I must admit that Dubai was not on my bucket list. I had heard so many stories before I planned the trip that I thought it was not worth it. But, there I was not taking people’s opinions for granted. So, I packed my bag.
Dubai is one of the 7 Emirates of the United Arab Emirates. The population of the Emirates consists of 2 million citizens living with 8 million foreign workers. You never see an Emirati working in labor or low level work such as taxi drivers, janitors, or selling goods in a store. Emiratis are the citizens and everyone else is a second class “citizen.”
I wanted to see what were all the good things Dubai had for me to admire and talk about. To be fair, my friend Janica described it as a city built on a desert and, indeed it was.
We arrived at night and we were exhausted already. Before that trip, I spent 7 days in Istanbul and Cappadocia with my husband — who, btw, is the best travel mate. We went to our hotel and got some rest. We were so looking forward to debunking most of the comments about Dubai.
The first day was quite magical; as I come from an underdeveloped country, all the touristy areas and monuments were the “largest” and “biggest” something in the world. Examples are: the tallest building (Burj Khalifa), the fanciest hotel in the world (Burj al Arab), the largest gold ring, the largest indoor ski slope, the largest mall (Dubai Mall), etc. For a moment I made a pause and asked joyfully of my husband: do you think they also have the largest (...) in the world? He looked at me horrified and changed the subject with a “not polite, Salua.”
Indeed there is a lot of luxury. I believe it is like living in a fairytale. All about Dubai are brands and fancy lifestyles. I was really impressed with the touch of sophistication in every single detail. But mostly, the determination of the royal family to build a place for all and not just for themselves.
These people knew how to invest their money and how to provide immigrants an opportunity to progress and earn good salaries. The downside of this society is that the immigrants never become citizens of the Emirates. Moreover, if a man marries a foreigner, his children born in the Emirates are, therefore, Emiratis. If an Emirati woman marries a foreigner, neither her husband nor her children born in the Emirates are Emiratis.
One of my days was spent at Skydive Dubai. However, I could not jump because the winds were too strong. We were in line for a few hours until they decided to cancel the flights for the day. If you —like me— go to Dubai to jump out of an airplane, do it in the beginning of your trip so that you can rebook if cancelled for weather conditions.
Places that you want to visit are noted above. But, try to book a dinner at the Burj al Arab hotel. They are willing to give you a tour to their top floor, where you will find the restaurant and the helicopter pad. Perhaps the daytime is the best time to do so. However, at night, you can appreciate Dubai’s beautiful skyline.
We took a morning to learn about the constitution of Dubai in one of the Emirates and to visit the Dubai museum in the old side of Dubai. At night, there are plenty of cruises throughout the city. You don’t want to miss that either. In my case, I cruised for two and a half hours over the Dubai water canal and the dinner was included. Good food.
Ideally, 5 days in Dubai are enough to enjoy the largest and the biggest of everything. Places to go are: Palm Jumeirah, Dubai Gold Souk, Dubai Marina, Dubai Museum, The Dubai Fountain (for a minute of spectacular dancing waters), Ski Dubai (for some fun skiing time), madnat Jumeirah (which literally means the city of Jumeirah), the Jumeirah mosque, Burj al Arab, and Burj al Khalifa.
While I am researching a place to go next, I will be in the moon.
If you have questions, find me on Instagram: @saluakamerow