It started well.. for about the first half hour. Danny left his phone on the bus. Caitlin, Danny, Matt and I took the bus to Rashidya in an attempt to spend the day a the beach. As soon as we got to the metro, the day started downhill. I called Danny's phone, thinking the bus driver would hear it and answer. He didn't, but he did call me back a little later and he and Danny made arrangements to exchange it. We got directions as to which stop to get off and which bus to take and we thought all was going well. Except Matt didn't bring his metro card and had to buy a day pass. So we get off at (what were told) the right stop. 1st We were told the exit to the terminal was on the wrong side of the highway, so we had to go all the way back through to the right side. 2nd We walked though this empty bus parking lot to what we thought was our bus. 3rd We were told our bus should pick us up in the round about. 4th We see bus 88 at the bus stop and run to it to get on. 5th The bus driver won't let Matt on without the right metro card. 6th We can't understand each other, Matt gets off the bus, before we realize what's going on, the door closes and we drive away - without Matt. 7th We start riding and will call him to let him know which exit to get off and meet us. 8th The bus driver makes us swipe our cards, get off the bus for 2 minutes, then get back on. Apparently we were at a terminal and for our cards to be properly accounted for, we had to make it 2 trips. Found out Matt just went back to AUS. 9th We rode the bus practically an entire loop when we got to the round about we were originally told to get on. Fail. 10th We finally get off at the Iranian hospital (which was actually very gorgeous. There is also a beautiful mosque inside the gates) and decide to walk the rest of the way. 11th We finally arrive 3 1/2 hours later. 12th On the metro going back home, someone puked in one of the cars and it stunk. Bad.
Now for everything in between
I guess we can start at #11. This is what the beach looks like - absolutely beautiful!
Unfortunately, by 3:30 it was warm, but the water gave it a cool chill and the water was pretty cold. But we did walk around a bit and go to see some nice scenery. Before we got to the actual beach, we stopped to see another mosque thats right across the street. Unfortunately, they only let the public in between 10 and 11:30 or something in the morning so we couldn't go inside to look around. But the outside was beautiful (as is just about every mosque I've see).
So we're at the beach, laying in the sand, enjoying the nice weather, talking about what we want to do from there. I kept remarking about the quality of the beach. Beaches here (like anywhere in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Europe, basically anywhere besides the US) are nearly flawless. The water is bright blue and clear, the sand is free of broken glass bottles, the sand is well groomed, the landscape is well taken care of; it just looks like a place where the people in charge want people to come to.
(this is just one of my favorites of the day)
Also at this beach, there is a long dock that goes well out into the bay. It gives you an astounding view of both the beach and the skyline. People walk, roller skate, ride scooters, run, and just enjoy the view. There are also a lot of big rocks surrounding it that a group of older teenage boys (17? 18? 19?) were running on it - bright ones, I'll tell ya. They also started wrestling on the rocks.. right where if you slip, you'll fall onto maybe 10 more feet of rocks into the shallow water surrounding the bay with more rocks at the bottom. But anyway, here is the view back into Dubai. This pictures has quickly become my favorite picture of my trip thus far (and is also my new desktop background).
Aside from that frustrating trip, everything is still going great. I've been reading a lot of things online, like these most recent Somali Pirates and it's pretty upsetting. But know, there is nothing like that going on in the UAE. There is no civil uproar and anything that even points to unrest; so anyone out there concerned, don't be.
Classes are going great. We've gotten our first few homework assignments and for possibly the first time in my life, I have them done more than a week before they are due! We'll see how long that lasts ;-) We've started working on our bridge design for the wooden bridge competition at the American University of Dubai in March. We've only just begun putting together our best drawings and some SAP testing should find the best one through trial and error. I think I have a working model and I hope I can contribute to our group effort. The other three have competed both previous years the competition was held. I'm also starting to make more and more friends from the area, and not just through the exchange program.
Unfortunately, we only get a 1 day weekend and next week is a 6 day week.. I'm not too happy about that. Because of the holiday last Thursday, we have a make up day on Saturday - which means Saturday through Thursday classes. The following weekend will be a much needed break and it's also the weekend we are going on a desert safari! :-)
Well it seems as though I've written a lot more than I expected to. So I guess I'll stop here.
See ya later, crocodiles!