I finally arrived in Dubai on Sunday night and I'm now getting around to writing about it!
"So far, so good" is the short version. People are asking if it's what I expected and I honestly do know what my expectations were, but I like what I've seen/ done so far. My hotel room is awesome-- has a living room and mini kitchen and a very nice balcony. This will be my home for a month while I find a place to live.
I went into the office on Monday morning and that was good. People seem very nice and friendly and eager to meet people. And it's always nice to be in the office with no work to do :). I'm hoping to spend a couple weeks "on the beach" without work.
I also went to religious services on Monday night and the Ismaili Centre in Dubai is AMAZING-- the nicest one I've ever seen. I didn't really meet people, but it was cool just to see the beautiful place.
Also, on Monday night the UAE government declared Eid (end of Ramadan) to be on Tuesday, one day earlier than expected, so the rest of the week was holiday. No work Tues-Thurs! Pretty cool for me, but slightly weird that the whole city can shut down based on a 8:30 pm decision by the government the night before.
Tuesday I hung out with some British lawyers courtesy my American coworker. There's apparently a group of like 80 British lawyers who are all working in Dubai for 6 mos. They were very cool and it was nice to get plugged into an expat network.
Wednesday I checked out the Mall of the Emirates, which is the big mall in Dubai with the indoor ski slopes. The malls here are really just bigger versions of U.S. malls with more stores. This mall has a huge Walmart-type grocery store, plus the ski slope of course, which looks awesome. Pretty much all the stores and restaurants are imports of US and European stores. I really wonder if the UAE has any brands of its own. This mall food court had: KFC, Papa Johns, Hardees, Chilis, McDonalds, Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Seattle's Best Coffee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, etc-- more All-American brands than you'd find in any American mall! We also went to DragonMart on Wed, which is an enormous Chinese swapmeet. It was crazy! You could buy clothes, electronics (fake iPhones, etc), furniture, electrics, etc. Quite the scene.
Anyway, as you can see, I have managed to keep busy and I'm having fun meeting a lot of friends of friends that you all have put me in touch with, so please keep the contacts coming! I have been bad about taking pics so far, but I'll try to change that and post em soon! Miss you all!!!