Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dubai Daydreams

Dubai is a city that defies the odds, a modern metropolis made up of futuristic skyscrapers, set alongside traditional souks, man-made islands, seven star resorts, the world's tallest tower and enough shopping malls to empty any elite bank account. All a desert.

A hazy view of the modern silver skyline of this illustrous city. In the middle is the Burj Khalifa tower, which towers over all the other buildings in its midst.

A view from on top the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, which stands at a staggering 828 m/2 716.5 feet. This 163 floor-structure can be seen from up to 95 km away and is less than a 3-minute elevator ride to the top.

An aerial view of the Dubai Fountains, which comes alive to a musical extravaganza at night.

Note to all Shopaholics: The Dubai Mall is the largest shopping destination in the world, with over 1200 stores of buying bliss. Have a double shot of expresso to stay up on weekends, when the centre closes only after midnight. If you have a platinum credit card or miraculously inherited millions, you can indulge in one of the many luxury stores from Louis Vuitton, to Jimmy Choo, Marc Jacobs and Burberry. Or if you're just a normal-earning-human-being like the rest of us, have a browse at the usual brands of stylish chain stores like Zara, Bershka, H&M, Forever 21, Mango and a thousand more.

The most exciting, adrenelin-pumping part of my trip was a journey into the Sharjah desert, where an expertly trained driver steered us across the vast and rugged rolling sand dunes in a roller-coaster of a ride. 

After this head-spinning, stomach churning and exhilarating dune-bashing adventure, we were taken to a camp oasis set up in the middle of the desert, for a night of authentic Emirati cuisine under a golden desert sunset, and treated to dervish whirling, belly dancing, henna tattooing and a completely fascinating bedouin experience.

Whilst in the old city of Dubai, we followed the aromatic scent of exotic spices to The Spice Bazaar, where fresh and dried herbs and spices can be purchased at a bargain. The vendors offer an expansive variety of fragrant flavourants like saffron, peppercorns, cinnamon twills, turmeric, green cardamom, whole nutmeg and traditional Arabic coffee called 'Kawa'.

The (not so lost) City of Atlantis is found on the edge of the artificial island Palm Jumeirah, and is based on the resort of the same name in The Bahamas. The perfect anecdote to the scorching desert sun, you can drift down a lazy river pool on a tube, go scuba diving with sharks and sting-rays, slide down one of the many mind-numbing water rides and take a walk through The Lost Chambers aquarium.

Pristine beaches, blue cloudless skies and aquamarine seas...the best place to relax after all those days of mall-hopping, dune-driving, souk-searching and architectural admiring.

These were the highlights of my most recent trip to Dubai. 

Is this a destination you have visited or would like to visit?

*All images belong to me.


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