Home > Clients, Culture, Work > I Can’t Believe I’m in Dubai

I Can’t Believe I’m in Dubai

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

I’ve been trying to write this post since I got to Dubai two days ago but words keep failing me. I fancy myself a sophisticated traveler but nothing prepared me for this place. It’s not just the opulence (which is outrageous), it’s more the sheer FOREIGNESS of it. There are only a few places on this planet I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, and the Middle East is one of them. Moreso in a post-9/11 world. And yet — here I am. I awoke at one point during the 12 hour flight over here and saw on the on-screen flight tracker that we were flying right over Baghdad.  That’s when it hit me. I was really on my way to the United Arab Emirates. I’ve been farther away from home before (my husband’s home city of Chelyabinsk, Russia) — but nothing has felt as far away from home as Dubai.

And yet.

As part of yesterday’s itinerary (I’m here in meetings with my Olay client) we venture into a residential neighborhood to spend time with a Dubai local woman to discuss her skin care routine. Her name is Rasheed and she isn’t much older than I am. She welcomes us into her beautiful home, introduces us to her dimpled 12-year old daughter, serves us juice and coffee. And then we talk through a translator for an hour. About skin care, of course, but also about feeling beautiful, about husbands and kids, about keeping house, about working and getting to the gym. Rasheed is eager to show us her yard, the pheasants and chickens she keeps, her lime and mango trees, the patio that’s under renovation.

I notice tall pots of alyssium, a sweetly-fragrant flower I plant along my borders each spring many, many miles away in New Jersey. It’s the sight of those flowers in their carefully tended pots that gets me. Rasheed and I love the same flowers.

Same way we love our kids and our husbands, and playing with beauty products, and enjoying a chat over coffee.

Maybe not so foreign after all. Imagine that.


I created a Whrrl story about my visit here.

Categories: Clients, Culture, Work Tags: , , , ,
  1. Melissa Leon
    January 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Sounds like you are having an amazing time. Isn’t it cool to notice how similar we are to people thousands of miles away.

  2. January 20, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    This is something I realized myself while travelling. No matter how far people’s traditions and surroundings are from yours, people are people. They still love, laugh, and get hurt.
    Great story, Stephanie. I enjoyed the pictures too.

  3. January 20, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    I’m jealous…I want to go there. But I’m really excited to read your good news about a place that is very exotic and mysterious to many of us…Great post! Thanks!

  4. prcog
    January 20, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Fantastic post yet again Stephanie.

    Really just goes to show you – people are people are people.

    Have a safe trip back.

  5. Jess Greco
    January 21, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I absolutely LOVED looking at your Whrrl pictures. Dubai seems like a fascinating city and I really hope I’ll get to travel to the Middle East one day (if not just for the food- YUM!).

    So glad you got this opportunity! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  6. January 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Beautiful, Sweetie. Just beautiful.

  7. January 23, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    What a lovely encounter. I do like the juxtaposition of exotic and familiar in travel. Chicken eggs, yeah, sure. So why not pheasant too? Shakes things loose in your brain about the bizarre lines we draw for ourselves in the silliest of ways, even as simple as what colors go together. Hope your trip inspires good things for you. (A lime tree, what I wouldn’t do for a lime tree.)

  8. Trish Connolly Accetta
    January 25, 2010 at 9:04 am

    My cousins grew up in Dubai. They have great stories.

  9. Tiffani Carter
    January 25, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    That’s just amazing. So different, yet so much the same. I’ve heard it’s absolutely gorgeous and stiffling hot! Enjoy the wonders!

  10. February 8, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    Stephanie-what a beautiful picture you’ve painted. The only thing I don’t like looking at on long, over seas flights is the tracker. Especially when it shows nothing but blue. But Dubai! This is my next spot. For my 10 year anni this year-this is where we will go.

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