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The Middle East: B.A.C.K. to the U.A.E.

Written on: Saturday February 28th, 2009

My journey was hitting a stall...I didn't know what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go.  Most of the affordable flights out of the region left via Dubai, but I did NOT want to return there and shell out another 200 dihrams for a room while I waited for one.  So, after another scan of CS hosts, I was able to lock in accommodations with Maria for the night.  That would give me ample time to sort out my plan and be on my way.

Although I had already spent a fair amount of time in Dubai, I wasn't familiar with her neighborhood.  So when the taxi dropped me off and I knocked on her door, I was relieved to know that I was in the correct location.  Maria was from Philippines and had been living in Dubai for about eight years; her roommate, Khadija, was from Kenya and had been in the city for almost a year.  The kindness, friendliness and knowledge they showed between them made this stop in Dubai fantastic.

That night Maria took me out around the city, exploring areas that I never knew existed.  We ended up on the grounds of a private, beachfront hotel located at the foot of the Burj Al Arab.  The views from this location completely blew away my previous sightings.  We walked on the beautiful yet desolate beach, hunting for sea shells and guessing what color the lighting of the hotel would change to next.  Strolling through a souk before returning home rounded out a surprisingly fun day in this now ever-familiar city.

The following day I had intended to stay with a different CSer, but since the three of us had gotten along so well, they said that I could stay another night, despite the fact that two OTHER surfers were due to spend the day here while they waited for an evening flight.  I awoke to find myself alone in the apartment when the other travelers arrived.  They just got off a flight from London and simply wanted to shower and crash, which gave me ample time to continue my search for flights.  The day progressed, my flights were booked and the girls eventually came home, at which time Khadija cooked an amazing dinner to be shared by all of us as we started a team scrabble competition that lasted well in to the wee hours of the next morning.

Having only had a few hours sleep, I awoke at dawn to catch a cab to the airport.  The girls were asleep in the other room, so I could only express my thankfulness via written word before I departed for yet another destination in the Gulf region.