Thursday, November 22, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I’ve had an outstanding trip, but it is nice to return home to my family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Shopping Phase 2

The Dubai Mall is even bigger than the Mall of the Emirates.  It has nearly every store and eatery imaginable even an aquarium and ice rink.  I really could have used an app which tracked my progress thru the mall so that I did not miss a section.  Outside one entrance are the dancing fountains in front of the burj khalifa.  The show can only be seen after nightfall.  It is similar to the Bellagio fountains, but nevertheless beautiful.

Dubai – Amazing Architecture

 I took a half day tour thru the city to see many exceptional buildings.  The size & shapes of the buildings are like nowhere else.  Nearly every building is unique.  If it can be dreamt, it can be built here.  The ‘burj khalifa’ is over 2700ft tall.  The ‘burj al arab’ is a stunning hotel with room rates starting at $1500 a night.

Shopping Phase 1

There are so many shopping possibilities in Dubai, it can be overwhelming.  The Mall of the Emirates is many times larger than the Galleria.  I spent a few hours shopping; by the time I was done, my feet felt like I walked a day at a theme park.  The mall is beautiful & has a ski lift in one wing of the mall, exceeding expectations.


Dubai offers separate airport taxis for women traveling alone, “Ladies Taxi”.  The drivers are all women & the taxis are tan & PINK!  J 

Airports & Security

Security varies from one airport to the next as well as country to country.  In the Bangalore airport women go thru a separate security screening behind a curtain, but our belongings are in one general x-ray screening area.  What exactly happens behind the curtain?  The area is about the size of a small department store dressing room.  There is a platform where the traveler stands & a small table for the security personnel.  As I stand on the platform in the usual position with feet & hands apart, she checks a sheet of names & verifies that I’m not on the list.  I am wanded over & have to pull up my pants leg as well to be sure nothing is hiding at my ankles.  Finally I’m released to gather my belongings.

As I am waiting for my flight I notice the airport is very open.  Some birds have flown in & are making themselves comfortably at home in the drinking fountain as if it is their person bird bath.  Although one does not usually leave their bags unattended, I saw quite a bit of it happening in this airport.  People would leave their luggage alone in a given spot & return after grabbing food, drink, etc.  It was a bit puzzling as I would not leave my bags when traveling alone as they may not be there when I return.

Finally it was time to board the plane.  As I am boarding the guard asks to see what is in my duty free bag.  He looks in the bag & scolds me for not having the receipt visible in the bag; I had the receipt in my pocket so that I wouldn’t lose it.  I put the receipt back in my pocket & proceed forward in the line.  Again I get stopped by the second guard less than 20ft away & we repeat the scenario of looking in my bag & getting scolded for the receipt.  Huh?!?  Guess he did not hear the other guard tell me the exact same thing.

Once I arrived in Dubai, I observed the passport control operations.  Interesting, this country takes safety & security very seriously.  Each person’s photo is taken and depending on the country of origin an eye scan may be done as well.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Farewell Bangalore

The last few days have been busy wrapping everything up.  The highlight to lunch has been Mainland China and BBQ Nation.  Both were excellent!

I've had an amazing time here, but it's time to start heading home. 
BLR -> DBX -> SEA -> SMF