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For about two weeks I studied abroad in Dubai. It was winter break of the 2009-2010 school year and the trip included environmental, design and journalism students who rang the new year in together on a beach with expatriots from around the world.
Through the whole trip, one image dominated – literally. Even when we couldn’t see the tallest building in the world, we were surrounded by reminders. From the scale Lego model at Dubai World to the gift shop postcards and newspaper headlines, it was everywhere.
We couldn’t wait for the January 4th opening and a chance see the view from the top. We knew it would be spectacular – and we weren’t disappointed. From big lights to big noises, the event had everything. There was even the twist of a last minute name change from Burj Dubai to Burj khalifa.
What I didn’t expect were the little things – the individual voices and faces that made up the crowds pooling in streets and courtyards all over Dubai to gaze upwards together and form something even greater than the fireworks.
Tags: anniversary, Burj Dubai, Burj Khalifa, crowd, drummers, Dubai, fireworks, group experience, kids, luxury hotel, musicians, singers, UAE, United Arab Emirates
The only thing better than getting to see the world is getting to see it along with someone who means the world to me – thank you for everything…
… I can’t wait to see what comes next!
Tags: Abu Dhabi, Arizona, Dubai, Happy Valentine's Day, Kansas, Lawrence, Mexico, New Zealand, Nogales, Phoenix, Sharjah, Sonora, Taupo, United Arab Emirates
I’ve been putting in some work on my practice mock-up website, using material from the winter break trip to Dubai. This reminded me that the trip blog still needed a little tweaking here and there – fixing links and photo alignment, covering any gaps in the travel. I’ll be transplanting a few of the entries like this one over here and adding to them, because this work has me remembering the trip in a way I haven’t had time to do since the semester started, and boy, did we see some incredible things – some, like Dubai Mall‘s aquarium, have even made the news since we were there! In this map view, the Burj Khalifa building site is still under construction right next door…
How does an aquarium work in a mall, you may ask? Think of it this way – what if you had to walk through this :
to get to this?
OK, at Dubai Mall it’s more like walk past, but it’s still the first mall that I’ve ever been to that had actual sharks in it. Along with all the stores and a little thing called the Burj Khalifah, there’s a three story aquarium featuring everything from otters to crabs to the people who go diving in the largest tank. An aquarium ticket lets you walk through the main tank’s tunnel and see the rest of the store from inside.
Tags: aquairum, Dubai, Dubai Mall, sharks, shopping, study abroad, travel, tunnels, UAE, United Arab Emirates
Sometimes traveling isn’t possible – time, money and finals can all get in the way. But, to flip a famous saying, if you can’t go to the mountain, maybe you can bring part of the mountain to you. Photos, souvenirs and maps are all great ways to relive or predict get trips.
Another way is recreating a dish from somewhere else that tastes fantastic. While in Dubai over winter break, I made sure to pick up saffron in Dubai’s colorful spice markets – a lot of saffron. Now that we’re back, Steven’s putting it to good use.
Part of cooking with saffron is knowing how much to use. It really only takes a tiny, tiny pinch to turn a whole pot of rice yellow, and our 20 dirham stash will probably last us years if used judiciously. Steven said he marinated the chicken breasts normally – in this case using Italian dressing – and then sprinkled the saffron on top while it cooked in a broiler pan.
The saffron chicken here is served over white rice, also cooked with saffron, and with sauteed onions, mushrooms and chives – and it was amazing! Steven’s also made hummus and lebnah, and they’re delicious too – I can imagine I’m sitting in a cafe nearly anywhere on the Mediterranean. But the saffron – that brings back the sights, sounds, and most importantly the smells of Dubai’s spice souks.
At times like these when work restrictions make my movements limited, it takes a bit of effort to ignore spring weather and the travel advertisements that suddenly seem to be everywhere. But I enjoy knowing that I’m far from cut off from the world – it’s just a few steps and a few minutes away in a plastic compact on the spice rack. And the saffron will last a lot longer than the Arabic labeled chocolate bars did!
Tags: budget travel, chives, Dubai, finals, kitchen, Mediterranean, mushrooms, onions, recipe, saffron chicken, spices, travel eating
Sometimes when we’re stuck in the thick of things – like the beginning of final project season! – we have to take little breaks and live vicariously through others. Ever sit around and wonder, “what have New Zealand Herald travel writers been up to?” I do – and the answer is, a lot!
Find out what David Brown discovered about gorilla tourism – this is something I really hope to do someday.
See how Jim Eagles learned to look at travel in new ways – I’m really curious to see what kinds of trips Innovative Travel will develop based off of Julie Woods’ ideas.
Find out why Stuart Dye sees Dubai as all petal, no stem – I can see Dye’s point, but I think I liked the souks more than he did.
