DUBAI TO YOU

So I promised you the adventures of Brian, International Courier. It’s not as glamorous as it sounds, unless you think a 17 hour flight in Economy Class is glamorous!

I was hired by a company called Filmworks Dubai to bring four astronaut costumes from California to the Middle Eastern city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. There are signs of construction everywhere you look in Dubai, and one of the things they’ve built is an amusement park with a space theme called Stargate. They needed the spacesuits to shoot a commercial for the new attraction and they needed them fast.

Of course, when I informed my friends that I was off to Dubai on just a day’s notice, a few of them feared for my safety. I wasn’t too worried and when I actually got to Dubai, I found the city to be even safer and more comfortable than I imagined. True, I was getting the tourist’s eye view, but much of the city’s economy is geared towards tourism and the service is top notch. Every single person I met spoke at least some English, plus all the signs are in English as well as Arabic. What really amazed me was in the Hallmark Store at the Dubai Mall, every single card was in English. Every single one!

I had a few days to check out the city during the production of the Stargate commercial and saw quite a bit. My first stop was Souk Madinat Jumeirah. A souk is a traditional Arab market, although this particular souk, while designed with a traditional Arabic look, is part of a beautiful new resort and has many modern restaurants and bars which open out onto patio seating on a beautiful lagoon with a view of the famous Burj Al Arab hotel. The first thing I saw upon walking into the Souk were outlets for Cinnabon, Baskin Robbins and Starbucks. See what I mean about feeling right at home? Although I was a bit more experimental with the meals I had there, eating dinner at a Japanese noodle house and lunch at a Lebanese restaurant.

The next day I headed downtown for a look at two of the city’s new malls. First up was the Dubai Mall, billed as the world’s largest, and I believe it! It featured such highlights as a two story aquarium, dancing fountains like those at the Bellagio, and the biggest food court I have ever seen. And while I was stunned by the food court, most visitors would have probably been more impressed by The Gold Souk section within the mall, which features over 180 jewelry stores, one after another!

I next took a taxi to the Mall Of The Emirates. While not as amazingly large as the Dubai Mall, it does have an impressive claim to fame, an indoor ski resort called Ski Dubai whichhad attracted large crowds of teens and children skiing, snowboarding or just throwing snowballs.

Both malls were full of the same chain stores you see here in America. In fact, walking past the stores, you might not have realized you were even in a foreign country except for the many men and women in traditional Arabic clothes. I have to hand it to them: as a Muslim, you are suppoed to wear modest clothing to cover up your body. What this translates to is wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts in one of the hottest places I’ve ever been.

And speaking of hot, the next day I hit the beach and was in turn hit by a mild case of sunstroke. The problem was the water temperature. While in the U.S., you jump in the ocean to cool off, but in Dubai, it’s warm in the water. There was just no getting away from the heat, at least until I left the beach and recovered in a nearby covered courtyard with jets of cool water rising from the floor.

Sunday I visited Shindagha, the original site from which Dubai grew and which is preserved as a living history museum. Nearby is Dubai Creek, home of the traditional markets the Gold Souk and the Spice Souk. I also ate lunch at a cafe in Bastakiya, a site of traditional courtyard houses and art galleries. The cafe had complimentary copies of the local English language newspaper, The National, and I was happy to read the Lakers made it into the NBA Finals.

Finally on my last full day in the city, I checked out the Stargate attraction (which is due to open in three weeks and was full of workmen adding finishing touches) and watched the filming of the segment of the commercial using the astronaut uniforms I brought to Dubai. I’ve been on quite a few sets in my life and none of them have used the amount of bottled water they needed to keep the crew hydrated in Dubai!

After a long flight back to California, fortunately I was still awake enough to convince the customs agent that the astronaut costumes were not being imported for sale and should not be locked up until I can pay a broker to get them for me. I just hope that 32 hours after I woke up this morning in Dubai, this post is every bit as coherent as my argument!

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4 Responses to “DUBAI TO YOU”

  1. Flash Says:

    Welcome back – wow… the life of Brian.

  2. Stargate Atlantis Says:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  3. Terri Says:

    You have such exciting stories and adventures, Brian. You gave such a great description of Dubai – makes we want to go vacation there!

  4. Disco King Says:

    Have you considered being a personal tour guide. After reading your fun packed
    adventures in Dubai you make me want to visit there.

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