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Published: June 27th 2011
A day in Dubai. That is about all I think I'm good for in this weird city. It is often said that if Saudi Arabia and Las Vegas had a child, it would be Dubai. Though I have not been to either Saudi Arabia OR Las Vegas, I'd say this observation is apt. The city borders on the ridiculous while attempting to be spectacular. Okay, to be fair, there is a lot to be impressed by with Dubai. For example, I stood in one of the world's largest shopping malls complete with an NHL sized ice rink and the world's largest indoor aquarium in the shadow of the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest tower.
The Burj Khalifa sure is impressive. Standing at 828m in height, it dwarfs the CN Tower. To me the Burj Khalifa makes for a great analogy for Dubai as a whole. On paper, it sounds incredible, but to me the Burj Khalifa wasn't so majestic as it was peculiar. The Burj Khalifa seemed more awkward and haphazard like a 9 foot giant you would see at a freak show to gawk at rather than to be awed by.
We stayed with two very gracious and
hospitable American hosts who have relocated to neighbouring Sharjah, one of the more conservative Emirates who toured us through various shopping malls, boasting ice rinks, aquariums and ski "resorts". Yes, that's right. Ski resorts in the desert. Yeesh.
Apparently, in this conservative part of the world, Friday brunch is a must. Hearing of the high cost of everything here and being quite conscious of my budget, I was immediately blown away by the all you can drink and eat buffet featuring prawns, lobster, steak and a build-your-own sundae station where you could choose from 20+ toppings. $85 for brunch is a new record though I was told it was not unusual for people to dine on $300 brunch buffets. Ouch.
Jamie and I had planned on visiting the famed Burj al Arab Hotel which is a 7 star sail shaped hotel for a drink. However after learning that entry alone cost over $100 we decided to sip on drinks at a local bar looking gazing at it from afar. The night was spent wandering through the jewelry district where shop fronts were bedazzled with rings, pendants and necklaces priced to $100000 and beyond. Considering we had just come
from India and were en route to E. Africa, I think it was just a bit much for me.
Admittedly, one day in Dubai is not really enough to fairly evaluate the city. I'm sure there are many endearing qualities that Dubai has that would need time to discover, appreciate and uncover. Dubai can't be as superficial as it seemed but perhaps that is for someone else to figure out.
*As a side note... our baggage drama has come to an end. After daily calls to the airport demanding our bags and being routinely sidetracked, denied or placated, we told them we were leaving India and expected to meet our bags at the airport. Nope. Note without an arrangement. Right. We were informed that our bags would be destroyed. We told them to proceed but make sure they filed the proper paperwork. I guess their bluff was called and the following day our bags arrived in Kochi. Bitter sweet actually. I was quite comfortable living quite minimally and it was a bit of a fun challenge to see if I could trave for 3 weeks in a half sized backpack.
AFRICA HERE WE COME!
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