Back in Amsterdam: A Wrap Up

March 29, 2008

I’m sorry for not being very good about writing over the last day or so, but its been very hectic and since Friday is the religious holiday there, it was very hard to find open internet places. Anyway…back in Amsterdam waiting for my flight to Connecticut. I’ll be at school again by tonight!

Thursday was a very relaxed day. We had a few speakers in the morning. They were each successful emirati women who talked a bit about their experiences and careers. One was working in the environmental field in Dubai, which I was very interested to hear about since I have been very interested in environmental considerations there. We had sort of a closing ceremony in the afternoon where everyone took lots of pictures and it was generally sweet and sad. We had a several hour break and then at night we went on a dhow cruise around the Dubai Creek. (A dhow is kind of a larger wooden boat, two-tiered, kind of like a fancy version of a New York ferry for those whom that would mean anything to.) We had a fancy dinner upstairs, and since it was a private all women cruise, we went downstairs and the girls took off their abayas we all danced a little.

Friday was an optional day of touring, but some of the tourism students at the college organized a schedule for us. We went to the beach right next to the Burj Al Arab which is that famous sail shaped building. Then we went to Madinat Jumeirah, which is technically supposed to designed like a traditional arab souk. It was definitely pretty, but since it was next to a very ritzy hotel, the prices were insane. (We couldn’t find a key chain for under 10 bucks!) So after that, me and a couple of girls split off from the main group and took a taxi over to the Gold Souk which we had each wanted to visit. We spent a couple of hours wandering and shopping there and I’m very glad we did, since I feel like I got to see and extremely different side of Dubai.  While the architecture may not have been as traditional, this sort of felt like a more authentic arab souk with guys on everyside calling for you to come into their shops. (And we got to bargain! I learned I’m really bad at bargaining.)  These areas was also were most of the migrant labor seemed to be living. This definitely felt like a very different city than what we had been seeing.

Anyway, thanks for all the support and comments and care that everyone has given me over this week. I have to wrap this up abruptly before my internet time expires, but I will see many of you tonight with presents!


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