My heels click and echo off the white walls around me, the ground shines and glares as the perfectly polished tiles reflect the glitz of tungsten above me and I feel like I have stepped into the future.
Perfectly complimenting these bright clean-cut surroundings are the flowing white dishdash’ (or khandoura/traditional dress) of the faces that stare back at me across the customs desks. Like ghosts moving in the night, they operate silently besides the ghoulish bang of the visa as it is stamped into my passport. It has seen better days.
As I step outside the welcome heat washes over me and a fine sunny coloured dust starts settling on my skin as the wind is blowing in from the land; an earthy feel to another modern concrete horizon.
Dubai – the young futuristic love child of the United Arab Emirates, she’s a glitzy global city that embodies the spirit of globalization. A skyline adorned with the brightest and tallest of jewels like an Arab princess, she screams riches and glory, and my driver is more than happy to explain that:
“When you come to Dubai, you learn money!”
As a young professional arriving on a business trip, I was not one to disagree but this was truly emphasized by a mind-altering excursion to the Dubai Mall – largest in the world! There’s no better place to transport yourself if you are seeking to have your mind blown over the accomplishments of that richest 1%.
Leggy females (and very hairy males) drape themselves over a jaw dropping line-up of supercars in the valet – not their own vehicles mind-you, as the owners are probably in the mall buying gold Rolex’s. This line up of millions would’ve had my fathers in fits, as the valet boys were ‘guarding’ the latest Ferrari’s, Lamborghini’s, and Bugatti’s.
And what more could combo this scene than a score of Russian ladies all dolled up with guides in tow and armfuls of designer bags?! The Mall really is an attraction in itself and you could easily lose a whole day here. It’s complete with an aquarium, waterfall, and the revered fountain show that dances in the night under the watchful eye of the Burj Khalifa – tallest building in the world. She pierces the night sky and makes infants out of the buildings alongside at a giant 828 metres.
Dubai’s a fan for worlds biggest, tallest, longest, and fastest – and how better to experience this than test out the forces of one of the world’s fastest water slides at Wild Wadi! Let me tell you, if you want to wear your heart on your sleeve, and your stomach in your throat then this is just the place for you.
Imagine standing 120 metres up, waiting in sickening anticipation, while an incredibly childish yet rather furry-backed man in front of you decides this slide is just too much for him and disappears back into the stairwell. Nothing like another persons fear to have you questioning your reasoning.
The attendants have you stand in a futuristic clear tube with a false floor. It stands parallel to another so you can see (and hear) the fear of your companion alongside, and they lock you in (for safety reasons or so I’m told). Like mission control announcing a satellite launch, a countdown echo’s around your head and in a split second you’re fearing for your life, before BAM!
The floor drops away beneath you, hurtling you down vertically into a plastic covered coffin – but wait, I’m still screaming and my underpants are far from where they should be – so I must still be alive and riding the Jumeirah Sceirah! 80km per hour and a few seconds later you’re at the bottom and thankful that you managed to keep your wits about you.
There are so many fantastic things to do and see in Dubai and I couldn’t possibly write about them all. But let me tell you, the sea is saltier than anywhere I’ve ever been – you can lie, float and relax on the surface of the Persian Gulf with not a care in the world, it’s soothing and almost peaceful despite endless construction in sight. It’s a stunning resort destination that I would’ve never considered but the beaches are of golden desert sand; hot, fine, and clean; the pools are to die for, and hey – who doesn’t enjoy the odd cocktail and apple shisha on a sunny day in the Emirates?
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