Geekiness and life on the third coast

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Dubai day 3

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Today we rented a car and drove south, east and north of Dubai. Like Houston civilization drops off very rapidly once you leave the city.

The deserts are far greener than I imagined, though I’m told the plant life drops off rapidly as you get further from the coast. The desert photos are about 50 miles in from the coast, the coast photos are about 50 miles north of downtown. In most areas the sand is white, in others there’s a reddish brown sand overlaying the white sands.

Camels are common and all the highways have fences between the desert and the road, most likely to keep the camels off the highway.

The ocean is beautiful. There are salt water marshes extending way out from the road. There’s a surprising lack of birds at the shore, or anywhere else we’ve been.

The burbs north of the city along hwy 88 are amazing but empty. There’s not only McMansionvilles, but McPalacevilles. Amazing homes all in developments that appear to be abandoned. The homes are so beautiful it’s hard to believe the people won’t come at some point.

We not only passed abandoned developments but entire small cities under construction. Everything being built at once, housing, retail, gov’t buildings. These were still actively under construction. Then at random places along the road you’d find abandoned condo towers.

Lazy day today, one more day here I plan to wander in the city some more tomorrow.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

July 4th, 2010 at 8:21 am

Posted in Dubai Trip,Photos

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Dubai day 2

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I’ve not seen a single dog here. We did see one cat, actually we heard him from 3 alleys away. What a howl. He’s a long white orange spotted stray who was dumpster diving and singing his tale of woe.

Prayers are called even at 4 am. They sound like the Catholic priests doing their Latin sing song. Different language and religion but the feel is the same.

Police are scarce here, I’ve seen them but only rarely.

Today we hopped on the subway. It’s amazing, the stops are larger than some airports I’ve seen. It’s fully automated, no conductors, and cheap.

First we rode out to the new part of the city. It looks like something out of the Jettsons, every building more amazing than the one before it. Three buildings are being built for every one completed. Dubai is totally a city of the future. But that end of town is empty. The people haven’t moved in yet and often we were the only pedestrians in sight.

Then we rode back to the other end of Dubai. We got off at the most crowded stop and followed the crowd. First we ended up in an Indian immigrant area. Thousands and thousands of shops and people everywhere.

We stopped to eat at a Lebanese/Russian restaurant. The menu items all listed ‘meat’ not chicken, lamb or beef, just meat. I’ve no idea what I had for dinner but it was good.

I tried to get more photos but every time I slowed down a young Indian man would run up saying ‘genuine fake watches, genuine fake handbags, Rolex, Fendi, Prada. . . ‘ So we had to keep moving.

From the Indian area we wandered into old Dubai. Fabric stores every where, lots of shops to make custom suits, burkas and any other clothing you might desire.

Along twisting turning alleys we wandered. I started to notice more and more people were barefoot. I had led us into the back door of a mosque. We were able to back out with out getting dumped into Dubai Creek. ( This is why my sister and husband get nervous when I go wandering ;p )

The bong like things you see in the shop window are for smoking tobacco. Water is in the bottom, tobacco up top and hot coals are placed on the tobacco. All restaurants and bars keep several handy and you see many people smoking them at dinner.

One of the biggest sellers in all the areas we’ve been to are big fuzzy, fake fur blankets – like the kind you see in the states sold along side velvet Elvis’s. I haven’t figured that out – it’s about 95’F at night and 105’F in the day.

Every one here speaks English we’ve not found any one we couldn’t talk to. I’m still shocked so few spoke English in Tokyo. Cameras are very taboo. People glance at the camera as if I were carrying a weapon. So the photos are not as clear or targeted as I’d like.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

July 3rd, 2010 at 12:44 pm

Posted in Dubai Trip,Photos

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Dubai Day 1

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Today was my first day out and about in Dubai. Friday is like Sunday here so most everything was closed all morning. We made a pass through the local shopping mall, visited the world’s tallest building and went to the Old Golden Suk shopping district.

The shopping mall was mostly locals about 1/3 women 2/3 men. The Old Suk shopping district is Indian and Pakistani natives and about 95% men.

About 80% of the women wear burkas, about half of those with face covering. The other 20% of the women wear Indian or Western wear, even half of them cover their hair. Some of the burkas are very light weight some quite heavy. Almost all are black but many have designs on the front or sleeves. There are some brightly colored burkas usuallly worn by women who are African.

The men wear robes with tshirts and underpants or loose pants and a long shirt over them. About half of them cover their heads. The head covers are extremely thin fabric.

While traffic is light here, there is little pedestrian and bicycle traffic. There are buses, taxis everywhere and a train.

Juice is every where with little juice shops full of fruit that squeeze it fresh, coffee and tea shops are rare.

We stopped at an Indian place for dinner and I had a potato pancake with tomatoes and onions, it looked like a pizza.

Photography of people is frowned on here so it’s been tough getting pictures. The women all seem friendly and smile back. The men are mixed, they all stare, most will smile back, some just glare.

Prayers are called several times a day, praying is done in the Mosques not in public and most of the people ignore the calls.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

July 2nd, 2010 at 9:54 am

Posted in Dubai Trip,Photos

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Of mockingbirds and cats

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Fred being stalked, straifed and harassed by a mocking bird

Fred being stalked, strafed and harassed by a mocking bird

Fred being stalked, straifed and harassed by a mocking bird

Fred being stalked, strafed and harassed by a mocking bird



Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

May 26th, 2010 at 1:05 pm

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Houston’s Art Car Parade 2010 Photos

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Click the thumbnails for med/large photos

2009 Houston Art Car Parade Photos

More information:
Orange Show Houston Art Car Parade

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

May 8th, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Tokyo parks and bazaars

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Today was much colder than yesterday but we wandered off to Ueno Park. Ueno park is surrounded by museums, a zoo and Tokyo University. At the far end is the Ameya yokocho bazaar.

The cousin had to return to base so it was just us today. We entered the subway and instead of people randomly waiting there were double lines queued for each train door. After every one who could possibly fit got on, the porter crammed a few more people onto the train. 9 am appears to be morning rush hour.

The husband left my side for just a moment in the park and just like back home I had a gentleman talking to me when he returned. ( some things transcend cultures ). We talked for about an hour. Interestingly they tossed out their gov’t 6 months ago and brought in a new group to make changes. No changes have been made so they’re tossing the bums back out. ( Just like home 😀 )

The bazaar was the most fun of all. Much like Haymarket Square in Boston there was lots of fresh food and vendors calling out to you to purchase their wares. But along with the fresh food were several clothing, jewelry and golf shops.

The husband took today’s photos, I’m traveling light today.

Written by Linda MacPhee-Cobb

February 10th, 2010 at 1:22 am

Posted in Photos,Tokyo Trip

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