I had Sunday to myself as Elliot was working (they work Sunday - Thursday here!) and after re-packing my suitcase and washing my hair, I grabbed a taxi to Jumeirah Beach as I wanted to see the Burj al Arab before I left. (The 7* star hotel on the man made island!)
(I'd be bothered about my crappy bikini body if I didn't have a boyfriend and wasn't at the other side of the world away from all you biatches ;))
As I mentioned, the taxis are fine and after my initial worries I felt really safe in them. Thanks to my trusty Warehouse kimono I kept my shoulders covered most of the time and dresses that came to or covered my knees. I think it is just respectful to be modest unless you’re at the beach. Although Dubai is a very westernised and modern place, it is important to be respectful of the religion and culture here, especially during Ramadam. It also helps to avoid unwanted attention as well!
I stayed at the beach for about an hour.. there was no shade and because the sea is so warm here, you can’t even go for a swim to cool down! It was oddly liberating to be at the beach on my own - my things were safe on the sand whilst I went for a swim and I even attempted some cheeky self-timed shots so I could get some pics with the Burj al Arab - not as embarrassing as I anticipated - to be honest a lot of people were alone or taking selfies!
When I couldn’t bare the heat anymore I walked back to the roadside to grab a taxi. Unfortunately I wasn’t sensible enough to take a change of underwear so the toss up between keeping a wet bikini on or embracing the freedom saw me wandering around the middle east with no underwear on trying to dry myself on the air con in the back of a taxi, but hey, it’s all a learning curve right?
I went a little bit crazy in the Mall of Emirates which was much easier to get around than the Dubai Mall. I obvious went a bit bat-shit in Sephora as we don’t have it in the UK and if you know about my ridiculous make-up/beauty product obsession you would understand. I also got a few things from Bershka and Pull and Bear ‘cos we don’t have them back home. I attempted to buy and send some postcards home but it seems like the postal system is pretty not existent in Dubai so I’ll either send them in Australia or just keep them!
That evening I had arranged to meet with Natasha from Glampacker blog (Argh, someone from the internet, don’t worry Mum!) who has been living in Dubai for just over six months and was kind enough to offer to show me some of the sights and grab some dinner. We met at yet another mall and got a cute little ferry across the Marina where I properly appreciated Dubai for the first time, how beautiful it is. There are obviously a lot of sky scrapers and more cranes and building work that you could imagine, but it is such a developing and growing place - I definitely think it is a better on an evening when the buildings start to light up and the scaffolding isn’t so in your face!
We went to The Observatory on the 22nd? floor of the Marriot Hotel for a mocktail (no alcohol before sunset!) overlooking The Palm. We could see The Atlantis Hotel in the difference and it was interesting to see some of the places I had visited from above - when you’re relying on taxis to get everywhere it’s hard to get your bearings. There are a couple of other boat trips and ferry rides that take you across Dubai which Natasha recommended too.
We then got a taxi - because it’s too warm even in the evening to walk too far - to JBR walk again for a short walk and some dinner. After walking up the beach and admiring the beautiful sand sculpture, we ended up at an Italian (my favourite) as a lot of the restaurants were serving Iftar which is the meal muslims have when they break their fast after sunset and it’s quite an intense buffet style/all you can eat affair.
By the time we had done it had cooled down a little so we bought refreshing fruit smoothie juices and walked back to the Marina to our respective apartments. It was such a lovely evening and it was fascinating to chat to someone with similar interests and who has had a lot of travel experience when I am just setting off on my adventures.
After what was originally supposed to be an early night, Elliot and I stayed up until past 3am playing an intense and grotesque game of ‘Would you rather?’ and reminiscing on our school days!
Dubai is an odd place.. there is such an eclectic mix of people - lots of expats and different cultures. There is a clash of old and traditional with the modern and western. Natasha told me that “That’s Dubai” is a regular phrase out here in this surreal place of extravagance. I only spent 3 days in Dubai but I would love to go back, when it’s cooler and I can go to a Friday Brunch (read all day eating (and drinking) session on a Friday). I am really glad I stayed over, spending some time alone has definitely boosted my confidence and it’s been great spending some time with Elliot and breaking up the long flight to Australia.
I was pretty worried before I went but in the end it has been a fantastic and exciting experience and I would definitely recommending staying in Dubai if you have the chance.. but definitely avoid the heat and Ramadam - I probably couldn’t have timed it any worse in those respects.
Now it’s onwards to my Sydney adventures!