The Emirates

At the border I feel like I am participating in the Olympics.

First of all it’s because the procedure for getting the U.A.E. visa has changed into an obstacle race with many desks. Second of all because the competitors in this race are from all possible races on Earth. There are many men of color, so different. They’re from Africa, Asia, North America. They’re Indians, Koreans, Japanese, Australians, Chinese, Europeans…

We all have the same goal, leaving this airport either on a plane or with a visa… and thus get inside the Emirates.

As usual, actually getting the visa takes longer than they say. Nobody seems to be able to provide me with explanations as to why extra-procedures are necessary: in the end, maybe I really do look like a terrorist 😀 The officer asks “problems with Tehran…!?” then smiles and stamps my passport.

Image: Burj Al Arab (which in Arabic means The Arabs’ Tower),a luxury hotel in Dubai, U.A.E
Burj Al Arab

The first step outside the airport is the first step outside the air conditioning zone. The high temperature and the wet climate make for difficulties breathing. The hitch-hike is OK and I reach the city on the second vehicle. 2/3 of the automobiles are Toyota. In here, in the summer nobody takes shower between 7 am and 11 pm. That’s because the cold water pipe is too hot.

Dubai and Sharjah are two cities close to one another, with amazing beaches, strange-looking and extremely high buildings.

After a short ride through the city I stop in a palm trees-park. With my backpack as a pillow, I lay down in the protective shade of a palm tree. After the mad race to Istanbul, nothing seems to bother me anymore. Everything is perfect. Outside there are 50 degrees and what I inhale is half water, still I fall asleep under the palm tree and it feels good, like nothing bad can happen.

The mosques are superb with their beautiful colors and the architecture different from Islamic standards. Is the people that impress me less. The Arabs in the Emirates are so different from all Arabs I’ve met till now. They are cold, distant and very suspicious. I have the longest and most interesting conversations with Pakistanis and Indians. In the floor I live in there are forty Indians. They are very passionate and interested in everything is new and different. They receive my presentation on Romania with obvious joy.

In Dubai everybody working in services is from other countries. It’s hard to believe they are building a city almost entirely on sands. The rhythm they build in is crazy, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In few years Dubai will certainly make in the Top 10 cities of the world. Not in my top of favorite cities. It’s artificial, expensive and so superficial.