Saturday, 7 June 2008

1st Update

I am sitting in a little internet cafe under a tube line with trains rumbling over my head, and its raining and cold outside (surprise surprise).

Firstly I had a very long flight to Dubai with a transit stop in Melbourne. I had a headache for half the flight and didnt get much sleep. I arrived in Dubai about 6am and it was already 25deg. I was met by the airport transfer people and was put on a little bus with a group of other people and shuttled to our hotels.I had an 'apartment' room to my self with a little kitchen and a very welcome double bed! I put on the tv and watched a cartoon about arab women going shopping in their burkas and a face mask thing which ive never seen. Later that day I saw one lady at a mall actually wearing one. It's like a metal t-bar across the forehead, down the nose, covers the cheeks. weird. Anyway so i get ready at the hotel and prepare to go out and find my bus tour ive booked- turns out the bus stops one block from me so I walk. the streets are empty and a few men standing around look at me. I wonder if im allowed on the street and where are all the women?

While waiting for the bus I have a wander around my first mall of the day (Dubai has 37 malls) which is 4 floors (!!) of designer brands, marble floors and water fountains.I get on the bus and hop off at Wafi City (a Mall.) (Wafi means everything) and have a look around.. its shaped like a pyramid and hasegypt pillars everywhere. Its nearly 11am by this stage, and there is hardly anyone in the mall and the shops are all shut. Eventually people are opening their shops and people start filling up the mall - I think everyone was off praying, thats why I was the only person in town? By the way the temperature at 11am ish is now at 34-35deg..

What struck me first about the city is that the air is full of sand dust and its a light sandy grey colour - the sun is a white hot sunshines through the haze and melts you - and it is a haze, you cant see buildings across town very clearly yet the air around you looks clear.The people are very friendly and all speak english.we drive past the beach club which cost 20dirhams to drive into to access the beach- it has lots of facilities thats why you pay.although you can go down the road further and park up by the beach for free with no facilities.

I saw the burj al arab, the tallest tower ever (they build one new floor a week) i saw a few more malls and a traditional souk(market)that was really neat, (I have photos of everything I saw and theyre all on facebook)we drove past the citys new rail system which is being build entirely upon viaduct bridges and cost a few billion and will transport 1.2million people a day when its finished. there are construction workers everywhere. the city is planting so much flowers and grass and trees they go through couple of million gallons of desalinated water a day with constant drip feeding just to keep the plants alive. what they have to do is import dirt and fertilizer,let it sit and then plant the plants. everywhere you see grass abruptly end and then its just sand.

In the afternoon the temperature could have been around 37 and riding on the open air bus felt like walking through those vents that blast all the shops hot air out into the street. I felt my eyes drying out! i bought dinner from the supermarket 'Spinnys' only two doors from my hotel so that was handy, I slowly walked back and had another shower just after 5ish and fell asleep sitting up eating my food. I woke up with food still in my hand..

Next morning got up early (4am for 5am transfer )and got to airport. We are all aboard for 7:45am flight and the air system on the plane was stuck on 35deg. and the tvs werent working. we sat on the plane for nearly an hour flaking out from the heat (oh that was just me) eventually they unloaded us all, shuffled us into a restaurant for breakfast and put us back through control and into waiting room for a few hours!!! while they changed planes and found some more crew members. i fell asleep, and eventually about 12:30 we boarded and left. everyone cheered.

Got to london about 6pm ish, got a ticket for heathrow connect straight to paddington where a nice indian guy was going the same way as me so he helped me buy a ticket, navigate the stations and find where I was going (what an angel) After lugging 36kgs (yes thats what the airport weighed my luggage at) up and down stairs, up and down alivators and in and out of trains I got to my flat :D yayyyy

I met the flatties, they are really nice and we chat and watch tv. There are the 4 of us girls staying in our room (brooke leaving in two weeks then there will be 3) got up this morning and did my washing and set up my banking stuff and here I am. Feels surreal ... like that feeling you get when you move into a new flat or go somewhere different - you almost cant believe your there, and its just a matter of learning how everything works, where things are etc. fantastic

P.S My new UK NUMBER is 07776309585. but still txt me on 0212624757 aswell.
My address is Flat 1, 4 Woodstock Road, Golders Green, London, NW11 8ER
My flat phone number is 0044-02087316331 ( think you drop the first 0)

I'm off to sainsburys the supermarket just round the corner to buy food now cos i havnt eaten much at all in the 3 days since leaving home :0

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