I spent the first week of December in Dubai for a work trip. Other than the 16 hour flight home, it was a really great experience. Oh wait, I lost my wallet, credit card and cash while I was halfway around the world without my husband. So there were a FEW bumps in the road. Luckily my co-workers didn’t let me starve and I survived.
This was the view from my hotel room.
We spent an evening at the Dubai Mall and here were a few cars parked outside. I can say until this trip, I had never seen a Rolls Royce at a mall. Or a cop driving a Mercedes.
Once we walked inside the mall, there was a giant aquarium. Just your average mall attraction!
There was also an ice skating rink. Another section of the mall also had a full dinosaur fossil set up.
Here was another feature in a different part of the mall. I heard everything in Dubai was about showing off and I have to agree with that statement!
By the mall is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The fountains at the base are choreographed to music and play every 20 minutes. I was expecting traditional music, but heard Enrique Iglesias instead.
We ate at a local restaurant and all the food was fresh and delicious. I stayed away from the spices!
Half of the stores in the mall were all high end-Chanel and Jimmy Choo-while the others were normal clothing and toy shops. I told my family I finished my Christmas shopping in one spot:
The food was a mix of Indian, Mediterranean, and Asian.
We had a free day on Thursday before we flew out at 11 p.m., so we got to explore a little bit. The metro system is the cleanest, nicest I have ever seen. It was a definite step up from the DC system.
I never saw a section of town that was in terrible shape, but where we went to the market was definitely not as nice as our hotel area. It was mostly locals and we got to browse some shops and barter for some goods. More people were in traditional dress here than where we stayed. Once we started talking to people, you could start to tell where they might be from because the clothing style is slightly different from each country. I can think of people we met from Saudi Arabai, Iran, Afghanistan and Iraq. There were several local mosques in the area, so it was interesting to hear the call to prayer and watch people going in.
This guy was from Afghanistan and I bought a few things from him. Everyone wanted to sell you something for “a very good price.”
This was on the nightstand in my hotel room to point you in the right direction to Mecca.
Dubai was somewhere I never thought I would have the chance to visit, so I jumped at the chance to attend this conference. A week there gave me a good flavor of the Middle East, but it’s definitely more modern and relaxed than other countries. I heard people refer to it several times as the “Middle East Vegas” and that captures it perfectly. There were things I noticed, such as no alcohol at public restaurants, and I never saw women wearing revealing outfits. Some of the couples at the mall were holding hands, but you don’t see people kissing; everything I read said you can go to jail for public displays of affection. Another thing that really stood out was men tend to walk along holding arms or hands, even if they are just friends. You definitely don’t see that here!
I don’t know if I can top 2015 in terms of travel-3 countries in 4 months will be hard to beat!