I just returned from a very short trip to Dubai. It took 23 hours of travel to get there and 19 hours to get back. I was there for 3 days! Talk about a whirlwind! Here is what went down...
Thursday morning, I jumped on a plane and flew from LAX to JFK for the 5 hour flight. I had a 4 hour layover at JFK, which worked nicely because I was able to watch the Vice Presidential debate in the airport. Just as it was ending, we were boarding our flight. I then flew direct from JFK to Dubai, a 14 hour flight. We landed at 7:30PM Dubai time on Friday. By the time I got my luggage and got to the hotel, it was about 9:30PM. I felt extremely out of whack and somehow managed to stay up until midnight. I took Advil PM and zonked out until 11:30AM the next day.
Saturday we ventured down to the beach and found the site where the tournament was being held. It was 100 degrees and humid! We got there around 2:30 in the afternoon and were advised not to practice until 4 because of the extreme heat. We had not eaten lunch yet, so we asked where we could find a good restaurant nearby. The tournament directors invited us to eat lunch where the staff would be eating. It was fantastic! We had the best hommus, baba ghannouj, tabouleh, and fresh fruit. I was in food heaven!
After eating, we went down to the water and went swimming for awhile. The Persian Gulf is extremely warm! The air temperature was around 100 degrees Fahrenheit and the water felt like warm bath water. It must have been at least 90 degrees. Not exactly refreshing on a hot day, but fabulous to lounge in at dusk.
I was a bit shocked to see the extremes in culture in Dubai. There are Muslim women covered head to toe in black burkas with nothing showing except their eyes, even on the beach. I encountered one such woman in the ladies room and she was soaking wet from sweat and trying to cool herself down. Then I saw a woman in a thong bikini basking in the sun and frolicking around in the water. It was literally one extreme to another. Apparently, the United Arab Emirates is fairly liberal in the Muslim world.
Around 3:30, we decided to practice for a bit. We were on our own for the first hour, then we jumped in with the English girls and played a little. Afterward, we went back to the hotel and ate dinner there. We tried to go to bed early, but our body clocks were severely out of whack. I fell asleep at midnight, but woke up at 6AM. I read for awhile before heading down to the restaurant for breakfast. I met up with Tyra Turner, Nancy Mason, and Jen Boss, all who were having trouble sleeping as well! We sat at a table just hanging out for awhile trying to decide what to do with our day. Since Brooke and I had to play the country quota match that evening at 5PM, we decided to stay in while the others went to a giant water park.
We had several hours to kill, so we walked to a grocery store and did a little food shopping. Then we went back to our room and watched some TV. Around 3PM, we took a taxi back to the beach where the tournament was being held.
We took our time warming up, which was not hard in the 100 degree heat. We then had to play the country quota against Ivy/Fendrick.
It was extremely disappointing for us. It was Brooke's first tournament back from her shoulder surgery. We had a rough go of it and it was obvious that we had not played together in a long time. Afterwards, feeling rather foolish for traveling all the way to Dubai and not even making it into the tournament, I went down to the water and cleared my mind.
Brooke and I had intended to play in the remaining FIVB events in Thailand and China, but decided it was best not to go. I am OVER traveling right now, so that is just fine by me! I am really excited to be home and attempt being a normal person. I am not sure that is possible, but I am going to attempt it!
So after leaving the site, we went back to the hotel and changed our flight home. We bought new tickets leaving the very next morning. We decided to go check out the Mall of the Emirates and see what Ski Dubai was all about.
All I can really say is "HOLY COW!" Ski Dubai is like a winter wonderland all year round. We decided not to actually ski because we just did not feel like being cold. We looked through the window at the spectacle and could not believe our eyes. Here in the middle of a MALL in the middle of the DESERT is a ski resort! There were tons of kids riding inter tubes and toboggans down the slopes. It looked like great fun.
After checking it out for awhile, we were hungry and went to find food. We stumbled upon a wonderful Lebanese restaurant and had a fantastic meal. We dined on more hommus and pita, chicken tawouk, and baklawa. It was great.
We walked around the mall for a bit, but everything was closing so we took a taxi back to our hotel. We stayed up to pack and tried to get to sleep around midnight. I fell asleep fast, but woke up at 2AM wide awake. I turned on the TV and flipped through channels until 6AM. Then we left for the airport.
Our first flight was from Dubai to London. It was 7.5 hours long. After not sleeping much the night before, I was extremely happy to have a whole row to myself. I stretched out and slept for 6 hours of the flight.
As soon as we landed in London, we had to sprint from the plane to our connection. We had an hour in between flights, but by the time we got off the plane and went through passport control and security, it left us barely 10 minutes to get to the other side of the airport. We reached the gate just in time and got on the flight. It was another 11.5 hours from London to LAX.
I felt quite rested, so I read and watched movies. It went pretty fast and by the time I got home, it was 8PM California time. Jeremy picked me up from the airport and we grabbed dinner and opened a bottle of wine.
I stayed up until midnight and thankfully slept the whole night through. I feel great today and am pleasantly surprised that I do not feel jet lagged in the least! I think the trip was too fast for that!
I am home now and happy to be here. I have no plans other than to take some much needed time off. I am really looking forward to that!
If anything fun and exciting comes up, I will be sure to write about it! In the meantime, thanks for reading and being apart of my 2008 season!
All my best,