Phone, meet airplane mode.
Leaving Fort Lauderdale and hearing my last reggeaton song for a while, I finished watching Westworld, drank free wine and ate until my hearts content. Emirates Airline: 10/10.
First layover: Dubai
Telling my family my first stop before Africa was Dubai, they all lit up their eyes. "Ay Dios, ese país es precioso!" (Not a country but thanks for the positivity.)
Overhead all I saw was sand. And more sand. Oh maybe a tree. But more sand.
Lucky for me and my "obviously not from here look," the staff at Dubai International Airport (DXB) were kind enough to point me to immigration to get another stamp to prove to my kids one day that I was really cool in my twenties.
After the quickest stroll through immigration I've ever done, my friend Adeeb picked me up. (These are the moments where the University of Miami comes in handy - I've got a really good friend from a whole other country!)
A really embarrassing squeal, a hug and a few "Oh my goodness YOU'RE HERE!!" we drove through Dubai for the next few hours to kill time in my 14 hour layover. Adeeb lied to me and said the chicken shawarma he bought for me wasn't spicy but my little, weak taste buds could only get through half; I've never wished so hard for a glass of milk and I don't even like milk.
Driving through Dubai feels like the part in a movie where the main character is moving to a new city and there's a cheesy montage of the sights to see in said new place. Even at night, the buildings are impressive. With curved roofs and completely glass walls, it's hard not to think, "how could somebody build this?"
Here are a few other things I've learned in my few hours here:
Their work week is Sunday-Thursday so I ventured through this city on my version of a Monday night and surprisingly, both cars and people are constantly moving until about 11 p.m.
Parking is a nightmare; "You just pray" - Adeeb
Drivers put their hazards on when civilians cross and when you're backing out - how nice, if only Miami could take some notes.
The spicy chicken was good, despite my weakness.
I'll never complain about heat again - it's 106 degrees at night. Imagine in the day. Miami, you're saved for this one.
DXB is the most extra airport I've ever seen: I walked for about 25 minutes and didn't even reach the halfway point. There's a hotel, a gym, a spa, too many shops and restaurants to count and a stage for a band to play while you're waiting for your flight.
DXB is also one of the prettiest airports I've ever seen.
As I wait for my next flight at 10 a.m. (1:30 a.m. for my Miami folk), I'll just keep walking around to the ends of the earth in this airport, admiring the people and thanking the heavens for free wifi.
P.s. At 4 a.m. a lady started singing into the speakers and I wish I knew what she was saying but I was too confused to understand what was happening
P.p.s. Bocas House did it first 😂