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There’s something unreal about Dubai.  As we got our first glimpse of the city driving from the airport in the middle of the night, it reminded me of Las Vegas – only bigger, taller, cleaner, shinier.  Dubai oozes wealth.  Having been in Dar es Salaam less than 24 hours earlier, the boys and I were even more struck by the incredibly high standard of living here.

Everything in Dubai is so new.  The city was literally built in the last 13 years.  The story of Dubai and it’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is a fascinating one.  (If you’re not familiar with it, I’d recommend watching a 60 Minutes piece called Dubai, Inc., that ran a few years ago.  The boys and I watched it online.)

We are incredibly fortunate to be staying at the apartment of our friends, Shiv and Amber and their two children.  Sadly, they are out of the country, but nonetheless, have been very hospitable.  It’s such a relief to be in a home enviroment with a kitchen and laundry machines!  That’s how we spent the first part of our day in Dubai… doing laundry.  We’re so glamorous!

In the afternoon, we took the above-ground subway train (Metro) to the Mall of the Emirates, home of Ski Dubai, the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East.  We’d watched the show, Extreme Engineering, and had seen how it was built.  That process was far more impressive than the actual ski hill.  I could ski the Black Diamond here!  (At home, I stick to the green trails.) Granted, we’re spoiled.  We’ve seen the Alps!  But plenty of people paid for the experience, as the place was packed.

Ski Dubai is difficult to photograph.  You can see the ski run in the upper left.

Ski Dubai is difficult to photograph. You can see the ski run in the upper left.

The one thing that Dubai seems to be missing?  A sense of place.  I hope that we discover it in the next few days.