Getting off the plane, I must admit I was more than nervous. You hear all the horror stories…people locked for showing public displays of affection and girls held hostage because god forbid they would have their legs on show.
For anybody who has ever been to Dubai, you will probably know what I’m talking about because you will have been, no doubt, told the same stories before departing.
Well the rumour’s couldn’t have been more wrong. The first thing to experience was the heat. If, like me, you live with a pretty crap climate all year round…stepping off the plane to 31 degrees centigrade heat at 2 am is definitely going to take your breath away. However the airport (the part I usually hate) provided a lovely cool air conditioned base before setting off on our adventure.
We were greeted by the lady taxis of Dubai outside the airport. With their pink burkas and their pink taxis we soon were on our way to the Hilton Resort on Jumeirah Beach. A beautiful 5* hotel surrounded by shops and restaurants on one side and endless crystal clear blue sea and white sands at the other side. It strikes me at this point how nice the people are and how much they want to do for you. Its quite surreal when a member of hotel staff offers to carry my handbag.
Before I landed I knew very little about the United Arab Emirates and all related to it. It was only the day before going I decided to try and get their currency…something I might add that still baffles me. It was only when I returned home and realized the real value of the money that the penny dropped and we realized why people were bending over backwards for us…we were no doubt giving large tips without actually meaning too. The Burj Al Arab is probably one of the most famous attractions the UAE has to offer. It is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen and I instantly fell in love with it. It sports a full complex within its large confines of swimming pools, private beaches, restaurants and bars. If your feeling very flash why not visit the Burj Al Arab’s Skyview bar where you can experience the £871 ‘Diamonds are Forever’ cocktail (you get to keep the Swarovski Crystal glass). Needless to say we did nothing this luxurious because a. were not minted and b. only the elite dine in such places and with my sunburnt skin and frizzy humidified hair I doubt they would have let us in.
One of the attractions we were however lucky enough to visit is the Burj’s independent nightclub 360, where the wealthy and sometimes not so wealthy enjoy expensive alcohol in this picturesque modern circular nightclub with its roof top terrace and spectacular views of the Burj Al Arab. Although not for the faint hearted as a golf buggy races over a mile long wooden pier to take you there and the club itself is built on rocks. The Mall of Emirates and the Burj Khalifa are another few of the main attractions. Take high tea At.mosphere – at 1,450ft up, on the 122nd level of the Burj Kalifa is the worlds highest restaurant. Lets not forget the Palm Dubai at Atlantis…a world famous hotel and resort where you can swim with dolphins and enjoy helicopter rides over the city.
Dubai is a beautiful and unique city. The sun is always shining, people are always smiling and it comes alive at night as temperatures are so high in the day most people sleep through the sun and become nocturnal. Its perfectly normal to see toddlers walking around the streets at 3.00am. Whether you decide to go skiing in one of the malls or go dune-bashing in a 4×4 in the desert with Arabian adventures. Dubai has something for everyone.
The restaurants cater for everyone’s taste, serving anything from Pizzas to Thai or French to good old typical English grub. If you do however like a drink expect to pay big money. A bottle of cider will cost you a tenner and a bottle of white wine will set you back anything from £40 – £60. The highlight for me was the fact that its become westernized in its ways. Woman can wear skirts and couples can hold hands without drawing attention to themselves. The marina is also a must with the yacht club lining the waters edge and the beautiful architectural skyline…the only thing separating the ocean from the sky. Quite simply a must see.