I love it when I travel to new places. I love it even more when I learn new things about those places. Especially things, that after I learn them, think… I should probably have known that!
Dubai is both an emirate and a city. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is therefore made up of seven emirates. If I had ever stopped to think about it, it would have made sense. It is just one of those things I didn’t think about until I arrived last month on our way to the United Kingdom (right, another united group).
The first thing to strike me about Dubai was how new everything looked. As we were being chauffeured from the international airport to our accommodation by the beach, our driver directed our attention to various points of interest.
Everything was new (a little space-agey if you ask me)! “To your right is old town Dubai”, the driver said as he pointed. “Really? It looks so new”, we both questioned. “It was built in the mid-1970’s”, the driver states. “So, if old town is only about 40 years old, how old is new town Dubai?” we wanted to know. As we drove toward and through ‘new town’ it became obvious that new town was still being built and the oldest buildings are said to be only 8 years old.
One of the new buildings is the Mall of the Emirates (one of many, and not the largest), which amongst innumerable shops, houses an indoor ski slope. Everyone inside was wearing ski jackets, gloves and beanies, while outside it felt like an oven.
The other striking reality of Dubai is also its new population. Apparently only 17% of the population of Dubai are locals, everyone else has come from far and wide to share in the wealth this emirate has offered.
The best thing (to me) about Dubai was the opportunity to go out into the desert. Thinking about an Arabian desert conjures up images of red sand dunes, camels and women wearing belly dancing outfits. I think all the media has gotten to me! But true to form, there were red sand dunes, camels and a belly dancer (with many costumes for sale).
Aside from the desert, the beach was the other major draw card. Just swimming in water does wanders for my soul. We even went paddle boarding at sunset.
Where else in the world can you go to the desert and ride camels in the morning, ski the slopes at lunch and paddle board at sunset? And that is just the start…