May 09, 2007
Jul 03, 2007
In other news, my cellphone saga continues. For the third day in a row, I attempted to get a simcard for my phone, this way I could make local calls for less then the $1.50 a minute I am currently dishing out. My first day here I went to the mall and was told I need a copy of my passport to get a simcard. I went back the next day with a copy, only to be told I also needed a copy of the entry stamp in my passport. So today armed with my entire passport I went to the Marina Mall to finally settle this. I show them my passport, they tell me I need to copy it. I go to the place to copy it, they tell me to go to another place. I get my passport copied, go back to the store and they tell me that they do not have the short term simcard I need. I go to Carrefour (Like Walmart) only to be told they are oddly completely out of simcards. I go to at least 3 more stores and none of them have the one I am looking for. But I know it exists because they had them here in Dubai when I didn't have my passport copies. So hopefully tomorrow I can finally settle this.
Well that was my day, and I am signing off, I can't wait to see your cello video kev.
I awoke today with a great (yet incredibly pricey) phonecall with Iraida. Then I was off to orientation. Run of the mill stuff, nothing I had not heard already. I got to meet the rest of the study abroad students this semester, most of them are either from Texas or NY/NJ. Now eventhough I'm halfway around the world, certain things have not changed. Just like any travelling I do I like to immediately get out of where I am and explore another area, so a friend and I were off to Abu Dhabi. Now I know what your all thinking "Ok, maybe Dubai is a nice place, but what is Jay doing running off to another crazy/dangerous place all of a sudden". If anything Abu Dhabi is probably safer then Dubai, not that Dubai is at all dangerous, just that there is more of an austentatious, party mentality that is mostly absent in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi is in fact the capital of the UAE and the Emirate itself occupies about 3/4ths of all of the UAE. Think of the UAE like the US, each Emirate is a different state. Just as you have Penn, NJ, and NY, here you have 7 Emirates, Sharjah, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi being the most prominent. So we hoped on a bus bound for Abu Dhabi, it cost only 15 Dirhams!($4) Which is an incredible deal since the city is about an hour away. We went across the street to this hole in the wall restaurant. Although, restaurant was a stretch, the place was obviously designed for take out service, but we decided to eat there. The food turned out to be REALLY good, and REALLY cheap. Apparently the place is a small chain of fast food restaurants based in the UAE. My entire meal, fried chicken sandwhich, french fries, and water cost me about 8 Dirhams ( $2.17). Abu Dhabi seemed to fit everything I had read about it, not as glitzy as Dubai, pretty laid back, somewhat boring, but nice. The city is known for its parks and its beautiful Corniche (in the Middle East, most cities based on the water have what is called a Corniche, essentially its like a Boardwalk kind of thing, just a nice area to walk around the water and its usually very photo friendly). Also Abu Dhabi is noticeably more conservative, although to call them strict is a stretch. Many more woman here wear the full black veil and robes then in Dubai. We ventured over to the big mall of the area the Marina Mall. It was very nice, in an excellent location looking right over the water and had plenty to do. There is also this really famous hotel located in Abu Dhabi, the name escapes me at the moment, but it is something like the Palace Hotel. And the name suits the building, it is massive and amazingly designed. Another interesting thing about Abu Dhabi was how incredibly cheap the taxis are there. A ride that would cost you $8 in Dubai, was less then $2 there. All in all, the city is a really good deal, and made for a nice day trip, although I would not go about planning a week long vacation there as the city really is all business and politics. Seems like an excellent place to live though. We hoped like the last bus back to Dubai and made it home by 11pm.