Monday, July 27, 2009

What do you find in Dubai?

Skis, tall buildings, water shows and mini-bars. Guess which one was the most fun?

OK, OK, it's really not that difficult of a question. Of course going skiing... in the Middle East... in July... is hard to top. Snow in Dubai. I mean, really.

The day began in the afternoon, as they so often do. We headed to Mall of the Emirates (the second-biggest mall in the Emirates--insert ironic comment here), grabbed lunch at my favorite Lebanese fast-food place and hit the slopes.

Wait, wait. No, we didn't hit the slopes. We hit Ski Dubai. And before any slopes were hit, skiied or otherwise, enjoyed, equipment had to be procured. You might think this is a fairly easy step in the experience. But then, you probably don't have size 15US (size 759UK) feet. The conversation with the ski shop guy went a little like this:

What size, please?

Um... I'm not sure in UK sizes. Fifteen US?

SSG stares.

Yeah. You have?

SSG consults a chart on the counter, shrugs, heads back in to his forest of boot racks. A few minutes later, he returns with a pair of boots that would barely fit on my hands, let alone my feet. He leaves me for the other ski shop guy.

ME (to SSG2)
Are these the biggest you have?

SSG2 (shakes head sadly)
No, my friend.

I think I need bigger.

SSG2 heads off into the shoe racks, returns with a bigger pair. These look like they could accommodate my feet if I curled my toes, geisha-style.

Uh... biggest pair?

SSG2 (shakes head even more sadly)
No, no.

I need biggest pair. Really.

The end result is that I got the biggest pair of boots they had... and they still were a little snug. But that was OK, because the shop-issued pants and jacket were a little loose. And after purchasing a hat and gloves, we headed up and escalator and into a winter wonderland.

The top of the first lift. I had my snow legs at this point.

And so we skiied. Oh, how we skiied. The funny thing is, I had a dream the night before about going to this place. And being paranoid about not being able to ski--I was a pretty laid-back blue-black skiier when I was going once or twice a year... but that was years ago. Like eight of them. Anyway, in my dream, I was able to pick up where I left off.

In real life, though... I picked up where I left off! It was an almost-Ramadan miracle.

I and not-wife-of-the-blog Fiona about to head downhill after the first lift.

Friend of the Blog Nick has an amazing video of a complete run down the entire "mountain," complete with a random skiier wiping out, but for now you're going to have to be satisfied with cell phone photos. Here is one of my coffee at the chalet halfway up the slope.

Mmmm... Mocha and man-made snow.

But it wasn't just about the skis. You could allow the staff to thrust you into a giant plastic ball and push you down the hill. If you were into that kind of thing.

This guy lost his helmet.

Afterward, we bought some dates and headed to the tallest building in the world. A half-mile tall, specifically.

Yet another photo that doesn't do it justice. Also, not sideways. Thanks, Nokia.

It was even more surreal and science-fictiony up close. Like a slender finger reaching into space. Made slightly more surreal by a) the Bellagio-style water show in the lake next to it, and b) the Amazing Race participants looking for clues as we left the restaurant where we ate dinner. For real.

Dubai is an interesting place.


Chad said...

Gerry Doyle, you know that you needn't seek out skiing in an Arab Emirate of all places. We can show you a helluva time up here in CO, wherein we partake of hot tubbing and apres ski at the end of a long day of skiing up to 25 different runs... pish posh on your Dubai experience...pish posh I say!

Lisa said...

Hi Gerry,
While the Colorado slopes are beautiful, I'm sure the experience in the UAE was pretty amazing! Your parents live next door to us, and told me about your blog. As I have some world travel under my belt, I have not been in the Middle East. It's become a facinating place, and it must be exciting to watch it appear right before your eyes! Looking forward to seeing what your next blog is about. It's interesting to hear of travels to places I haven't been!