Learn from Michael Brown what not to miss before or after seeing the World Cup in South Africa this summer – if things don’t work out this summer with my internship hopes, I may console myself by running away and checking out the first World Cup in Africa.
As for my real life right now : the light (and palm tree) at the end of the tunnel are at least in sight… That means, at some point, more posts here including my suggestions for where to eat on a trip to Tucson and the pros / cons of commuting for research, and of course, more photos – thanks for bearing with me just a little longer!
Tags: Dubai, gorillas, Innovative Travel, New Zealand Herald, Rwanda, sightseeing, South Africa, TNT, Tomorrow's News Today, World Cup
Tonight, the Burj Dubai opened, renamed as the Burj Khalifa. Many made it downtown to the event, including some of our team from ASU, and even more watched the event from all over the city including this group near the Mercato Shopping Mall in Jumeirah. But the event wasn’t just about a building opening – the 4th of January is 4th anniversary of Sheikh Mohammed becoming the ruler of Dubai – check out the last picture of the Burj al-Arab wishing him the best. A few more photos can be found by posters like nileshzw, who’s already linked photos to the Burj Khalifa’s location on Google Maps, as well as more coverage through Gulf News and Dubai City Guide.
If you look backwards at my blog, you’ll see why I’m visiting Dubai and some of the recent news I looked at before I came. I’ll be updating shortly on the trip so far – including how I ended up trying something completely new, spontaneous, and totally unexpected – so check back to see what’s been happening and what will happen next.
Also, while you’re here, tell me what you think about fireworks – what’s your favorite kind, favorite color, or favorite fireworks memory?
Tags: ASU, Burj Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Dubai, fireworks, Jumeirah, memories, Mercato, study abroad
It’s really interesting here – so many amazing buildings, and most of them empty! Also, I’ve seen women wearing the black abaya my friend living in Saudi Arabia was discussing – I’m not sure I could pull it off, I’m warm in the light long sleeve shirt I wore for dune smashing yesterday. I’m also very curious to see what the New Year’s Event tonight will be like. The place we’re going has two night clubs, and I really don’t know what to expect.
I don’t think we’ve met any Emiratis yet – everyone is from somewhere else…
This morning, we’ll see a couple of things, including the Emirates Hills which I understand is to be a sustainably built housing development, and then we’ll have a break in the afternoon which I hope to use to get a few pictures up, if I can get through the school filters, which don’t like images.
Tags: ASU, camels, Dubai, dune smashing, Emirates Hills, study abroad
Here’s the announcement – after a little bit of background information on the United Arab Emirates and, in particular, the emirate of Dubai.
Dubai has been in the news a bit this fall – like the rest of the world, the country’s finances are less ideal than they have been in the past. Recent coverage in US media includes Wall Street Journal‘s Dubai: A High Rise, Then a Steep Fall on Dec 4 and the New York Times‘ photo essay Dubai’s Improbably Tale.
This Monday, the BBC reported more mixed news, with Abu Dhabi gives Dubai $10bn to help pay debts and Gulf News had this article: Dubai issues new legal framework to deal with Dubai World disputes. All this may be especially relevant to Phoenix, given the relationship between the two cities.
As far as regular and background information, one of the best sites is Gulf News. More coverage can often be found through Al Jazeera English and the BBC’s regional coverage.
To finish the background information, you can’t talk about Dubai without talking about the construction…
So, why all the information about Dubai? Well, when I posted this October entry, I had just heard about an opportunity – I was in a hopeful mood, and now that it’s finalized, I can make a bit of an announcement…
I’ll be taking a trip over winter break through ASU Study Abroad. The program is called A Tale of Two Cities – Dubai and Phoenix. It’s led by Jamil AlShraiky who specializes in healthcare design industry at ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. As for the troup, we’re an interdisciplinary bunch including students from design, healthcare, and journalism programs. The blog is already up here.
Yes, I’m REALLY excited, and yes, I’ll be writing about it. How much will be posted live from on-site will depend on internet access, which has been described as “really good dial-up…we’re sure it will work if your computers are right.” But there will definitely be somethings as the trip unfolds, as well as (probably tons of) pictures by mid-January when we get back.
Tags: ASU, BBC, construction, design, Dubai, healthcare, journalism, New York Times, Phoenix, study abroad, sustainability, Wall Street Journal, winter break
Seems everyone’s taking a hit these days, if to slightly different degrees… This caught my eye, as I’d already been planning some posts on Dubai, which will be coming later (those of you reading this one now are ahead of the game).
Anyway, I’m not sure who’s the primary source on this article, so I’m listing both and you can choose which one to read.
Dubai’s ruler downsizes ambitions amid crisis
What’s to downsize? Dubai has used oil money for all kinds of architectural and engineering projects. See below for a few, though just a warning, the first one requires a head for heights…
Tags: budget, downsizing, Dubai, news, oil, United Arab Emirates