompass the market.

You notice they are toting the kids. This was a major bonus for me. One kid is pretty manageable, two could be a handful in a place with so many interesting people and crannies if they so chose. Along the way we ran into several people who wanted to hold or photograph the kids. Usually they want to hold Thomas and photograph Bethy. Thomas made a man missing his two-year old son very happy, and Bethy was presented with 50 dirhams after she posed for a photo for an Iranian. (Her allowance is 5 dirhams a week, so this was quite the windfall for her. I couldn't tell her no. )
The Iranian man, like every Iranian I've ever met once he learned that we are Americans, was extremely emphatic in informing us that he loves Americans. Not likes, loves. In other words, don't fall for the anti-American flag burning propaganda from his government that you see on the news now and then. Iranians feel pretty bad about it.

The Spice Souk is a treat for the eyes and nose, to be sure, but the Gold Souk has a particular effect upon people:
It's pretty overwhelming with the sheer amount of riches, store after store. Lots of bright sparkle, sold by the ounce. Described as "exhaustive", there are more than 300 jewellers. If you want your seriously over-the-top kind of bling, this is the place.

The effect of all that gold on girls

We managed not to buy anything, oogling the sights and the folks who were haggling away. We got to see the Abras on Dubai Creek, QE2 at port, and to make the kids very happy, to that oh-so-exotic restaurant for lunch...Applebees.

Oh, you want to know about my accident? Well, it was one of those things. I backed into a piece of metal sticking out from a broken grocery cart corral at one of the malls. Punched a nice fat circular hole in the bumper of Bird Car. Pat got another laugh out of it (we all did) and Colleen defended me vehemently. It was, after all, beneath my line of vision.


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