If not now – When?

Travels around the world (with Beth and Chris)

Archive for the month “December, 2015”

All that glitters is not gold

Dubai is a land of skyscrapers, opulence, wealth, and tourists. An incredible man-made Palm Tree island is built off of Jumeirah Beach that we were able to get a good bird’s-eye-view of from the 52nd floor observation deck/restaurant of the Marriott.


The tallest building in the world has its home in Dubai (the Burj Kalifa) and is located outside of the world’s largest mall.


It’s full of all these things thanks to the oil found in the 1970’s. Dubai is a nouveau riche place where you will find men in long white robes, red and white scarves (think Arab sheikh), and well-manicured strong hands; the women are wearing head scarves, tastefully dramatic make-up, and beautiful shoes peeking out from under their black abayas. Here in the United Arab Emirates, you’ll also find many various Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Asian “locals”.  We experienced these people and sites as well as a touristy, fun, and “slightly” staged desert safari.


Old Dubai along the Creek, where our charming hotel was located was about a thirty minute metro ride away from the glitz. Here,  in typical off-the-beaten path Leibs fashion, we saw the less glamorous, but equally relevant aspect of Dubai – full of multi-ethnic restaurants (we even tried a camel burger…), the old souks (including the gold souk, where all that glitters IS gold), and of course the merchants hawking us to buy knock-off bags, watches and sunglasses.


We decided to rent a car for the day and drive south through the Arabian desert to Abu Dhabi, and were met with more over the top affluence. We’ve been to many mosques during our travels, but nothing rivals the gleaming Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.



We walk away from Dubai feeling fortunate to have experienced this young culture and look forward to the adventures still in front of us.

Merry Christmas from the United Arab Emirates!


First moments in Dubai

We are in Dubai. After traveling for 12 and a half hours, sitting with an exhausted and loving Pakistani mother and her two kids who was reticent to tell me she was Muslim, we landed in the gleaming Dubai airport. There were gigantically tall mirrored columns and palm trees; at customs we were greeted by men garbed in the traditional long white dishdasha, white ghutrah covering a ghafiyah (the crocheted prayer cap), and secured by a black Agal.



Our hotel, XVA Art Hotel,  is a quaint and open small hotel (our style!) in Old Dubai. We have had tea, heard multiple loud and clear Islamic calls to prayer, visited the ATM for a few dirham, eaten delicious  emitari food (sans wine) in an open air courtyard restaurant where smokey, freshly-made, warm naan was served, and have even seen some Christmas decorations.



Time to explore on the Big Bus City Tour this morning!

More later…..



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