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We have been in Dubai for several days, and I am in love! The culture, the fast growing hospitality industry, and the friendly people who take pride in everything they do makes this an amazing country. Yesterday I was on FaceTime with my best friend,

The SMCCU visit was truly one of a kind. SMCCU stands for Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding which opened in 1998. It is a non-profit organization that gives tourists information about the history, culture and religion of Dubai. We received hands on knowledge from Sharif who is a local Emirati. He was so well spoken and was ready to answer or clear up any misconception that we had about people from the Middle East. We learned a lot about the culture, the traditional outfits, and how Dubai became a country. But even though they have a rich heritage, they are very welcoming to visitors: 80% of the population are from other countries and 200 nationalities are in Dubai.

We visited a mosque and ate a traditional Arabic dinner that always begins with Arabic coffee and dates. The coffee cups are small and only a little coffee is poured to make sure that it remains hot. You sip the coffee, which is unsweetened, then take a bite of the date, which is sweet. We ate family style – large portions on the rug and everyone serving themselves.

In addition to learning about the culture, Sharif explained the reasons behind the traditional clothing. I volunteered to model the traditional khamir. He said that it is a woman’s choice to wear it and not a requirement. You would assume that wearing black would be hot in the Middle East but wearing dark clothes is actually cooler for you.12371148_1027237013963978_5680064207915105622_o

When we took the monorail to Atlantis, we were about to see the houses and buildings that make up the Palm Island. At the end of the monorail is Atlantis. The Palm is a man-made island but not the only one. From inside Atlantis, you can see The World Islands, which are man-made islands of continents of the world. Since Dubai is a Muslim country and gambling is illegal, it does not have a casino like the one in the Bahamas. Our tour guide showed us the presidential suite that is always guarded by security, has three bedrooms, and a huge living room.

Last night a few girls and I went to a night club. It was a lot different from the U.S. but also very similar. The atmosphere was amazing and the people were so friendly.


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