Bootyshorts to Burkas and Everything in Between – A Quick Stop in Dubai

8 Oct

On my way to Morocco I had a quick (read 12 hour) layover in Dubai. If that wasn’t culture shock, I don’t know what is. There was gold on marble on gold on shiny lights and Gucci and stuff… in the airport.

We decided to venture out into the city, since it was midnight, and still 100 degrees; I really don’t think you could walk around in the daytime. We saw the tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa) next to an Astin Martin dealership, the other tallest building in the world, a Las Vegas type fountain show thing and rode in a metered taxi… that was an Audi. But I think the most interesting part of my few hours exploring the night of Dubai was the metro ride into the city.

In the 20 foot space of the metro car I heard 15 languages (I think), saw more nationalities, and every possible dress style. Now to be fair I have been living in a very homogeneous place for the past two years, but I thought I had seen diversity. I mean, I worked in Geneva. But this one metro car had more types of people than I had ever seen in one place at one time. Dubai really is an international city.

One of the misconceptions I get day in and day out here in Ethiopia is that all Americans are white, except for Beyonce and professional athletes, never mind every other hyphen-American. America is one of the most diverse countries in the world, in general our immigration and refugee policies have created a mixed salad of life. The food I miss most here isn’t pizza, it’s other ethnic foods! Pad Thai, pho, fajitas, dahl, and hummus. I could punch a baby for some feta. But Dubai was something else entirely, though New York probably gives it a run for its money.

At some point I’ll see Dubai for more than a few hours outside the airport, but until then, I’ll just jump at the chance for some frozen yogurt in Terminal B and a chat with the German-Vietnamese woman sitting next to me.

 

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The Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

 

 

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