Thursday, July 06, 2006

Greetings from la la land

Well I made it to Dubai without too much difficulty. The flight actually went pretty quickly, but that probably had something to do with the boss and I propping up the bar for much of the journey. Top travel tip - if possible drink champagne on flights - it gets you nicely merry but you still have your wits about you once you land, to tackle immigration and all that without appearing as someone they probably shouldn't be letting into the country.
It was very nice to fly Virgin upper class again. But this time we didn't get a fancy amenity pack, although I think the designer socks and sleepsuit (pyjamas) more than made up for it. I've taken 1 for me and 1 for Alison, as I know she likes her jimjams. It was a really smooth flight, not like BA and their wobbly 747s.
Dubai is not as excruciatingly hot as I thought it might be. Yes, 2 minutes outside in the day and you'll be sweating buckets, but by the evening it's ok to wander around a bit. It is, however, enveloped in a constant shroud of pollution/sand/ozone - not really sure which - but everything's very hazy. I'll take some photos so you can have a look (I bought some batteries for my borrowed camera...).
It's actually quite nice to be back here, to say hi to everyone in the branch again (we're going out for a big meal on Saturday) and see how things are changing. They've already put up the first few floors of the Burj Dubai, but it's not impressive yet. What I do like are the quaint things that you don't see in many places - the old fashioned detachable ring pulls on Coke cans, and every room in the hotel has a little compass facing east for a spot of praying. Oh yes, the hotel is very nice. I just spent 10 minutes trying to figure out why even though I put the TV on mute, I could still hear it - turned out that the sound was coming from the bathroom - so you have to turn it down in there too!? I'll post a picture of the view if I can - tremendous from the 37th floor all the way to the Persian Gulf on one side, massive buildling sites and cranes on the other. There's one proper road in Dubai, and all the towers are on it - which means if you go more than one block either direction you'll not find anything taller than 2 storeys. It's kinda strange.
Well tomorrow is the official weekend, so we're going to visit the infamous ski slope, and then do a bit of window shopping. I might buy some cheap shirts, or perhaps a bar of gold or two....

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