The purpose of this first, very short, stayover in Dubai was to gather ourselves together before the flight to Ashgabat and the start of the Awfully Big Adventure this Sunday. When we return here after the Silk Route trip we’ll stay for a few days, go on a tour of Dubai and explore the city and its attractions in depth. Given that I got 1 hour of sleep on Wednesday night, and Cavan managed a bare 2, we’ve been staying in the old part of the city only half an hour away from the airport and have concentrated on recovering from Jet Lag. We’ve discovered a couple of good eateries close to the hotel and have enjoyed ourselves eating shawarma and drinking masala tea. We haven’t seen much of the city because when we haven’t been sleeping, a persistent haze of dust has covered the sky and obscured much of the view from our hotel window. The effect is much like a misty day in Otaki and it was disconcerting to walk outside and find a temperature of 35 degrees baking the streets. I wondered whether the haze was caused by a sand storm, but the air isn’t gritty, and there’s no debris on the pavement. Whether this is the result of pollution is too early to tell, but it certainly spoils the view. We leave here at 23.55 tonight and arrive at Ashgabat at 3.55am tomorrow morning. On Sunday we meet the others in our group and start our adventure.