Dubai - I am back!

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July 13th 2018
Published: July 16th 2018
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I left Dubai, or the Middle East, almost three years after having done a three year plus stint for work. I spent a year traveling or spending time with family and friends. Then I got a new job in upstate New York, but I think that most of you know that, for a multitude of reasons, I was very unhappy there. I was contacted by my former company (having kept in touch with various colleagues over the years), and now I am back. This time based totally in Dubai.

I took about six weeks off between jobs to prepare, but it flew by and there actually is still quite a bit left to do, but I got all the major stuff done. I hope. It was hectic yet so fun to spend time with everyone and to take a little break. My mother organized a "bon voyage party" for me a couple weeks before I left, and it was the highlight of my time off as my cousins came from New Jersey and Canada to see me off. I loved it. I think I will do a separate blog about my time between jobs as a lot happened then!

Then it was time to go. I got a flight on Emirates, though sadly in economy this time. Fortunately I had an aisle seat on the A380 and had pretty good seat mates, so it was a decent 13-hour flight from DC to Dubai. I watched quite a few movies that were all great (I,Tonya, Game Night, Murder on the Orient Express, and my favorite Interstellar), not to mention some of the World Cup, so I didn't sleep much.

I had quite a bit of luggage, but was met by a driver from my new hotel, where I'll be living for the first three weeks. When I first walked into the hotel, I was a little unsure, but it's actually quite nice. Very good location, especially when it comes to getting to the office. Breakfast is included, or it is included in the price I was quoted at, but it is probably the best breakfast I've had at any hotel - huge variety, nice setting, and professional staff.

My company rented a car for me and I got my residency visa in a week. The Emirati guy at the ID place was super nice and we chatted for a bit while I waited for my coworker; the whole visa process was actually easy and efficient. My rental car is expensive and a complete piece of crap - I don't know if it will hold up for the month I have it rented for. I'm looking at apartments and cars, so I should be settled by the end of the month. Such a difference from the first time when I was in the hotel for two months before I got my visa, then wound up going to Qatar anyway...

My first foray out was to my favorite: Mall of the Emirates. So much has remained the same but a few things have changed and the VIP movie experience is one of them. It seems more complicated and expensive; I haven't done it yet, but maybe next weekend.

Dubai Aquarium

My second foray was to the Dubai Mall. I like to go early because it gets crowded so quickly. While walking around I realized I had never experienced the Dubai Aquarium so I figured I would do it now. I got an "Explorer" ticket, which allowed me to walk through the underwater tunnel and visit the zoo, plus get a tour of the facilities and an open top boat ride. The tunnel was pretty cool, where I watched the scuba divers checking on the tank, but I actually quite liked the zoo. At first when I walked through, there were just various types of fish that were a bit boring, but they were also from everywhere; a few of them were super cool. But there were also otters, and crocodiles (so sad to have them trapped in such a small cage!), and birds in the trees above. Also some penguins! The penguins were cute, but it did not seem to be the right environment, same as for those poor giant crocodiles. Otherwise, I thought the zoo was very well done. It was cool to see the seahorses and frogs and things like that.

I went for my behind the scenes tour with Tina, who was very nice. She showed me how the fish and other species were bred, how they were fed, and how they were tended to if sick. She fed the giant fish which splashed about and then led me to a slightly strange video with a baby Crusher like turtle narrator. Then we got into the glass bottomed boat, but while it was pleasant, the quality of the glass was not good so you could not really see anything.

However, I am very glad I experienced it.

Friend Time

After the aquarium, I went to visit one of my besties here, Sam, who had her first baby last month. The little baby is super adorable, and tiny. It was so nice to catch up, but maaaan I miss my nieces and nephews! I haven't gone out much, but probably the first time I've been officially out is to watch the World Cup final between Croatia and France with my friends at my old haunt: McGettigan's in JLT. It was pretty smart as you paid 100 dirham cover charge (about $30), but they gave you three tickets for house drinks - so you got your money's worth, they got guaranteed money, and the majority of the staff didn't have to worry about taking money. Sorry, Croatia - still a very exciting game, I thought. And oh lord did I reek of smoke when I got home. I still smell like it today, despite a long shower this morning. I did not miss the smoking and non-existent non-smoking sections.


