Editor’s note: Students in the MRED Program are traveling around the world – literally! Seven graduate students had the opportunity to travel west as part of an immersive study abroad class in summer 2016. Here is a post from Bradon Welker, one of the students on the journey.
This morning, we caught an early flight from Bengaluru to Dubai. It was about a three- and-a-half-hour commute. Some of us were feeling queasy from food we’d eaten yesterday, but overall, the group was healthy, and we had a pleasant flight.
Coming into Dubai, we noticed how gigantic the airport was and even more so when we walked for about 10 minutes straight just to get to the baggage claim. The airport was very impressive and getting through customs was very quick and efficient.
We met our guide, Mr. Marshall, who had a private coach ready and waiting for our group. He took us to Bastakiya, which he referred to as the old district of Dubai, where we toured a mosque and villas along the edge of Dubai Creek. He mentioned that they were traditionally the residences of families who owned import and export boats on the creek. The villas were originally constructed out of material consisting of shells from the creek and gypsum. The tallest part of the villa were wind towers, which helped cool the living quarters (pre-air conditioning of course).
Next, we took an abra (taxi boat) across Dubai Creek to a market where there was a gold market and a spice market that we walked through. This seemed to be largely a tourist destination, but it was amazing to see the large amount of gold in this small market. It was very hot and dry compared to everywhere else we’ve traveled so far, so it was good to cool off with some fresh, cold mango juice that we found there.
After the market, we went to the Mall of Dubai, which is currently the largest mall in the world. We walked through it only briefly, since we were going to our appointment to tour the top of the Burj Khalifa, which is currently the tallest building in the world. Going to the 125th floor was an amazing experience.
After visiting the Burj Khalifa, we were picked up by a land cruiser to go dune dashing, which is basically a 4-wheel-drive roller coaster in the sand dunes outside of the city. It was both very intense and very fun. The land cruiser then took us to a campsite where we enjoyed camel rides, dinner, and other local entertainment.
We definitely tried to experience as much of Dubai as we could in one afternoon.