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Published: November 30th 2015
MALL RATS. Dubai has plenty of them. Malls here aren't just for the young. People of all ages frequent the malls; some to actually buy
stuff, others for the social atmosphere it provides, but most go to get out of the oppressive heat, which can, in the height of summer, reach daytime temperatures upwards of 45-50 degrees C (113-122 F). This can only translate to very, very hot, no matter the temperature scale one uses.
Ice skating, creative, artistic fountains, a ski slope, one of the the world's largest aquariums and thousands of world class designer shops - one could never be bored inside a Dubai mall. One can also, of course, just wile away the day with plain ole' people-watching, as this city of variance offer a vast array of faces; it is a real cultural melting pot as domestic workers, construction workers, tourists, business folk come from all over the (developing and developed) world looking for employment, looking to spend some bucks, looking for a different lifestyle. If there is anywhere in the world that can offer so many contrasts, it would be here in Dubai.
We certainly spent our time in the
Let the Bull Butting Games begin!
No blood shed in this bull fighting ring - the bulls just butt heads until one caves and the other is crowned the winner.
But Natalie also showed me a good sampling of the famously elegant beach-y areas, the fantastic nature and the wealth of history the UAE offers. On the east coast, on the far side of the UAE peninsula, perhaps a few hundred kilometers from Dubai itself, we stumbled upon a popular and ancient sporting event in Fujairah, called Bull Butting. This is NOT a bull fight as no animal gets injured; in fact the proud owners of these beasts covet them. The basic premise is that two bulls are put in a ring and lock horns, trying to push the other out of an imaginary circle or one drawn in the dirt. Simple as that. This hugely popular sport draws impressively large crowds consisting of 99% males. There was a distinct possibility we were the only females around amidst hundreds of mostly Arab men and boys, but were warmly received and enjoyed the spectator sport as much as those around us.
As a budget traveler - and a seriously frugal one at that - I am constantly pinching my pennies, meaning there are plenty of activities I miss out on, namely due to
Downtown Dubai as a bird sees it
The Burj sits at a whopping 829 meters (2721feet) high -- that's over three times the height of the Eiffel Tower!
cost. One thing I felt I had to do, however, as I enjoy a good view, was reach the top of the world's highest building, the Burj Khalifa. Open only one and a half years, and the set of the latest Mission Impossible movie, the Burj was calling my name. We made prior reservations and when our time arrived, we zipped up 124 floors (the elevator purportedly travels at 10 meters/second) to the public observation deck - way up in the clouds - with an incredible 360 degree bird's eye view of Dubai, and, later, the setting sun. What lay below me was a jaw-droppingly gorgeous view of the fast-developing city in the desert. Stunning, it was simply stunning what lay before my eyes.
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