There isn’t much to be said here.
Enjoy the following pictures, then go outside. I will miss the desert and the mountains and the sea, but thankfully, the magnificence of Creation exists everywhere.
Now I see the secret of the making of the best persons,
It is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.- Walt Whitman
It may be cliche, but I’ll say it anyway: Dubai is truly international. Arabs, Africans, Indians, Pakistanis, Filipinos, Europeans, a smattering of Americans, and every other country or combination of ethnicities in the world has a presence in Dubai (and really good restaurants!) If it’s a form of cuisine, it’s here, it’s authentic, and it’s usually cheap. I’m especially going to miss shawarmas with the perfect amount of garlic sauce and naan/peshwari chicken induced food babies from Muhammad Iqbal. I’m also going to miss hearing so many languages, especially getting to practice my Egyptian Arabic and tossing around “yalla” and “khalas” everywhere I went! And I always got a kick out of English words transliterated into Arabic. Getting to have politics and religions classes with people from all over the globe was truly a privilege, and, inshallah, I’m definitely going to get more involved with the International Students Association at Drake when I get back. At the risk of sounding like a hippy, I loved getting to experience such diversity and most (not all) people abandoning any kind of serious prejudice or racism. One World, One Love!
And for those who may think Dubai doesn’t have much of a culture (me, in the past), I can confirm this is definitely false. While there’s not much left as far as buildings go, there is definitely a distinct Gulf culture under the surface of the city. More than that, I think the mixing of cultures, even since before the oil boom, has created a distinctly Dubai culture. Plus, there are Dubai memes, and if that doesn’t prove an area has its own culture, I don’t know what will.
4) City Life
Like my man Jay-Z says, big lights will inspire you. I knew Dubai was a big, bright, brilliant, busy city before I came, but then I arrived here! Its literally insane. When the Burj Khalifa lights up in tandem with the Fountain as you soar through traffic on a Friday night, it really is something else. Its quite a big change from Nebraska and Iowa, to say the least. The skyline is almost cartoonish from certain angles because there are so many buildings crammed together. My friend Aaron described it best: “It basically looks like Coruscant.
I love finding people everywhere all the time, wandering through unreasonably large malls, and the metro. This city does public transportation right, and the metro is fast and clean (because if you do anything wrong, they’ll fine you like crazy). Surprisingly, there are super nice parks here. Safa Park is gorgeous and great place to play football or have a picnic, both of which I did multiple times. I’ve also come to love seeing rich Dubians fly through traffic on Skaygh Zeid Road with no regard to cameras, cars, common decency. Apparently some of the locals refer to their speeding fines as a “tax on speed” — just something you pay every year. It’s quite endearing in its own way.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated this thing, but life has certainly continued. Currently, I’m basking in the ridiculously hot weather, eating a lot of manaeesh, and enjoying being finished with school. I leave for Palestine and Egypt this weekend, but until then, I’ll attempt to condense my semester in Dubai and share some of the best pictures from the last four months by listing the Top 5 Things I’ll Miss about Dubai.
5) AUD, the American University in Dubai
AUD - A magical land where the bookstore doesn’t screw you over, coffee from the vending machines is bafflingly delicious, and the “close” button in the elevators always work. It really is the little things that count. At first, I hated having security guards posted at every gate into the university and the dorms. Now, I’m already missing their smiling faces. Perhaps they could send one to my house in Des Moines, you know, where all the shootings are. Academically, spending a semester learning about Islamic history, politics, and religion was fantastic and deeply satisfied my inner geek. I was also able to help teach some great guys during English classes put on by one of the university clubs for expatriate workers.