First Stop, Dubai.
Dubai, Dubai, Dubai! So futuristic! At least that’s the first word that comes to mind when I think of this city. I’ve been wanting to visit here ever since I first heard of it many years ago. I believe it was one of my co-workers who described to me an oasis with man-made islands and a building that made the Empire State Building look like Mugsy Bogues. I’ll admit, he did exaggerate a bit on details slightly, but overall Dubai certainly lives up to the hype. I didn’t get to spend as much time here as I wanted, but still was able to explore enough. For those of you who may be traveling to your next country, definitely look into flying with Emirates Airlines as they have major layovers in Dubai. If they give you a layover that’s overnight, then they will also provide you with a voucher for a free night’s stay at their hotel that includes a decent breakfast buffet. Also, Emirates is probably the best airline I’ve ever flown on, top of the line for sure.
Before I got to Dubai I initially had planned to hit the desert and ride a camel, since I’ve never rode one before. The Middle East and camel just seemed like a great combo to me so I couldn’t wait! Unfortunately, the company I booked my desert excursion with failed to follow through and never picked me up from my hotel! (By the way I book my tours in most cities with GetYourGuide, who are great at what they do)(You can book tours with them at a discounted rate by copying and pasting, https://www.getyourguide.com/?partner_id=D98ASKD&cmp=menuhomepage). They handled the blunder from the local company very professionally and offered to re-book but I instead chose a refund in this instance. My hotel proposed a few planners so I decided to do an afternoon tour around Dubai. I think I paid around $35 to be guided around in a van that stopped at different locations for approximately 4-5 hours long. The guide took us to Jumeirah Beach, Atlantis, The Dubai Mall where we also watched the water show beside the Burj Khalifa building, and to some flea market type of spot called Saga World. Apparently they must have some connection with the guys in there because we stopped for about 45 minutes to have a “rug” sales presentation pitched to us. Definitely didn’t sit too well with my jet lag and the fact that they wanted a few hundred dollars for some cloths I could find on Slauson Ave. for $10. But hey, people were buying so more power to them. As the tour ended, we stopped by the aquarium in the mall but did not go inside. Pretty cool to see from the outside though.
Dubai sort of reminds me of Las Vegas with a beach attached. Although it was the middle of October, the temperature was around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the sun was giving out free tans. I liked the feeling of having a beach in the desert and the water in the Persian gulf was quite warm too. Most of everything in Dubai is expensive however and you get less for your buck. For example, the same food combo I ordered there was $4 more and a smaller portion than what I normally receive here in the States. Also if you rent a car, don’t forget to fill up your tank upon return and please don’t speed. Two mistakes that cost me quite a few dollars while I was there. Especially the speeding part! They don’t have speed traps set up with police officers but they do have cameras everywhere that does the job instead. I found out a month later when the rental car company said I had 2 of them that they were going to charge to my credit card. $400 down the drain! SMH
Also another thing, if you’re looking to go to the top of the Burj Khalifa it’ll cost you close to $200 and you should plan ahead as the wait line can be very long. Here’s a cool pic of the fastest production car in the world, the Koenigsegg Agera RS on display at the Dubai Mall. For only $2.1 M it can be all yours!