Dubai is my last stop on this Middle Eastern lecture tour. I arrived on time aboard my flight from Dammam, Saudi Arabia (the above picture shows the Dubai skyline at night). Thankfully, there was no waiting on the airport immigration line and I arrived at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (hte one along Sheikh Zayed Road) on Tuesday evening (January 19). The following day, I gave my lecture at 12:30 pm. Total speaking time was about 45 minutes followed by the usual 15 minutes of Q&A. (About 25 people in attendance.) And then my tour was officially completed and I could then begin to rest and relax.
Now the fun part – a friend offered to show me around the Emirates (fyi – there are seven emirates of which Dubai is only one) and I eagerly accepted his generous offer. (Note: to allow me the time to do this sightseeing, I paid the extra night at the hotel but the added cost is worth it to me!) My friend picked me up at 9:15 am and we drove to the eastern most part of the UAE near the Omani border. We soon encountered some fabulous mountains and stopped at the Hatta Fort Hotel for a pleasant lunch and some excellent scenery that most short-term visitors to the UAE never encounter! On the way back to Dubai, I snapped a few pictures of the mountains and at one location I had inadvertantly photographed a small portion of a UAE Army barracks nearby where I was standing. Oops!! A soldier came out of nowhere in a jeep and took my little camera and ordered us to follow him. At the base camp, he handed my camera to his commanding officer who scanned thru the pictures and then ordered me to delete two (2) of the pictures I had stored in the camera memory. Fortunately, that was all! We then shook hands, he handed me two pieces of fruit and I was outta there, car tires spinning in the desert sand as we drove off!
The next day (Friday, January 22) I departed from the ultra-modern Terminal 3 at Dubai International Airport. The Emirates Business Class is so huge they have a directory of the various sections of the lounge!! I boarded Emirates 857 to Kuwait for an on-time departure!!
NEXT POST: Kuwait
The Burj Khalifa – now the world’s tallest building! I wanted to go to the 124th floor observation deck but the hotel concierge informed me there might be up to a 2 hour wait in line to get tickets and that the ticket price ranged from 200 to 400 Dirhams …. depending upon the length of the que!