Our ship docked in Dubai today. Very often the ship docks so close to downtown that you can walk, but sometimes you have to take a bus or taxi into the city center. The Dubai port, on the other hand, is pure insanity.
We got out and found ourselves in a giant parking lot with all sorts of buses and taxis in it. The mob descended on all modes of transportation, making each unusable. The taxi queue was enormous. Eighty year olds literally elbowed me out of the way to get into the free shuttle to the mall.
We called an uber, but the parking lot is such a maze that our driver got lost and gave up. After that we tried to taxi queue, but all of the drivers were trying to rip us off by about $10. We kept refusing, and we got kicked out of two taxis in a row. Then we called another Uber, and he finally made it there.
It took us a total of ninety minutes just to get on a vehicle out of the port. And we are four very seasoned travelers.
My first impression of Dubai was poor. We went to the mall to see the indoor skiing, and while it was pretty neat to see, I was still a little annoyed by the morning’s hassle. Not in a bad mood or anything, but my first impression of Dubai was tainted.
Getting back to the ship was no easier. It involved a packed subway full of very ripe-smelling people, running across highways, calling two ubers, and finally getting a taxi.
We had already booked tickets to go to the top of the Burj Khalifa, so we had to leave again. We decided that we would just accept the $10 scam, take a taxi, and be done with it.
So we walked to the front of the taxi line and got into the taxi. But instead of the scam surcharge, he started his meter at the $1.50 it’s supposed to start at. Then he laughed and said that every other driver tries to rip you off, but he doesn’t like that sort of stuff. We had a great conversation with him and left the cab feeling great.
We got to the Khalifa and had time to see the fountain show outside, which is very similar to the one at Bellagio. It felt magical. We went to the top of the building, the world’s largest, and admired the view. We had a great time.
I don’t know for sure, but it really feels like the taxi driver made all of the difference. He didn’t even do anything amazing– he just didn’t take advantage of us when he could have. Maybe if we had gotten scammed we wouldn’t have been so impressed with the water show, and the tower would have felt like any other building.
To me it was a reminder that little things matter, that doing the right thing matters. Maybe you don’t get noticed or thanked every time, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an impact.
Photo is from the top of the Burj Khalifa. All of the photos from the bottom had to be in portrait mode because it was so tall!
Just a three more days on a two-month trip. I have almost no trips booked in 2016! Time to focus.