Thursday, February 15, 2007

Dubai: Part II of III

One of my readers has recently left a comment or rather a request to write about memorable things that happened to me while travelling. I hope this part of Dubai story will cover that.

I went to Dubai after having travelled nearly all over Europe and USA and not expecting to be very much surprised. Well, I was wrong: I was astonished, amazed and surprised by Dubai every step during my visit.

It started at the arrival gate of the Dubai International Airport. I had a greeting service booked for me: this is a kind of VIP service that is probably available in most of the airports but just for VERY important people. In Dubai you can easily book it for yourself for just 21 USD and it it highly recommended for first time visitors, elderly, passengers with kids - They meet you at the aircraft door, take you to the customs in a nice little car, you don't wait in line for visa clearance (and lines there are enormous!! it looks like an endless sea of people! - that was my only negative impression of Dubai) then they wait with you for your luggage as long as it takes and make sure that you get everything and in proper order and finally deliver you to the trustworthy hands of your hotel representative in the Arrival hall. And all the way they are nice, smiling and courteous which makes you feel that you are the most important person in the world.

My second surprise was waiting for me in my hotel room. I stayed in a regular 4 star hotel in the business district, nothing special, not like those amazing ones that Dubai has along the seashore, but still... When I entered my STANDARD room I was amazed to see that it is 3 times bigger than the regular room: first it had a regular bed, 2 night stands, an armchair a table and then you already expect to see the wall with a window - not at all! Right after that I had.... a castle! I assume it was a place for kids if I came with a family! The castle was as high as the room itself, had 4 walls and windows and a door and inside it had 2 beds, storage space and "gaming" place!
And after the castle I also had a sofa and a coffee table and THEN I had the wall and the window!

The thrid surprise was waiting for me on the street: there is virtually no system of public transport. Most people drive their own cars and only poor workers usually take buses and may be occasional tourists because taxis in Dubai are very cheap and this is the best means of transportation around the city excpet if you want to go to a major shopping mall in the rush hour: to get back you will have to wait in line for a taxi for 30 minutes at the mall..

All major siteseeing places will amaze you too. Definitely start with the Dubai National Museum to learn the story about this wonderufl city (much more than than I told you in my Post I about Dubai) :

Then go see the famous Burj Al Arab (known as the Sail) - the most expensive hotel in the world. They have excursions inside and you can also visit their skyview bar on the top or "aquarium" style restaurant at the bottom (it is below the sea level) The only luxury of similar sort I saw in Versaille Palace, France but even there the rooms are so much smaller :-))

A lot of modern wonders you see in Dubai are considered to be the most technologically advanced in the world: try Wild Wadi water park to understand what I mean

Definitely go outside Dubai for a desert safari with dune rides, arabian BBQ, henna painting and belly dancing It will be like a "time machine" experience: from the ultra moredern to the good old days in arabian desert.

My final surprise was waiting for me at Dubai International Airport. I did expect a great duty free shopping but what I saw really exceeded my expectations: a huge golden palm tree in the middle of the hall which made the roof of an enormous gold jewlry store! People buy gold here not by item but by weight and this is how they are priced: you can only see the price of a gram of gold and then you ask a shop assistant to weigh whatever little masterpiece you've chosen.

To sum up, Dubai really NEVER stops surprising you and due to the fact that it is constantly developing, evolving and modernising, every time you go new wonders will be waiting for you on every corner.

1 comment:

Habibi said...

Dubai is a home of the most amazing modern and futuristic architecture one could ever imagine... it's as if a magical world would open up in front of you and you really feel like Dubai property is becoming look like you Alice in Wonderland. I'm normally not a fan of this type of architecture, but Dubai, somehow, has stolen my heart.
Some unforgettable architectural sights are inside some of the larger shopping centers... my very favorite being the bur juman... amazing architecture, mostly not on the tacky side.