Yeah, did NOT miss the driving either. It definitely takes some getting used to. Everyone is always in a flipping hurry and uses their horns way too much. The moves they pull scare me. And if you miss your turn in Dubai, it takes you at least 15 minutes to correct it as Dubai is just a series of one way streets and highways with tons of construction.


I feel like I'm complaining a lot, but in truth I am very happy to be back. The work is so exciting - I already have more emails in my inbox in two weeks than I had in two years at my last job. I'm already getting stressed! I had to tell myself to chill out - I dove right into everything, but the truth is, I'm just starting out. There are so many people here from before, so I feel comfortable just going for it at work. But in reality, some things have changed, especially the management, so I just need to get a better understanding before I get myself into trouble.

I've enjoyed getting out to
Dubai Mall AquariumDubai Mall AquariumDubai Mall Aquarium

find a happy place, find a happy place!
see some of my favorite things, or as above, trying new things. I feel like, despite the constant one way directions, the roads are in great shape - for a city this size, I'm kind of amazed by the minimal traffic. *knock on wood*. I'm sure as summer ends and people come back and kids return to school, we'll see what it's really like.

This blog may be a little non-cohesive. I blame my computer situation. I bought a MacBook Pro when I first arrived here six years ago. six years later, it is on its last legs. It's actually doing pretty well, but can't seem to keep an internet connection. So, I decided it was time for a new one. I spent a pretty penny purchasing that (ugh the ordeal I almost forgot about... see below), only to get home and discover that friggin Apple decides you don't need a USB port. Or an SD card port. Nope. Seriously, this is why I hate Apple products, but now I just spent a ton of money on one. Really annoying... anyway, fortunately, this month is some big sales month all over Dubai, so I got the computer on sale
Dubai Mall AquariumDubai Mall AquariumDubai Mall Aquarium

I thought he was cute - he kept staring at me, I almost wanted to pet him
as well as 300 dirham voucher. I was able to use the voucher the next day and got an adapter for it. Eff you Apple!

So, the purchasing experience. The guy that helped me pick my computer was super nice, and yeah probably not an uber professional (such as neglecting to mention the change regarding the missing ports), but he was pleasant and helpful. It took a while, but I am in an electronics store where just about everything except accessories is a major purchase. At the register, this woman next to me, I realized she was trying to pull a fast one and the guys were not having it; she changed her story every time they told her something that was not in her favor. Meanwhile, a British couple comes behind me in line and, not joking, they're there maybe two minutes before the guys starts yelling at the poor workers behind the register about him having to wait! It just really p*ssed me off and ruined what had actually been a pleasant shopping experience for me - between her yelling and screaming the guy yelling and screaming....

In the end, all you can do, all I
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it took a few minutes to spot the seahorse
can do, is be kind myself

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Dubai Mall AquariumDubai Mall Aquarium
Dubai Mall Aquarium

Underwater Zoo had some cool birds in the "treetops"
My nephew's 5th birthdayMy nephew's 5th birthday
My nephew's 5th birthday

The Mario Kart cake that I made for him!

17th July 2018

It's wonderful to have you back in Dubai...
I look forward to reading about all our adventures, including the bad experiences as these give a balanced view of the intercultural confrontations. I agree with you...just treat everyone with kindness.
20th July 2018

Good to see you back in Dubai
You always seem happy in Dubai so we are eager to hear how it goes this time. It is a great spot to get to other places around the world. Has it changed much since you were there last? I love Apple products and sorry you've had trouble. I'm in need of a new one as I bought this one in 2008. I'm waiting for the new release. Hopefully soon.

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