We flew for eight hours to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. As you can see there is a lot of sand.
The suburbs are typical desert architecture but the city architecture is spectacular.
The airport was impressive, big, efficient and I got to use a drinking fountain, my first in two years!
I was so excited to see freeways and signs for directions.
This building is what I was interested in seeing. It is called Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest building.
With dust in the air it is still impressive.
It is 2717 feet tall with 163 stories. It was completed in 2010. Of the 100 tallest buildings in the world, Dubai has 21 of them.
We took a tour of the city. It seemed like a spread out and bigger Las Vegas. The malls and shops were amazing. You can ice skate, snowboard, and view a huge aquarium while shopping for the riches of the world.
The beach on this side of the Arabian Gulf is beautiful. (Iran is across the water and they call it the Persian Gulf).
The water was crystal clear and cool compared to the 100 degree temperature outside.
If I was to go there again I would head straight to the beach with a lot of sun screen and forget the shopping.
U.A.E. has two exports, dates from date palms and oil. Everything else is imported.
The next morning we headed out with the other 510 passengers on an Airbus 380.
There are cameras on the nose, the tail and looking down if you are interested. There were also 500 movies to choose from, plus TV, games and communication options.
We headed straight north from Dubai (heading 360), crossed the North Pole and continued straight south to San Francisco (heading 180). It was pretty impressive to an old navigator who had to learn to fly an artificial grid system before satellites and GPS.
HAPPY DAY! After 24 hours in the air for two flights we were met by our daughter Rebecca and family. Tyler had arrived home from his two year mission in Brazil and was there to meet us too.
Ah -- San Francisco and California. Everything looks so neat and clean.
We headed over the new Bay Bridge we hadn't seen before.
Mt. Diablo means home to me. I took this photo just before we got off the freeway in Walnut Creek where I grew up. I hiked that mountain many times as a scout and teenager.
Tucked off to the left side and another eight miles is Clayton where we have had a home for 35 years.
When we arrived there were more signs and balloons and it was a little embarrassing.
But the best part besides being with Rebecca and Brent and family was a surprise of ten people waiting for us in the back yard. Many of our friends took the time to wait at our home to greet us back in Clayton.
I didn't get any photos of them but the house and yard were in great shape thanks to my sister-in-law, Marjolyn and her husband Leon, who had stayed in our home while we were gone.
The cat, Abby, even remembered us.
Josh and Sam and their families will arrive for the weekend and then Ben and his family will come from Texas in July and then Rachel and her family from Texas will follow.
I am surprised how quickly it feels like I have never been gone, and wonder if all the wonderful people we left behind were just some sort of dream.