After a fantastic trip in Turkey, we took a flight to Dubai which was a stop over before heading back home. We were stationed for only three days. We checked in at J W Marriott Marquis. It was sheer luck or the manager was kind enough to upgrade our room to Presidential suite. My first reaction when I saw the room…Wallah! The room was fabulous ! This was the best room I could ever get in all my stays across the world in Marriott. The hotel looked beautiful at night like diamond crowned twin towers glittering all the way to the top. We switched on the radio and was surprised to hear Malayalam songs. Now that was a start!. I took a snap of the bird’s view of the city from the hotel. Later during our city tour we came to know that the hotel we stayed in was the world’s tallest hotel ! That was one off the check list already done!
I couldn’t get enough of the fresh tropical fruits and olives in the breakfast. We then headed to the city for our big bus tours.
CITY TOUR : We took big bus tours to get a glimpse of the city. Dubai is located on the southern coast of Persian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates to make up United Arab Emirates.
Our first stop was Jumeirah Mosque. It was a beautiful mosque built with white stone in the medieval Fatimid tradition with a huge central dome and two minarets. The mosque looked even more grand when it was lit up during dusk. We had a chance to see intricate artistry highlighted in the dark during our night tour. We then headed over to public beach near Burj-Al-Arab which is the only 7 star hotel and is the third tallest hotel in the world. The design of the hotel resembles the sail of the ship. It is constructed on an artificial island. When you tour the city, you notice that most of the sightseeing points in the city of Dubai is either shopping malls (Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, Wafi Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall and so on) or architectural buildings of various shapes and sizes. We also soaked in Spice Souk Market and Dubai’s traditional Gold Market. Series of jewelry shops with glittering gold just blinds your eyes. We had also taken the night tour that day where you have dedicated guide to show you around the city. I did not feel the tour to be worth it. The guide was merely explaining on the real estate prices and was narrating on how one should invest in Dubai rather than explaining any historic facts of the city. The last part of the city tour was light and sound show in the Wafi Mall. The theme of the show was Return of the Pharaohs.
DHOW CRUISE : The next day morning after an average city tour covering again all the artificial structures, we decided to embark on dhow cruise. The boat traversed across the Dubai creek at night. Dinner was served on the cruise accompanied with music and Tanoura dance show. It was a pleasant ride where we could see the glamour of old city at night.
DESERT SAFARI : It would be a mistake to leave Dubai without trying the best activity they have. Desert Safari is one of the most unforgettable rides and also one hell of a desert roller coaster ride. We were picked up by the driver in a 4 X 4 vehicle. We had an Indonesian couple to give us company throughout our ride. We headed towards highway and at one point he stopped his vehicle before entering into the desert. I noticed that they released air from the tires to get more traction on the sand. He then rode aimlessly along with other vehicles into the middle of the desert. It was a bumpy ride with the passengers swaying from one end to the other trying to grab hold of whatever they could. I would not call it desert safari, it was rather dune bashing. It was a phenomenal sight on how the sand dunes changed their color. It was nearly sunset time and they stopped in the middle of nowhere to watch the setting sun before they proceeded for the night show. When we entered the camp after the safari ride, we were shown our seats for the dinner and the show. A man with a falcon walked to the center of the stage and people rushed to him to pose selfies with the falcon. Of course it was not free! Falcon makes you pay the price. Dinner was served and lights faded off the stage. We saw Tanoura dance where the man created several formations with his skirt. There was a moment where he completely looked like a spinning top ! Next in line was belly dancing where the dancer’s hips swayed in tune with the intoxicating Arabic music. I took a small video of the show. Desert safari is much recommended and worth the trip.
BURJ KHALIFA : Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world soars high in the city of Dubai with 829.8 m in height. Apart from breaking the world record of being the tallest building in the world, it also breaks several other records like highest stories in the world, highest outdoor observation deck in the world, highest occupied floor in the world, elevator with longest travel distance in the world and so on. I stood there admiring the architecture of Khalifa when suddenly lights went dim across Burj Lake and a soft music played with dancing fountain. The Dubai fountain dancing in front of Burj Khalifa is a sight not to be missed. I captured a video clip of the show. The way it was choreographed, the water danced well to the tune of the music played. The selection of music was brilliant and water took various forms and shapes during the symphonies. It seemed like band of orchestra spraying and ejecting gush of water based on the the musical score. The water booms and ejects at high pressure to a certain height marking the completion of the finale moment.
This brought me to the end of my Dubai trip. After travelling from Turkey which had many historic places, Dubai failed to impress me with its charm. The city no longer had that rustic feel. Man made Islands, huge buildings, malls one of them even had Ski Resort which seemed so unnatural to me.It was good for the locals to beat the heat but for me the city had lost its essence. Going to Desert Safari and enjoying the Tanoura and belly dancing show was the only time I truly felt that I am in Middle East. Before I could sense the feeling of tale of Arabian nights, the bubble popped when I looked at all glitz and glamour of buildings around me. I was unable to feel anything anymore even while looking at the most beautiful architecture. I see only tall skyscrapers trying to make a world record with some fact or the other. Probably the best place for architects to try out their creative skills! I left for home without taking any part of the city or leaving any part of me in Dubai!
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