Monday, September 26, 2011

Hello, Dubai

Danny: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Last night we flew into Dubai from Djibouti, North Africa. We spent the morning packing, getting our gear and getting through the airport. We were sad to be leaving our new friends in Djibouti and hope that we can return to the continent some day.
Omar and the US Embassy staff took such good care of us, arranged great concerts, workshops and showed us a part of the world that we won't soon forget.

When we landed in Dubai many hours later, it was strange to see so many lights, highways, skyscrapers and infrastructure after being in a country where there were more goats than cars. Dubai reminds me a bit of Singapore, but in a dessert setting. There are Starbucks, Ikeas, Bloomingdales, you name it, the store is here. The hotels are big and ritzy. The tallest building in the world is here in Dubai. It is over 200 stories high and twice the size of the empire state building.

We ate at a great Japanese noodle house last night and it seems there are many foods from different cultures here in this city.

This morning we went to play at the American University in Sharjah. We played at the student center for a few hundred college students and we all had such a great time. This campus is amazing and the tuition for all colleges in the UAE is free for Emerates born here.

The students are like any other college students I've seen around the world and the States. We all tend to have these preconceptions about the Middle East and it's culture, but when you are playing music for s bunch of college students, you quickly realize that clapping hands, singing mouths and smiling faces are universal.

We had had a press conference and interview before our concert and we all expressed how welcome we felt. We really have been received with open arms and hearts here in UAE. We spoke about cultural exchange and how our perceptions of the Middle East were changed by this experience.

After the concert we were presented with an award of Excellence. Here we are with the director of Student life, director of Student Affairs and the Chancellor of AUS.

We were invited to the student center's cafeteria for a great meal with our hosts and students. There is even a bowling alley right in the food court.

We gave out CDs, signed autographs, posed for pictures and we even made some new fans/friends today. Isn't that what this is all about, making friends and sharing music:)

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