I have within me somewhere, a soul of a gipsy. I like to travel, discover new places, meet different people, try different foods and feel completely transformed.
Or I have a child within me, that finds different time zones, different temperatures and places magical.
I have been to places near and far, yet there was something in my visit to Dubai that has refused to let me come out of its charm.
Dubai is in contrast to my idea of simplicity and being close to nature.
It is all about the creativity and mind power, to turn a desert and wilderness into a place of such beauty and awe that it emerges as a magnet of glory and opportunity.
It had skyscrapers, beautiful contrast of sand, buildings and sky as a panoramic view.
The architect is amazing. I must say, in Dubai a few of the buildings felt like those in a science fiction movie… very arbitrary, contemporary and modern. A lover of architecture will have a lot to appreciate here.
While talking of buildings, one architecture that simply took my breath away was Burj Khalifa. A slender, sleek, tall and graceful. Burj Khalifa is a test of love at first sight. As if the glance of it was not enough to captivate, the nightlife, the walk at apparently night time, which on the contrary lights up more than any city of lights.
The warm breeze of the desert, the ambience of Arabic perfumes diffused in the open air, the lake, the boats, the mesmerising lights and the aroma of delicious food from restaurants all around is a sight and a feel that is impossible to paint with words.
Yet, the same ambience with loud music, Burj Khalifa at the back and fountain show is enough to transfer into a make-belief enchanting world. The same fountain show from the top of Burj Khalifa is a sight in itself. Dubai has all that it takes to make one feel royal, majestic and spoiled with luxury.
While talking of spoiling oneself, the malls of Dubai are in no match. From shops and brands all over the world, it is indeed a hub of fashion and class. With indoor skiing to the aquarium, children can feel Dubai is centred around them. From water parks to motion gate theme park, you cannot go wrong in choices.
My personal favourite was the first-night walk-in JBR. The hustle and bustle till late hours, a full picnic mode, the choices of food enough to crave more and the view. I enjoyed dinner at the cheese factory restaurant. The ambience was enough to create the dim romantic candlelight feel, halal beef burgers, mojito and cheesecakes were such a great treat. I enjoyed a dark brown, seeded chocolate bread as an appetiser too.
Although it was winter, whether in Dubai was still warm for us. I loved the sight of loose long and flowy dresses with open sandals. A sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen came to a great rescue.
Although there had been a number of places to talk about, from glow to miracle garden, one thing that left me to spellbound was a global village.
As a child, I remember exhibitions, from different parts of the country. It was a time to buy some beautiful handmade pieces, from embodied shirts, to silk painted drapes, masterpieces with fabric scrap and mouth-watering dishes from all over the country.
In England, at the time of Christmas, there are some beautiful German markets, outdoor beautifully lit and decorated with arts, crafts, garments and tasty foods.
Yet nothing compares to the majestic global village. A place where a number of countries of the world have a complete area or a village to themselves. It is a personalised architect, as you enter each with the foods, songs, dance and shopping. It feels like visiting the country in reality, as the small village represents all the culture, religion and handicraft of the country.
It is great for the history students to see the cultures and places as they really are, without a need for travel. It is such a moment to actually witness all countries brought at the doorsteps of Dubai. Most of the countries had their representation, yet the one that caught my attention most was that of Africa: handmade art and craft with minute details, creative ideas, finesse, colour and perfection. I could not but wonder at the skill, the mastery and the talent of Africans. Their dances, energy levels, confidence and zeal were yet another mind-blowing show.
There was a stunt show on the premises, where motorbikes, cars and trucks spun around with great speed, sound and skill… very fast and very furious if I may call it.
Every country had a musical show, a dance or performance to entertain on the main stage. While all of this and the food street was not enough to lure us to stay longer a fireworks and fountain show added to the galore. The good thing to watch was that the ticket of all of this was a very minimal price and families of all rich and poor could enjoy.
In fact, most of the places had free access and areas to enjoy like the fireworks of Burj Khalifa.
A walk and a drive-in safari had been an amazing experience. The dessert was very different. It was not a straight smooth sand, but the sand that forms tents or peaks at different levels; with frequent wind and sandstorm, the peaks change morphology, the small peaks get big while the big ones become small. It felt like the sand had a fickle mind of its own, or perhaps it was the choral direction of the wind to play with the sand.
Riding on a camel is exciting. The tall animal finds it hard to stand up and takes a while, yet with obedience and courtesy obeys quickly on a call of a pat on the back. The height while sitting on it gives a lift and a ride of its own. It makes one wonder how people travelled and relied mainly on this animal in the desert as a mean of transport. It must be a luxury car status at that time.
A handful of dates to eat and camel milk used to suffice the travellers on the long journey. Even today the race of camels is one of the most luxurious sports of the desert. No wonder camel is one kind of many extravagant investments.
Walking barefoot in the dry warm and never-ending sand with the blazing sun is an experience of its own. The sand sucks the foot in, almost if it has an additional gravity to it, it provides much resistance to move on.
This is exactly how I felt for Dubai, I could never fully come out of it. It’s a call for prayer, friendly, welcoming people, it’s choices for halal food and nightlife spoiled me. I am finding it hard to let go of it spell, its beaches and the sight of children carrying transparent balloons at night with lights all around them.
I miss travelling on its trams, the orange, red and green lines, walking in old and new Dubai, it’s Tesla taxis and boats.
I am missing having dinner opposite to fountain show in Burj Khalifa. I am missing Mandi dish with rice, mutton, soup and dessert kunafa. I am missing dates with camel milk coating, Filli’s saffron tea and karak chai of McDonald. There is something in Dubai, that is special indeed…
A land of sand, sea, camels, date trees and gifted hospitality❣️
I wish to visit Dubai again .. sooner!