So now for the part I’m sure most of you are more interested in…the actual stories to come from the trip!
I’m going to start off by saying that Dubai is absolutely incredible, and if anybody has the chance to go, take it! It was a very westernized city, and as a woman I never felt unsafe walking alone there. It’s like the Vegas of the middle East!
My coworker and I got in at 1230 am on Sunday morning. After a few minor hiccups with customs and security clearances, we were in! Our ride picked us up and we walked outside…into +35 degrees. A 1am. No jokes. The heat was completely overwhelming, and it was even hotter during the day! At one point, it was up to around 55 degrees with the humidity. We tried to go for a walk, but ended up turning around after 15 minutes because we couldn’t handle it. Dubai in the summer isn’t comfortable for Canadians! So we took taxis and public transit wherever we went. The nice thing is, these options were cheap. We never paid more than $10 Canadian to get anywhere.
So as this was a work trip, our tourist time was restricted to when we weren’t working. Even so, we still had time to see a lot of things! Like Vegas, Dubai seems to have built things with all the bells, whistles, glitz and glamour. I mean, they were the first country to build a 7 star hotel! And no, that’s not where we stayed!
One of our first stops was to the Dubai mall. Think of West Edmonton Mall, only bigger. And with a waterfall. And an aquarium. And the world’s tallest building outside. No big deal or anything.
But it doesn’t end there! After a morning of work, we went to Wild Wadi’s water park. It had some pretty cool rides (including a tube ride that shoots you uphill!) and the weather was fantastic for being outside in a bathing suit! No pictures from there, no way to carry a camera!
We also made a trip to the Mall of the Emirates. This one was cool too, for a couple of different reasons. It has an indoor ski hill. Seriously.
It’s not exactly the Rockies, but considering it’s completely man made and in the middle of the desert, it’s pretty damn impressive. But that’s not the best part. Oh no no. One of the guys we were with had been before and he took us to his favourite spot in the mall…the valet parking by the Starbucks. And oh my God…
Oh my. Definite highlight of the night!
The next day I was off to tour a mosque, more of a cultural excursion and definitely an educational one. This tour included a talk about Islam, and I walked away with a better understanding of the religion. It’s something I’d recommend to anyone! The outside of the building was quite striking, with amazing architecture.
But the inside was completely unadorned, basically a just a giant room with carpeted floors. This is in stark contrast to many of the churches and cathedrals I toured in Europe, and after the tour I had a greater appreciation for it. I can definitely see where Islam can be misinterpreted by Western society. Don’t worry Dad, I’m not converting!
The last part of the trip was to the Gold Souk (or Gold Market). Dubai is famous for it’s gold, and it’s one of the cheapest places you can buy it. Especially if you’re good at haggling (which I’m not). But it was incredible. The amount of gold and precious stones was unbelievable. Every thing you could think of: jewelry, watches, sculptures…
My coworker managed to score a pair of pearl earrings, but I came out empty handed. World’s worst haggler. Or maybe just the cheapest? Either way, no gold for Ali.
So there’s all the main highlights! All in all it was an amazing trip and I would recommend Dubai to anyone. I’d love to go back some day. And the best part of the trip? Stable blood sugars the entire time (except for one under-calculated sandwich) even with the time change, temperature, and lack of regular eating schedule due to Ramadan. Ali: 1. Diabetes: 0. Go me!