After a four hour flight from Nepal, I was the city of Dubai which is in the country of the United Arab Emirates. As my friend Joan said, “talk about cultural whiplash!” I went from crowded congested roads like this:
To organized roads like this:
I went from a city like this in a developing country:
To a city like this, in one of the most wealthiest countries:
David and I had been to Dubai four years ago to visit our dear friends, Diane and Jose. Honestly, I really didn’t care for it back then but I missed my friends. Diane and I had been trying to connect throughout the past four years and for a variety of reasons, it never worked out. This time, it was perfect! I had a layover in Dubai so I seized the moment and arranged a visit with Diane and Jose.
The last time we were there, David and I did most of the touristy things. Everything in Dubai is the biggest, tallest or the best. I compare it to an adult Disney World or Las Vegas on steroids. We visited Mall of Emirates that features the ski slope in the middle of the desert! Saw the Dubai Fountains, the world’s largest choreographed fountains at the tallest building, Burj Khalifa. At the 7-star Burj Al Arab building, that you cannot enter unless you have a dinner or overnight reservation; Diane, David and I had high tea on the 27th floor. At the time, it cost $125 per person for a cocktail, coffee and petite sandwiches, pastries and cakes. We could look down on the man-made, palm tree shaped island. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Then there is the Dubai Mall that has a full size skating rink, aquarium that has a glass bottom boat and although it doesn’t make the top ten “biggest mall list,” it is the size of 50 football fields. I have wonderful memories of our first visit and pictures…which, by the way, I tried to upload to share with you but for some reason, this website isn’t reading my old files.
Even though we hadn’t planned on visiting the Dubai Mall, we did go because of the technical ban that Trump placed on people flying from many Arab countries. I could not bring my computer or my Kindle on the plane. Diane and I made a trip to the mall so I could buy a book to read on the plane. Here are a few pictures that I took while there:
Shortly after we left Dubai, the Miracle Gardens opened. Other than returning to visit with Jose and Diane, I had no desire to return to Dubai again…..except, I really wanted to see the gardens.
It was a great week. I only wish that David had been able to visit, too!
Diane and I did some fun activities….she goes to pilates regularly and I joined her for a class. It was very good…lots of balancing and core work but she said that it wasn’t as rigorous as most of the instructor’s classes…that was fine by me!!! Another day, we took a ferry ride to the part of Dubai called “The Creek”. It was interesting seeing Dubai from the water……
It took about 2 hours to for the ferry to arrive at the Creek. It is an interesting spot. The old souks (markets) are there. There is the gold, spice and textile and now, there are several souvenir stalls. I found it very annoying because as we walked by, we were constantly being encouraged to stop in “it doesn’t cost anything to look!”
Further down, if memory serves me correctly, was the working port where the ships came in and delivered everything from around the world. When we were last there, David and I watched them unload appliances, food, cars….everything is imported here, which is one reason why everything is so expensive.
We were looking for a place to have lunch. Diane remembered a great restaurant that a friend had taken her to. We found it and I am glad we did. It was a lovely spot and not as touristy as places directly on the water. We were surrounded by women in the burkas and men in their traditional dress of a thawb. The Arabian Tea House Cafe was in the courtyard of a traditional home.
We both ordered the same thing…falafels and a Greek Salad. The falafels were a little drier than I preferred and the salad had a little too much dressing on it. Still, I loved the atmosphere….it was really an oasis from the heat of the day. Did I mention it was hot in Dubai? Them temperature was in the high nineties! Another wonderful thing was the refreshing beverage that Diane introduced me to…..it was so yummy!!! It was fresh mint lemonade….when they say fresh, it was fresh…freshly squeezed lemons and mint leaves in water….normally, they add sugar but we ordered it with the sugar syrup on the side as they tend to like things very sweet in that part of the world. As it was, neither of us added sugar. I must remember to make it this summer in Maine…it was so good!
We were in Dubai in January of 2013, the Miracle Gardens opened on Valentine’s Day, 2013! I missed it by a month! It was well worth the wait. Of course, it is the world’s largest natural flower garden with over 109 million flowers planted. I will let my photos speak for me….
The Butterfly Garden
Well, this was an unexpected treat! Right across from the Miracle Garden was the Butterfly Garden. Yay!!! It was four domes of indoor gardens that had butterflies flying around. They were beautiful! There were enclosed gazebos which you could sit with the butterflies and they would land on your head, hand or back.
One evening, Diane and I ventured to the “Glow Garden.” I wasn’t quite certain what it was but it sounded like fun and it was. I don’t quite know how to explain it …. a display of animals, flowers and buildings from around the world all decorated with lights! For someone, like me, who absolutely loves color…this was close to sensory overload. I loved it, especially the displays that were reflexed in the water…..here is my photo tour:
My final night in Dubai, I ate like a royal!!! As a thank you to to their employees for their extra hard work during an important project, Jose’s company arranged a dinner at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jose invited me to come along….I was excited and grateful. It was an opportunity to see the palace of one of the sheiks of the UAE!