I left Istanbul late Thursday night. Just like in every city ever, Atatürk International Airport is far away from everything and public transportation is just not a time/cost efficient option. So this is what me and my roommates do: we take public transportation to Taksim and then take a Havataş bus to the airport. The Havataş bus is great. It's a private bus company and they charge 10 lira ($5) to take passengers directly to the airport.
The total trip was about an hour and a half, which is pretty good considering the fact that the airport is 20 miles from my house and there is always traffic. Also, note that those 20 miles are full of solid city, like downtown-style. The outskirts don't happen for a long while and the suburbs are so far away we don't even go. Istanbul is huge.
I love travelling by myself. It makes me feel responsible and independent. I get a few hours where I don't have to talk to anyone to do anything, and I get to sleep and watch movies. It's great.
I had a layover in Bahrain from 6-7am that was boring but I got to take a bus from the terminal to the tarmac and walk onto the plane while the sun rose behind us! That was cool. And, hey, now I've been to Bahrain!
On the flight to Dubai I started wondering about a visa. No one had told me to get one or mentioned anything about it, but I also hadn't thought about visas at all. Turkey requires a visa but you pay for it at the airport, and I was hoping the UAE did something like too. I also briefly devised a Plan B and a Plan C, in case I was supposed to have secured a visa before I arrived in the country. Luckily, it turned out that Americans don't need a visa! Yeah America! Way to get along well with other countries!
If you squint at this picture, you can see the Burj Kalifa. This building is sooooooo tall. It looks double the size of all the other buildings around it. It's also featured in the new Mission Impossible movie, as is Amy's dad's office building. Cool.