So, here we go again :)
I've been in Dubai for a few days (on my way to South Africa) and I've been a bit lazy I'm afraid. I used to live in Dubai and am here visiting friends so it didn't really occur to me to add anything on my blog and I haven't taken any photos. And then I thought, perhaps I should as it is, after all, part of my trip even if the bike isn't with me. So here I am on my last evening quickly trying to write something.
I haven't taken any pictures, as I said, but it's easy enough to google what Dubai looks like! It's a massive, modern and architecturally very impressive city in the desert. But, perhaps, unusually for this part of the world at the moment, it's extremely safe and peaceful. The locals are NOT up in arms complaining about their leader, mainly because the locals are happy with the way Dubai and the UAE are run. It is an absolute monarchy and best described as a benign dictatorship and although there are many issues vis-a-vis the way workers are treated in Dubai, the local Emirati population are well looked after. Emiratis make up about 16% of the population of the UAE as a whole – just under 1 million people.
Incidentally the United Arab Emirates are made up of seven different emirates or states of which Dubai is just one. The leader of of the UAE is Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan who is also Emir or ruler of Adu Dhabi. Prime Minster of the UAE and leader of Dubai is Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
It's been really good catching up with people in Dubai but now I am eager to “get on with it”. It seems like a very long time since I was on the road and I miss my bike. I fly to Cape Town on Sunday 6th and start three weeks of teaching. My bike is supposed to arrive in Cape Town next Thursday (10th March) but at this stage I have no idea how long it will take to clear customs. I'm very excited about actually starting the African leg of this journey but I must admit I'm a little anxious about the volunteer teaching I've signed up for. I'm supposed to do three weeks but already I'm thinking that as soon as my bike is ready I'll be eager to set off and it might be hard to resist the temptation.
Leaving Tracy and the UK earlier this week was still hard but a lot easier than I thought it was going to be. Strange really as I probably won't see Tracy for 4-5 months this time, longer than the Americas section of the trip. I was really quite emotional and slightly scared when I left for Alaska but I suppose it was a mixture of leaving home AND starting on the trip. I had all sorts of questions about whether I could do it at all, whereas now I'm more confident (I wonder if that's misplaced confidence). I still miss Tracy, obviously, but am so excited about what I'm going to do.
Anyway, I haven't got any time to write anymore, sorry. I hope to update my blog once a week at the weekends, but there will probably be fewer photos as I assume internet connection in Southern Africa will be slower. It was nice - if a little weird - to find out that so many people had been reading my blog. So thanks for that and I hope I can keep you entertained over the next few months.