In the beginning of March, I went to Dubai (U.A.E.) for IB Music training. The training was fantastic- I met wonderful people and became very excited about starting the IB music program at my school next year. I am so thankful for the opportunity.
I had to laugh when I got on the plane; because international travel is less of a big deal for me, I hopped on the plane ready for a little flight…and was dismayed to learn that I would be stuck there for 6 hours and would be in a 5-hour time difference! I would’ve dressed differently… Once in Dubai, I LOVED the clean bathrooms, trains, and taxis in Dubai; it was my first time out of Morocco since we got here and I savored the organized cleanliness! I had to learn how to use an escalator again (not without amusement), and didn’t mind enjoying a soy latte for the first time in almost a year. I laughed when a guard on the train scolded our friend for eating.
Jessica and I in the Gold Souk (not as cool as a Moroccan souk...)
Dubai has obviously made huge efforts to be modern and touristic. For me, this was both enjoyable and disturbing. Seeing deliberate city planning is fantastic. One of my favorite parts was the huge fountain, found at the base of the world’s tallest skyscraper and next to one of the world’s largest malls, where I was brought nearly to tears seeing music synchronized so sensitively to water. I loved eating dinner one night outside next to the fountain, stopping every 20 minutes to enjoy the show.
The beach (on the gulf) was lovely as well, and very clean. I was struck by the lack of sunset. The sun was there, and then it was gone, without a vibrant display of color.
I am not a mall magnet. Going to a new country, I wanted to eat Dubai food, see Dubai culture, shop for cultural things in the market. The opposite opportunities were true; most of the people there are expats and so the “culture” was Indian, Iranian, and a mix of many others. I spent my time in three different malls, and several times in one of the biggest. Of course, you can’t go to Dubai without spending time at “Ski Dubai,” an indoor ski park in the biggest mall. For about $60 USD (which included rentals and nifty matching outfits) we skied for two hours on the two slopes. I marveled that I was skiing in the desert, and that my fingers were freezing in this massive indoor fridge. We had a blast, one in our group even learned to ski for the first time. I couldn’t get over the sign inside that read: “Shell helps us keep the environment clean.” Yes, the gas company and the oil country are helping each other keep the environment clean, and I’m helping out too by supporting their endeavors in this energy-sucking desert ski slope.
I was sad to leave my new friends but happy to get back to earthy, dirty, cultural, random Morocco.