Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Back for our third and final time in Dubai. On this trip, Dubai was, like the last, Bangkok. A fantastic jump on jump off point for connecting flights to get us in and around parts of the world. And again this is why we were here, to connect with our flight out of the Middle East and into a part of the world we were so familiar with, South East Asia’s Malaysia. But by now we could also add Dubai to those “familiar” cities of the world we have become accustomed to through our travels, spending near three weeks here in total on this trip. We had two nights before our morning flight out to Kuala Lumpur and were here also for a second reason.
One thing we omitted from the Havana entry in Cuba was that on our final night when sitting at a gorgeous little ice-cream / bar on sunset, Murray in a round about way suggested that he thought we should get married. And without the traditional getting on one knee and handing over an engagement ring, we had a drink, a Cuban cigar and of course I said yes. It was definitely much more our style then following the traditional approach.
So here we were down at Cara’s Jewelry in the Gold and Diamond Mall selecting our engagement ring. A solitaire setting, .7 carat, H colour SI2 clarity set in a 18 carat white gold ring. Sound confusing? Yup it was, and we had done our research to understand all the 4 C’s and the market value. Of course I had to take the rational role rather than the emotional and had to know that we weren’t getting ripped off, we weren’t purchasing a blood diamond from an illegal mine in Africa, the diamond came with GIA international certificate to assure its value and so on and so on. The shop was filled with Irish, English and Australians all purchasing these precious little rocks. Some were spending incredible amounts and adding to their collection of many. So after at least 2 hrs of debating what size to go for and spending a little extra then intended we both agreed on a gorgeous ring and went out the back to watch the Indian jewelers complete it.
We walked outside the shop front to a little air-conditioned factory where 20 or so of Cara’s Jewelers were polishing, cutting, sizing and placing all types. On first glance I said to Murray “Oh god, we haven’t walked into a sweat shop have we?”, but no. The men were laughing and jeering, all looking quite professional completing the day in a comfortable setting. So we watched them size the ring and carefully carefully pull the diamond from its casing and set it into the 6 prong ring. I specifically choose 6 hoping that if one prong broke, the diamond would fall out! Then after that it was off to another man to polish the ring, steam it in some kind of solution and make it all nice and shinny…it was gleaming! I shook their hands, said a big thank-you and we were both taken back into the shop to which we told Wassim to “put it on plastic please…” Lets just add it to the debit we had enjoyed accumulating this year. And after a nice cup of coffee admiring the rock and exclaiming to one another “gee it looks sooo much bigger now doesn’t it?”, Murray then wanted to know if he could buy a diving watch, but I told him with a frown that “thats not how it works” and continued to admire my own hand.
And after yet another round at the Dubai Mall, a final view of the aquarium, another delicious meal at Wadi Gourmet and the last night view of the spectacular Burj Kalifa, it was early morning when we waved good-bye to our hotel crew, jumped in a cab and reached the international airport. “Excuse me…Murray and I have just got engaged and we were wondering if it would be at all possible to be upgraded to KL?” I said with the most darling smile and flashing my diamond. “We would like to madam but the flight is not full enough” A.K.A. “you will stick out like dogs-balls if I put you two with your filthy backpacker attire and unkept hair in business class”. So we sat in economy for the next 7 hours, me with my eyes closed and the occasional glance of where we were flying over India and Murray watching a few more movies before night fell quickly and we started to descend.