Oh My!! . . . Dubai!
My very good friend had visited Dubai on several occasions and was in love with the country. I had heard so much about Dubai both from my friend, and from other persons who visited, that I decided to visit, just before my birthday, the following February. On arrival, I noticed that winter in Dubai was the completely opposite of winters here on the East Coast.
My flight over was on Emirates airline, which is one of Dubai’s finest fleets and it is still the very best airline I have ever flown. This airline is befitting of the lifestyle of a sheik as the food and the service were flawless. As I approached Dubai, I was in awe of the majestic dunes as they stretched out from the wonderful city nestled in the heart of the Sahara Desert. Dubai is a spectacular oasis filled with skyscrapers, fancy cars, the best hotels and the feeling of futuristic living. During the plane’s descent, my gaze was fixed on the expanse of the buildings as they stretched up to caress the golden sky. Most everything there is new and construction is happening everywhere on a daily basis. As I de-planed, I could hardly breathe due to the excessive heat and the hot sand that was blowing everywhere. When my friend came to get me from customs, I was told the morning temperatures would be around 75 degrees and noon temperatures would soar to as high as 95 degrees. Although outdoors was uncomfortably hot, indoors were very well air conditioned with palm trees, sofas and water fountains to enhance a mood of relaxation. No matter where we chose to have a meal, customer service was exceptional as they took great pride in providing the very best service to their patrons.
The call to prayer could be heard in the early morning hour, at approximately 5:45 am, and throughout the day you can hear the distinct sound of praying coming from the nearby Mosque. During this time, there is an air of reverence and calm, as Muslims take this time out to pay homage to their god. I began my tour on my first day at the Dubai Mall. This mall is considered one of the world’s largest shopping mall, and a very popular tourist attraction. Filled with the latest fashion, some of best technology, an enormous aquarium and a food court such as never been seen in the U.S., the Dubai mall truly takes the shopping experience to another level. After touring the Dubai mall, which of course we could not complete in a day, we searched for tickets to the Burj Khalifa, which is a short walk from the mall. The tour of the Burj, the World’s tallest building, took my breath away. I was elevated to 24 floors in approximately 20 seconds. During my descent to the observatory, I could see the unique design concept of the Burj displayed in pathways. What I loved most about this was the exhibit of the design theory (which is the theory behind this amazing building). I believe there is a method to every madness and reading about the inception of this amazing architectural structure gave me a deeper appreciation for its existence. The view from the 124th floor was a real-life scene from the Jetsons. The roadways are curvy, the footprints of the city was unique, and the buildings stretched the imagination as they were not typical, and they seemed to defy the law of gravity. This structure is definitely worth seeing!
My only scheduled tour prior to arrival in Dubai was the Dune Dash in the desert, but it turned out that my favorite activity was the Dune Desert Safari. After being picked up from your hotel you’re driven in A SUV to the desert entrance where you meet with other tourists in similar vehicles, who were equipped the ride in the desert. Dune Bashing thru the sand was exciting, and although it was not the smoothest rides, it was loads of fun and exhilarating. In order to drive in the desert, the air in the tires have to be adjusted, by releasing some of the air to accommodate a better ride. Half way to the camp area, we stopped to view the sunset. Although I thought the sunset from the Ricks Cafe in Jamaica was the most beautiful I have ever seen the sunset in Dubai took my breath away! Before arriving to the camp, we stopped for a falcon show, where we learned all about their speed, the history of falcons in that part of the world, and we saw an impressive falcon flight exhibition. The entrance to the camp was lovely with a fountain that welcomed you out of the heat. Dinner was served around low tables and carpets and pillows were our chairs. Buffet style food was served along with teas and juices.
Other activities one could enjoy close to the were camel rides, sand boarding, henna painting and Arabic dressing. There were sections of the camp where you could enjoy shisha, and there was also a dazzling belly dancing show to entertain all the guests as night fell. To top off this amazing night we were reminded to look up in the sky where I viewed a confetti of stars that seemed to light the night sky like fireworks.