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Thursday, November 8, 2012

D, D, D, Dubai!

Over the Eid break, Ryan and I decided to go visit Dubai. For a couple of reasons...

1.  We have friends who live there and wanted to visit them.
2.  We'd heard from Bill and other friends that it was amazing.
3.  It was also a bit of a reconnaissance trip to get a feel for the city and figure out if we could see ourselves living there at some point.

Did I mention that we're planning on leaving Cairo next year?  Plans are still up in the air about where we're going exactly, but we're hoping to secure jobs before January, otherwise it's 12 timezones in 2 days to fly to Bangkok for the International Teaching Job Fair.

P.S. If any school we've applied to so far is reading this post, please feel free to hire us immediately and put us out of our misery.  

So Dubai is on the list of places we might end up moving to and we wanted to go check it out.

We arrived at the airport, and looking out the window I think I turned to Ryan wondering if we had actually left Cairo.  Everything was beige, ah just like home.  :)

Our rental car (that we booked two months previously) was unavailable because the company accidentally forgot that you can't rent more cars than you own.  So after waiting over an hour just to get to the counter we were directed to another company that still had cars.

Unfortunately my phone wasn't working either, so while we had the address of our friend Joseph, I couldn't call him and let him know we'd arrived.  By the time we got on the road and started driving towards his house it was several hours later than our expected arrival.  And then our gps, which I affectionately call George led us to a nice little neighborhood and deposited us in a roundabout with no houses matching the number we were looking for.  We drove around for a few min, and I had a moment of truly trying to remember what people did to communicate before cell phones.  Should I look for a handy owl or pigeon?  Smoke signals?  Then our saviors appeared in the form of 6 little boys playing soccer in the street.  Here went our conversation...

Me:  Hey guys, can you help me for a minute please?

Them: Share a look of mistrust between themselves, this lady will obviously try to sell us drugs. But then they realized they outnumbered us 2:1 (plus I'm pretty sure they stone you alive for drug possession in the UAE) so they approached the car.

Me: Do you know the Nettikaden family? They have a little girl named Mariska? (I was hoping maybe they'd played together at some point)

Them: No, what's their address?

I show them the sheet where Joseph scrawled his address for us, and we spent the next 2 minutes in a lengthy discussion about whether the number of the villa was a 7 or a 71.  Finally one of the older boys had a stroke of brilliance.

Them: Why don't you just call them?

Me: Yeah, I can't (explained the cell phone issue)

Them: Here, you can use mine (whips out a fancy sparkly blackberry) Did I mention he was like 9?

Me: Thank you so much (Then stare at this strange contraption in my hand for at least 5 seconds longer than is cool.  Where is the little slidy thing on the screen, how do you work this?) 

Them: Grabs the phone back and gives me a look of patient understanding (don't worry I'll help you grandma) and punches in the number, hands the phone back to me.

The phone rings, I get in touch with Joseph and he jumps in the car to come collect us. The boys then embark on many directions for places we could meet our friend that he would probably know.

Them: We'll take you to Spinney's.  Does he know Spinney's? He should meet you there!

It was super cute and they were really nice and helpful. And after a lot of hooplah we were finally able to make it to their house and relax.  

We spent the next few days in random pursuits, like driving around the city looking at the skyline, 

which totally reminded me of that futuristic city in Meet the Robinsons.

We walked through malls with aquariums, ice skating rinks, ski slopes and sky diving.

We went in the most amazing candy shop ever.

We ate awesome food. And went to the top of the Burj Khalifa.

Mariska and I watched Tangled. It was a really good trip.

So final verdict, could we live in Dubai???

Yes, though it's still a little too similar to Egypt for it to be our first choice.  So we're still hoping and betting on the job fair, and we now have a really solid plan B.

Thanks for letting us stay with you Joseph, Suneetha and Mariska! 

1 comment:

  1. I stumbled across your blog and I'm hoping you can be of help to me.

    I work for a mobile app startup called StringFly - and we are launching a National Heritage project in major cities around the world.

    Although we started as an "app" company - we are now in the early stages of building a user website - part of which will be a world map people can discover real time content on.

    In order to help build context for that breaking news and cultural content, we also want to have qualified images of architectural landmarks from cities all over the world available on a layer of the map, as well. As such, we are looking for local photographers who care about the architecture and heritage of their cities to work with us.

    Currently, we are looking for a few individuals in Cairo who have an iPhone or Android and are willing to use our StringFly app on their smartphones to upload images from the site of places of worship, hospitals and schools in Cairo.

    We ask them to register and download our app at:

    Once the app is downloaded, a photo assignment will arrive through our app on their phone in approximately 10 minutes. They can then use our app to capture and upload the requested photos from the “My Assignments” link in the app.

    Alternatively, they could also use their username/password credentials to login to their web account at and upload a few sample images depicting the types of buildings we’ve listed above - and they are welcome to use images they’ve already taken with a conventional camera, if they desire.

    We will be choosing, based on quality criteria, from among the photographers who participate in the first phase - and we will offer many among them the opportunity to participate in the second phase where they are asked to take and upload images using our StringFly app, for which we will pay cash rewards in exchange for all requested qualifying images.

    Are you, or do you know anyone in the Cairo area (or any of the other major cities in Egypt) who might be interested in participating? Any chance you could put us in touch via email?

    Thanks for your time.

    Eric Taubert