Old Dubai

Finally got some good sleep. Almost 7 hours. Feels brilliant. I’m up earlier than everyone else still so I set up the blog station again. On the table are the souvenir camel pics from Camp Al Aweer last night, Kelvin must have picked em up. Camels and pylons, the best.

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Aslan is a crazy cat. He’s making clicking noises at a bird on the patio through the window. I’ve never heard a cat make clicking noises. He does this for a while and then races over to the top of the couch and zones the fuck out staring at the TV while it’s off. Maybe he’s freaked out by his reflection. Maybe he’s reflecting on his 8 passed lives

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Everybody’s up and at em now. Michaela makes us some spam and eggs for breakfast.

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I look for a lil sumpin sumpin to put on the eggs but have no idea what any of it is

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While people are getting ready Peter and I take care of some business. I reconnect with Drive South Africa and send more details to make sure we fully secure the Safari truck in Cape Town. Fuck yes, we’ve definitely got it!

Waldo has sent us a great detailed list of things to do in Johannesburg. Peter and I put together a timeline and I get back to him with our loose itinerary. Waldo is online messaging back and forth with me now. He’s hooking us up. Offering vegetarian meals if need be, now asking about beer preferences. Being very considerate. I think he wants to show us a good time. Says he has a South African event to take us to on Friday. This is working out awesome.

Peter picks up tickets to the Burj Khalifa for tomorrow before we go to the airport. Hopefully we don’t get too tuned up at the England – Croatia game tonight and sleep through it. I’ve got a secret score to settle with Agent Getz in that tower.

Our planning took a bit longer than expected so probably not going to the mosque in Abu Dhabi. We’d been kicking the idea around. It would be rad to see another city here and this mosque is supposed to be an incredible sight. I might be templed out for life after SEA and Japan, but this is the 3rd largest mosque in the world or something. Michaela says she likes it more than the Taj Mahal. Well shit. Nah, it’s a long drive and I really wanna see Old Town, it’ll give us a feel for where Dubai came from.

Alright we’re off. Grab 5 million bottles of water to prepare for the heat and get to the door. Michaela shuts off the AC, “My electricity bill is $250 this month, AC’s a bitch!”

Elevator selfie!

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Down to the Rav 4, vewwwwft, sunglasses fog up the instant we step outside. We hit the highway back into town and fortunately don’t hear Ghost Busters on the way. Sand crusted sky scrapers on either side. Michaela tells us about a picture frame building that we can see in the distance. It frames old and new Dubai on a clear day depending which direction you look through it. You can take a tour inside of it and the history of Dubai is displayed as you go up and around it. That sounds kinda neat. We drive right passed it but at no point am I able to snap a decent pic of it. Could be an interesting thing to do if I pass this way again.

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We park up and walk into Old Dubai. The original buildings are preserved here for a number of blocks and are now occupied by art and souvenir shops, rugs, sheesha shops, cafes and art galleries. We’ve been outside for just a few minutes and my shirt is drenched w sweat already.

We walk around and find some alleyways, murals and historical tidbits. The old stone and wood facades meld with the desertscape. Bit of a Mos Eisley feel w less blasters.

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This reminds me of the whirling dervish from Camp Al Aweer last night

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This oblong head sculpture appears to have a collection of diseases and afflictions that affect the senses adorned on it, as interpreted by kids

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Ok time for some AC, it’s insanely hot. We duck into the Make Art Cafe to cool off. Make AC happen on my face! This was actually a good discovery as there are a few art exhibits in here from local artists. We slip into each room on the outskirts of the main courtyard and check them out. 

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There’s a really creative display that uses wood that just looks like shelves on the wall. These are carved in a way that when you turn a light on underneath them it will cast a shadow against the wall. Never seen that before, very cool.

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Another area had some funny marketing-style posters

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Lots of colorful lanterns in this room that would make great souvenirs or presents. But do I want to carry one in my backpack for the next five weeeeeeeeeeks…. no, not really.

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Not a bad little detour. Body temperature has dropped enough for us to feel decently comfortable, we’re ready to make another go of it out in the hot hot heat. Thanks Make Art Cafe.

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There’s a mural for a cultural center on a wall outside the entrance. Michaela tells us she took her students to it once. Open doors, open minds. They teach you about the United Arab Emirates and the culture here while you eat traditional food. She says it was a good experience, learning about the people and getting a better frame of reference.

Alright we’ve made the rounds, time to head out. I like these old windcatchers that are on the corners of a lot of the buildings. This was how they built natural ventilation into their buildings back in the day.

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Well the Old Dubai area was worth a look for sure. We head back to the car, ready for the next stop. Daaaaah the heat just saps your energy. The bus stops here are enclosed and air conditioned. I ask Michaela what’s next on the old Dubai tour. “They say the cheapest thing to do in Dubai is cross the river in an Abra for 1 dirham.” Sounds good to me.

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