Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dubai

I finally got the chance to actually visit Dubai after making several touchdowns at the airport on transit. It was a lovely place to visit, although it was hellishly hot! It was impossible to walk for more than 5 minutes outside without desperately seeking shelter from the sun, and to make matters worse there are no trees on the pavements to provide shade. Luckily for me, my hotel was next door to the metro, so I didn't get fried.
Desert Safari
Photo Credit: Shayera
Concrete jungle
Photo Credit: Shayera
In my opinion, Dubai isn't impressive. It’s a city without a soul, and by this I mean it could pass for any other concrete jungle in the world. Without the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, you could mistake the place for Doha or even Singapore sans the desert and extreme heat. There’s nothing distinctive that announces Dubai to you.

In addition, the shopping experience was nothing to write home about either. With large shopping malls housing several European and American stores, I was disappointed they had very little to offer. Funnily enough, I spent more time walking than shopping due to the mall’s vastness.
Shot of Burj Khalifa from my taxi
Photo Credit: Shayera
The City of Light?
Photo Credit: Shayera
Ventilation vent - it was surprisingly cool in the hut
Photo Credit: Shayera
On the upside, I loved the city tour and desert safari that ended in a camp where we feasted on traditional Middle Eastern food, while being entertained by dancers. It wasn't the most comfortable seating arrangement, but I like that I was briefly transported to a different period. I also visited the museum which showcased life before the discovery of oil, and was amazed at the efficacy of the ventilation system they built to keep their homes cool in the oppressive, desert heat.
The camp where I feasted
Photo Credit: Shayera
Needless to say, I am impressed with how Dubai transformed itself from a desolate desert to a tourist attraction in a few short years. It’s the perfect example of the importance of a visionary leader, and proves that without one, a country will remain in lost in the dark.