Wednesday, November 18, 2009

UAE Trip

Well, we've been back from the UAE for a week now. I have been asked many times about our trip, so I'll explain it all here.

Kerri and I had the opportunity to go to the UAE recently. We went for 9 days, although with long travel days (read: 15 hour flights) on each end it was more like 7 days there. We had the opportunity to go to a conference while we were there to learn more about the region and some of the work which is going on there. We also had a chance to reconnect with some good friends who live in the Arabian Peninsula and who were also at the conference.

The conference itself was four days, most of those days being from early morning until late at night. We pretty much just went to bed afterwards. We were pretty jet-lagged for the first few days. At the conference we had various meetings, during which we were able to learn more about the countries in the AP, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, and Kuwait. We met lots of people at the conference, made some new friends, and reconnected with some old friends. We also were able to attend the United Christian Church of Dubai, an interdenominational church which meets at the Dubai Evangelical Church Center, which is built on land donated to the church by the royal family of Dubai. It's pretty amazing to be at a Christian church in the center of an Islamic country!. Again, a great experience. .

After the conference we had the opportunity to be tourists in Dubai. We got to see the Burj Dubai (the tallest building in the world at 818 m high), the Burj Al Arab (the only 7 star hotel in the world), the largest mall in the world, Ski Dubai (the indoor ski hill), and many other great buildings. We also got to go to the Sharjah Aquarium, the Arabia Wildlife Center, and several local markets, including the spice souk, the gold souk, the textile souk, and the pet souk.

It was a great experience for us and we absolutely fell in love with the culture there. The diversity was amazing, and the atmosphere walking through the malls with all the different nationalities and languages present was wonderful.

I've been asked if I would go back. Yes, I would in a heartbeat. Except next time I would want to take our kids with us and visit more of the region.

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