South Africa and Botswana Trip travel blog

Vince’s father came at 2:30pm to pick Eric and I up. Vince took two of his climbing landing pads because it is free to check in 2 luggage per person. With our luggage the small SUV was filled to the rim. We met Eric’s other 3 friends at the airport: Keith, Noah and Keith’s girlfriend Lisa. All 3 are much older than Eric and Vince in their late 20th, seem nice. The fight was on time to take off at about 6:00pm. Vince and Eric sit together in a row in front of me. The service and food were outstanding. It was a Boeing 777 new plane. I would say that to me the seat control has been improved a lot and it is much quiet. The plane was nearly full, most passengers were Arabic and lots of Indians. I was the only Chinese on board. I felt like a minority. As usual I could not sleep well and watched a movie. With my vision issue I could not read much either or watch more movie.

After we reached Dubai on time at local time 7pm, we decided to check into our hotel first to get rid of our carry-on luggage. Eric’s other friends did not know that Emirates provides free room that needs to be reserved, they did not have reservation. We had 3 rooms and they could fit in. However, the Emirates staff told us they could not go to hotel with us without a reservation. They decided to go to Dubai mall area instead. Outside the airport it was 98deg and humid. We three took the shuttle to the Cope International Hotel nearby. To my surprise the dinner was included in the stay. We met at the restaurant and had a mid-ranged buffet. I tried the smoked eggplant and mushroom as a local delicacy. Eric and Vince took some standard American dishes. The desert was good and had many choices. We were too tired to go visit the tallest building near Dubai Mall and went to our room to get some rest. Next morning, I got up at 12:45am for our 3:00am connecting flight. After ringing Eric’s and Vince’s room without answer I went to the front desk to check out. At 1:00am they still did not show up. I had to go to their room to knock on the door. Both did not get to be woken up by the ringing. We hurried to the shuttle and got to our gate. Their friends were there and told us they had a great time in town, especially the aquarium inside the mall was worth it. Dubai is a modern and vibrate city. It was very similar to how things done in the States. I did not feel that I have left US.

I received an email from my host Marnie at Cape Town that said the taxi drivers will be on strike starting Aug. 7. I might have trouble to find one. If I have any complications, he will come to pick me up. So nice of him! I like him already.

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