After recovering from a long flight from SFO to Dubai International by way of Paris, day one of the Dubai trip was spent getting an overall sense of the emirate.
A sharp contrast exists between both Emirati and expats in the United Arabic Emirates, especially those who work as laborers.
The workers live in close quarters with one another, sometimes sharing with 5 or 6 other people in a 12 foot by 12 foot room. Each floor of the living compounds has a communal shower and restroom.
Laborers on average earn a monthly salary of $200 U.S. in addition to the housing and bus transportation to and from work. Friday is often the only day off for most, as it is the Islamic holy day.
Most of the workforce comes from Southeast Asia, India and Pakistan.
Emirates by comparison are much more set in life, with free health care and many benefits of their status as citizens of the UAE.
Dubai itself is unlike what any might expect from an Arabic country. Some traditions are still set in stone, but a thriving night scene exists for those willing to embrace it.
People can tell that Dubai is a playground for the wealthy, with more high-end cars in five feet than one might find in a city such as Hayward. Benz, Land Rover and Ferrari are as common as a Honda might be on an American road.
Commercialism drives Dubai, with more malls than one can shake a stick at. One mall has as many as 1200 outlets and a large indoor aquarium.
Prices vary, but shoppers usually find a better rate in Dubai than they might in the States.