Over the past 2 weeks I had been smack talking to the captain about how I was definitely able to kick his ass at any video game he chose. Of course I really wasn’t sure of this fact, but I played it up excessively. Ha. Well, the night before we pulled in (TO DUBAI), it was game on! In the wardroom we had two XBOX’s set up, and I played on a projector while the captain played on a big screen tv. The game he chose was homefront, one that I’ve never played before, but I was ready for the challenge. We ended up playing for over 4 hours and it was awesome. During the game we both had a second although it was a one on one challenge, the captain’s second was the XO and my second was the JORG (most junior ensign on board). He helped coach me to victory… at times. haha.
We played 8 games. In the end I won 4 and the captain won 4. It was a draw, but it was neck and neck the whole time and very exciting. I had so much fun. I was screaming and yelling and the best part is when the most people were in the wardroom watching us play, I was winning!!! We both had a blast. At one point I was running around looking for him in the game and I thought I heard footsteps behind me, so when I turned around he was trying to sneak up on me. I got really scared and pulled the trigger it was a head shot hit even though I had closed my eyes. haha. He was not happy about that one.
Early the next morning we pulled into Dubai, the richest city in the middle east. I was once told that the streets in Dubai are lined in gold. This is not the case, but they might as well be. They have the tallest building in the entire world. A pair of twin towers are being built in Korea in 2015 and they are projected to be 151-story twin towers in Ichelon International City in Korea and will be the second tallest building in the world.
Projected second tallest Building in the world, located in Korea
The tallest building is called the Burj Khalifa and when you take an elevator to the top you never feel it moving. Its 126 stories high! I did not go inside, but I saw it. I also saw a hotel that is so rich and famous it’s supposed to be rated at 7 stars or higher. Each room has their own personal butler. It’s absolutely ridiculous. They live the high life over here.
The Big Kahuna of all Buildings, the Burj Khalifia located in downtown Dubai
Upon pulling in we had to complete our biggest stores unload this deployment thus far. It was over 75 pallets deep, plus 16 pallets of mail. Ahhhhh! I decided to put myself right in the front of the working party line and so off I went straight to the pier. It was miserably hot (112 degrees Fahrenheit) and I helped moved ALL of the stores. Wow. Even though I filled my water bottle up 4 times during that unload, I still felt extremely dehydrated the rest of the evening. After the stores on load was over, I collected my 4 packages from the mail pallets, including new clothes from Boden and leather boots from J-crew! This was very exciting because although I did some online shopping while on deployment, my things would come like 2 months later. haha. My two roommates and me had something like 12 packages between all of us and our room looked like a packaging center. The guys kept walking by and just shaking their head muttering things about women under their breath. We didn’t pay them close attention. It seemed like an eternity but finally the announcement was made and we were put on LIBERTY CALL!!
Our usual liberty group set off as fast as possible and we took a taxi to downtown Dubai, where we went to dinner at the Hofbra House, which is located in the Marriott hotel. It had already grown dark when we started driving but everything was a sight to see. I couldn’t see things fast enough and I was sticking my head out the window, letting the wind rush against my face as I looked up at all the magnificent buildings. The Middle East is a hot dry place, but it is fascinating none the less. There’s apparently only two true Hofbra Houses in the world and one is in Munich and the other one is here in Dubai. They served beer by the liter! We had been our to sea for 5 weeks. What a bad idea!?!?? Haha. The waiters wore german style clothing with little hats and suspenders and when he brought out our round of 9 beers, it was delicious. The food was not the best. I have tried and tried, but german food just never seems very good to me. I’m all about the german beer though, and the stuffed pretzels. I could eat and drink that stuff all day.
We stayed at the Marriott until we had to go back to the ship which wasn’t very long because our liberty unfortunately expired at midnight. However, when we got back to the ship, they were serving beer on the pier and many people were out enjoying the festivities so of course we joined in. 5 new ensigns had flown in from Norfolk that evening and I was able to meet them.
The next day I had duty and it was pretty unexciting, so moving on.
The final day in Dubai we went back to the Marriott in the morning and this time we pretended like we were guests of the hotel and it was very ridiculous. We were so convincing that we were guests of the hotel, they allowed us to go to the top floor where the pool was and swim, && enjoy the swim up bar, which was just glorious. That is where we spent the rest of our day. The Marriott is right next to the Dubai airport and so as we were lounging on the top of the building you could watch all of the commercial airplanes coming in and taking off. Luckily, the swim up bar had just enough seats for the 6 of us. It was awesome. We took the specialty drink menu and just started ordering each drink down the line. Shortly after we had taken up residence at the pool bar this guy came over to us with wings tattooed right on his chest. It turns out he’s a recently retired marine pilot that flies commercially now (like my neighbor from back home). That was pretty cool. We talked to him for a while. The flight attendants and the pilots all stay at the hotel and leave together to go to the airport (we saw them leaving later on in the evening.)
After a few drinks I left with Dieter to go to the spice Souq, which was very interesting in and of itself. Dieter is one of the best bargainers I’ve ever seen. We took a taxi and at the water harbor we saw tons of dhow’s (small wooden crafts that transport cargo out here in the gulf) tied up to the piers 3 across and stores everywhere! It was a very bustling place with people jumping from dhow to dhow as they lifted cargo up. I loved it!
Dieter, checking out some Gold at the Gold Souq
Me at the gold Souq, I look horrible because I had just gotten out of the swimming pool!
Walking around at the Gold Souq
Then walking down the street to the Spice Souq
Checking out some of the spices available
Bushels and Bushels of spices!
We found all natural viagra! hahaha.
Dieter Bargaining is the best!
Snake oil drops… what are those for?!
We did some serious shopping and got all kinds of spices. I got fresh pepper and mixed curry for chicken, and all kinds of packets. We tried mints and fresh vanilla and very tasty chocolate treats. Afterwards we went back to the Marriott and went to this extremely ritzy (we were very under dressed) restaurant and it was AMAZING! I had a plate of char grilled lamb chops, that were mouthwateringly delicious. We drank 3 bottles of red wine with the steak and absolutely stuffed ourselves. They brought us bread and all sorts of small treats, compliments of the chef.:)
Shacker looking at the menu. It was quite the menu all on one side!
Then it was back to the ship again, and our usual mac and cheese late night snack in the wardroom. Overall a VERY VERY successful trip.
I was very sad to find out that I would be leaving my division. They are moving me to the engineering department. This is very sad. I have been holding a huge grudge and do not want to go… I will be turning over next week and taking over as AUXO at the end of next month. This is very sad news and good news to. I will now be working on my EOOW letter, which is engineering officer of the watch and a huge deal to get. I still have some time, so I suppose I will give it a shot.