The flight attendant announced our jet would be landing in Dubai International Airport and that it was time to buckle up. This was my cue to wrench my body in half and reach under the reclined seat ahead of me to grab my tiny backpack. Unzipped, it revealed the necessities for the desert that had been packed away when we were in The Alps and The United Kingdom. Sunscreen, sunglasses and my new flip flops beckoned! I slipped the leather Merrell sandals onto my feet and tucked everything back underneath to prepare for landing.
At the baggage claim Jason looked down at my feet and said, “Whoa.
That was a fast transition.”
I was ready for some sunshine! We first noticed this sign outside the terminal, noting that this would be quite a unique experience. If women and men couldn’t even wait for arriving passengers together, how could this place really hold up to its “advanced, new-age” reputation? We were curious to see the balance of Dubai’s infamous expatriate fun factor and local Emirati culture. My university friend, Danae, spotted us and waved both of her arms, a huge Greek smile on her face. We had studied in Germany together in 2002, graduated together in 2004, and met up in London and Greece in 2008. Danae is from Thessaloniki, but has lived and worked all over the world, earning the reputation as one of my most international and colorful friends. Her boyfriend Giannis had recently moved to Dubai as well and we were looking forward to seeing their new life here in The United Arab Emirates.