March 27, 2013 - Posted by Erin in Culture, Travel, Travels in Asia

Camels and sheikhs and robot jockeys, oh my! That’s pretty much all I could think the whole time I was at the Al Marmoum Camel Racetrack, which is situated in the sandy and relatively undeveloped outskirts of Dubai. At the races to do research for an article, I was able to ride around the track in a chase car, stuff myself with loads of free baklava, and get within dreamy distance of the Crown Prince of Dubai.

It was a wild Middle Eastern adventure to be sure, one which allowed me to get acquainted with a softer side of the city, minus all the looming skyscrapers and perfectly manicured streets. While I may have to tease you about my experience (coming soon to an in-flight magazine near you), here are some shots of the event’s most surreal moments. Also, my friend Holly, who graciously hosted me, provides a brilliant recap of the races over on her blog, so be sure to check it out!


The finish line at the races is a jumble of camels, robots, SUVs and royalty

Robot jockeys replace what used to be child jockeys, which were banned back in 2002

The Crown Prince of Dubai, AKA Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum

A winning camel after being slathered with a saffron mixture

Striking a pose with my new camel peeps

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March 6, 2013 - Posted by Erin in Travel, Travels in Asia

I was ready to head out the door, where my mom was waiting in a just-arrived taxi so that we could go to downtown Dubai. Something was missing, though.

I reached in my bag to fumble around for a few key items: Wallet? Got it. Sunglasses? Yep. Camera? Camera?!? Camera!!!!!!!!!

And then panic.

I don’t typically lose things, you see. Wallets, sunglasses, cameras — you name it — I can’t remember the last time I lost something of any value (pardon me while I knock on every piece of wood in sight). But on this particular day, I was coming off of a camel-racing high, and somehow misplaced my camera in the process.

So, naturally, a freak-out session ensued. During minutes that felt like hours, I frantically dumped out my bag, called a contact at the race track, and rung up the taxi company that had dispatched my earlier cab. And nothing. No leads. Just panic.

And then in ran my mom with news. Get this: The lovely Indian taxi driver, who had dropped me off almost 30 minutes earlier, had come back to bring me my camera. Shaken by his generosity, I broke down in tears, and thanked him profusely for his kindness.

The lessons learned here: keep an eye on your stuff, always be nice to cab drivers, and mostly, of course, never doubt how tremendously kind people can be all around the world.

The end.

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February 22, 2013 - Posted by Erin in Culture, Traditions, Travel, Travels in Asia

My trip to Dubai in summary: camel races, surprise boxes of baklava, and up-close-and-almost-personal sheikh encounters. Yes, yes, I might just have to stay.

More to come soon…

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