Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dubai: Plane, Metro, Walk, Flat, and Crash

My Dubai flat
 Arrived in Dubai yesterday afternoon via Azerbaijan Airlines.

Being up all night had caught up with me, and I was kind of stupid with drowsiness.

Waited in line to go through UAE customs. Some people had to go stand in line for retinal scans first. Because I have a U.S. passport, I didn't have to do that. (Yet.)

( I hate that whole idea of retinal and other such scans that ultimately allow for greater control of individual human beings and our movements and liberties. And I really dislike how so many folks enthusiastically endorse such things, rationalizing that if we have nothing to hide, then we shouldn't be bothered about it. These are often the same folks who despise so-called government intrusion in our financial lives and who revere corporate liberty.)

Changed money after fumbling around for my debit card. Where the hell did I stash it? I referred again, mentally, to my notes about being too smart for my own good: Security should be effective, but not complicated. It's supposed to protect my stuff from others, not from myself.

My Dubai flat

Found the metro. Bought a reloadable pass card, got myself pointed in the right direction and got on to the correct car. In Dubai, there is a car designated for women and children only, which you can use or not as you wish. I chose to sit on the women's car.

I got off the "red line" train at Union Station, and moved over to the "green line" and then got off at the Palm Deira station. From there I walked on Al Khaleej Street in search of my lodging host's landmarks of Pizza Hut and a phone company. I was to turn down a side street named Sikka. Which I did, but it was the incorrect Sikka, and a local man escorted me to the correct Sikka (21 Sikka versus 9 Sikka). (Reminded me of Playa del Carmen's street-naming system that confused me at first.)

My Dubai flat

Presently, I entered the correct building, went up the elevator and there I was. The flat I'm renting is petite. If "cozy" in real estate terms means small, "petite" means extra tiny. The room is about 10'x12', with an adjoining bathroom with shower. This *is* the flat. No interesting view. But it has what I need: Bed, counter space for laptop work, a kitchenette of sorts with a microwave, toaster, fridge, rice cooker, some plates and utensils, and a shelf (calling it a "counter" would be a bit too grand) for preparing one's meals. The bed is a twin size, covered simply with a flat sheet and a duvet, both white. There's a side chair and an upholstered chair that I think unfolds to another twin bed. A television mounted on the wall.

My Dubai flat

Yura owns this flat, but he has another place on a higher floor. Originally from Turkey, he's into computer programming, and has lived various places in the world, including Georgia (in fact, he loves Georgia). He's been in Dubai for several years.

I found Yura's place via airbnb.com - a great resource for affordable lodging in travel destinations. Yura's flat is $39 per night - a boon for budget travelers like me.

My Dubai flat

I could only book Yura's place for three nights, so I'll have to find new digs for my last two nights.

But for now .... I'm dead. Time to crash.

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