Sun…sand…shopping – welcome to the marvel of the modern world – Dubai!
The captain announced our arrival in Dubai and I stared down at the organized array of shimmering lights of this great Emirate. Right at the airport I realized that this is going to be an awesome experience. The floor of the airport is carpeted to give the feel of walking in the desert, and huge artificial palm trees greet you on arrival. All around you are blinding lights and awe-inspiring displays of duty-free goodies. After completing the formalities, we were taken to the Imperial Suites hotel, where we would be staying for the entire duration of our trip. On the way to the hotel, we witnessed the amazing skyline of Dubai. All the hi-rises displayed a multitude of colors and lights. What a way to start the visit!
The next day, we set out for a city tour – starting with Bur Dubai, that is Old Dubai. This area has a distinctive personality with traditional buildings, atmospheric alleyways, and trademark souks (markets). Here, we saw the impressive Jumeirah mosque and the Jumeirah area. The Jumeirah beach with its clear sea and the outstanding Al Burj was definitely the highlight of our city tour. Dubai is a city of skyscrapers, incredible highways, and a-maz-ing cars. Just a drive around the city was a treat in itself.
Following the city tour was the most anticipated event of our trip – visit to Burj Khalifa. The entire experience of the Burj Khalifa visit was awe-inspiring. The entry to the Burj is through the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world. The mall itself is very impressive, but more about that later. Once you get inside the lobby that leads you to the elevator to the top of the Burj, you are treated to the impressive history of the Burj’s conception, construction, and vision. The elevator takes you up to the 124th floor in one minute (we checked with a stopwatch :D) And then you are blown away with the jaw-dropping sights of Dubai. Stretches of the desert, ending with the boundless seas, and interspersed with man-made structures of hi-rises and highways, you can only marvel at the God and man-made wonders. No words describe the feeling you get when you are At The Top 🙂 (that’s the name of the observational deck at Floor 124).
After coming back to Earth, we roamed about the gorgeous Dubai Mall. Buying anything was out of question, I would have to spend all my savings to buy anything :P. But window-shopping is always an option – and I did just that. The sheer variety of shops was enough to tire me – designer clothes, bags, shoes, jewelry, chocolates, lamps and lanterns, and so on. I spent a blissful 2 hours just in awe of it all. Now I am not very sure if money can’t buy happiness. If I can buy all those goodies, I will definitely be very very happy 😀
Later, we were treated to the amazing fountain show at the Dubai Mall. And with luck on our side, the fountain danced to the tunes of a Hindi song from Om Shanti Om 🙂
The Dhow Cruise in the evening, with the sumptuous meal, the brilliant city lights, and the cool breeze of the sea, was the perfect end to the magical day. But the best was yet to come.
The next day, in the sweltering afternoon sun, we set out for the Desert Safari. This consists of insanely roaring the land cruiser up sand dunes at top speed and 80 degree angles. Every time we feel we won’t be able to take it anymore, the cruiser bounces and speeds over the dunes for another adrenaline rush. After the insane ride, we reached the Desert camp in the middle of nowhere. Here, the calming desert sunset, the Arabic meal, the belly dance, and the Fire Show made our evening the best evenings in Dubai.
The next day, we went to the inspiring Palm beach and the Atlantis hotel’s aqua park. We spent the day having a blast with wild water rides, picturesque beaches, the Dolphin Bay, and the aquarium. That evening we finally went shopping at Meena Bazaar 🙂
The last day of our visit started with a sand storm – and with it, my hopes of shopping at the local market were doomed. We compensated by taking a metro ride – an awesome experience. On our way to the airport we halted at the Mall of the Emirates. Here, we saw the modern miracle – snow in a desert – Ski Dubai. After spending 2 hours in this magnificent mall, it was time to bid adieu to Dubai and return home. And thus my first-ever foreign trip concluded. It was an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life 🙂