After Egypt, I made an impulse decision to check out Dubai where a mutual friend invited me to come hang out with her during her winter break. She was a teacher who had a couple weeks off so I went to go crash one of them. I’ve always heard how flashy Dubai is so I really curious to see. I took her up on her offer and made my way to get down in Dubai.
Going Around Dubai
You almost forget you’re in a Muslim country sometimes while in Dubai. Everything is in English with Arabic second and it’s more westernized than L.A. Everything here feels artificial and slightly out of place. You really see the high rollers of the Muslim faith here.
Everything in Dubai wants to be the tallest, largest, or biggest something. I come to feel that everything in Dubai was really over done and more flashy than it should be. Luxury is a bit of an understatement of a word in Dubai. You can have absolutely anything delivered to your front door here. The city itself is super clean and there are zero homeless people. There is nowhere I found in Dubai that you can go where you can’t see the amount of wealth this city has. After about two days, I was ready to go. It’s fun to look at the buildings but I became bored after three days here.
Places I Got Down in Dubai
Spice and Gold Souks – Very touristy part of town where you can find jewelry, spices, and souvenirs. If you want to do some gift shopping, I suggest other shops not located here. The prices here for souvenirs is a bit steep. Walking around the gold souks is the reason why Dubai is the “city of gold.” The lanes are lined with windows full of gold and gems.
Wild Wadi Water Park – A waterpark my friend wanted to go visit. She was able to purchase discount tickets for being a teacher in Dubai. We gathered up a squad and went. Muslim water park is an interesting concept, especially being there right around Christmas time. Overall, we had a fun day.
Burj Khalifa – The tallest building in the world right in the heart of Dubai. Also, has a restaurant you should check out on top also called Atmosphere. My friend’s apartment has a perfect view of the Burj Khalifa and we also went down to watch the Dubai Fountain for a bit.
Dubai Mall – The largest mall in the world is what this mall prides itself on. Malls are a big thing in Dubai and this is where you can find a decent amount of the population in summer.
Mall of the Emirates – Another large mall in Dubai. The unique thing about this place is they have a little ski slope inside. Check out Ski Dubai.
Dubai Fountain – At the bottom of the Burj Khalifa is the world’s second largest choreographed fountain system. You can watch it perform different shows periodically through the hour.
Alserkal Avenue – Is more of a block than avenue full of high end art exhibits. They have warehouse exhibits from local artists to high-end international artists along with food stores. This was probably my favorite place in Dubai.
A Day in the Arabian Desert
My friend really wanted to do a desert safari and what perfect time then when I came into town. She and I set it up so we could go explore the Arabian Desert for the day. I can’t come to the Middle East and not spend a day out in the desert. This means we spent the day riding camels around, sand boarding, and dune bashing. The whole time I was in the desert I was singing Aladdin songs.
Dune bashing is a really big thing I found out in Dubai. After doing some research, it’s just really big in wealthier gulf countries. You see heaps of people who take off-road vehicles and ride the dunes. Some of these vehicles are 4×4 or a lot of motorbikes and ATVs. People had race courses set up and would race around dirt bikes. Apparently, the lighter vehicles do better with Arabian sand. People had meetings where they would conduct races up sand dunes to see who could make it to the top first (if they made it up there.)
I am really glad I made the decision to visit Dubai but can’t say it’s a place I would look forward to returning to. It’s not the worse, but it’s definitely not my scene. After three days of being there, I was ready to go. Lucky my friend was great company and I had a blast with the week of her vacation she let me crash.