If I have to ask what 3 things come to your mind first when I say Dubai, you probably would answer: gold, petroleum and Burj Khalifa. Many people believe Dubai is an extravagant place to live or for a Holiday. So did I. But in fact it was not much more expensive than life in Warsaw. The only obvious difference is that if you have more money then you will spend more. I did not stay in Burj Al Arab Hotel, which is the most exclusive hotel in the world so for me Dubai was cheap. I need to work harder for next few years and maybe in ten years I surprise myself with one night there 😉 Ok, just kidding, I would never spend my money on luxurious hotel because I would definitely prefer to buy airplane tickets to the other side of the world. Anyway, from interesting points, in Burh Al Arab there are around 2000 m2 of surface covered with 22 carat gold and marble used for walls and floors was taken from Canera in Italy, as I heard the same marble was used by Michael Angel for his sculpture. Is it true? Only employees know 😛
I have a ‘privilege’ to work with two Arabs right now, so I exactly knew long way before I visit Dubai that they love gold and splendor, sometimes I reckon they would perfectly match to baroque or rococo style. But enough about my work 😉 Speaking about gold the first thing to visit in this new city is definitely Gold Souk, which is placed in old part called Deira. It is a heart of Old Dubai. So I would not lie if I call Dubai ‘a city of gold’. If you wish to purchase anything, do not forget to bargain. I got myself a fridge magnet to my collection, it was not golden tough, however I managed to get 50% off the first offer.
Off the Palm Deira Metro Station, there is fish market. I always love visiting local markets because it is a heart of the city in my opinion, besides only there you may get fresh food. But fish market was different this time. Please promise me you will not visit it when there is 43°C. Do not cross your fingers now, trust me I do care about you 😉 I did visit it on a very sunny and sultry day which put me off from eating fish for like 4 weeks I guess. I do love fish, just if you do not know, however it smells much better in a fridge then outside. The atmosphere on the market was great, really, it was the best place to observe people at work. There is not even one woman there, only man screaming and bargaining. If not of business purpose they will definitely be interested by a presence of woman in such a place and try to convince you to sit down and talk. I reckon it is worth to mention here, Dubai is a cosmopolitan city so it is up to you what will you wear in public places (well, up to certain level and good taste), however in Old Deira I would not risk to wear shorts and top. You see, there are unwritten rules in this world that you should always dress up to the right place, a short dress for a club and longer one for a market 😉 By proper clothes I guess I also give respect to the right place and people who live there and cultivate different religion.
If you are already in Deira you ought to definitely take a walk to Heritage&Diving Villages and along the Dubai Creek.
As you may have already noticed, Dubai is placed in between nowhere, from the top of any skyscraper in financial district you will see that the city is surrounded by nothing but desert. It is a nice view tough but the reason why I tell you about Dubai now is that here sun shines 365 days a year, considering the fact we have winter now in Europe it is a perfect place for a weekend trip or longer holiday. When I landed at the Dubai International Airport my weather application showed 39°C at 12 p.m. During a day the temperature balances between 39-44°C, it is actually impossible to do sightseeing between 12 a.m. and 4 p.m. When the sun is up the sky it is better to stay at home, the best solution is to have a breakfast at 7 then do sightseeing till 10-11 a.m. and stay in the apartment till 4 p.m. You do not trust me? Go ahead, check it on your own. On my first day I returned to my hotel at 12:30. After 1 hour walk on sun (with little breaks on the best in the world air-conditioned bus stops) I entered to shop and find myself struggling to bent my fingers. The difference between outside and inside temperature was huge. I panicked in first minute but then I figured out it is just a pressure and it will be gone soon as I consider myself healthy person.
High temperature fosters sunbathing . Dubai has a lot of publich beaches, however the most beautiful view in my opinion is at Al Mamzar Park where you can enter private beach for just 5 Ds. Besides turquoise color of water and white sand you will definitely not feel like a meat wearing your bikini, if you know what I mean 😉
All right, we already know Dubai is hot, but what do people do in their free time? It is simple: shopping or eating out. There is a lot of places to do both and probably the most famous would be The Dubai Mall, where one can find 1200 shops (including Prada, Donna Karan, Dior, Gucci for kids and plenty other boutiques) and 120 restaurants and coffee places. No wonder why it is called the world’s largest shopping mall based on total area which is 112,4 ha.
During evening it is worth to pay a visit to Marina Dubai, which is an artificial canal city built along three kilometers stretch of Persian Gulf shoreline. It is like a second centre which in my opinion is the best place to live, work and to rest.
And last but not least. There is only one place in Dubai where you can truly learn about Emirati culture and religion, it is called the Jumeirah Mosque. It is a part of “Open doors. Open minds” programme and it is open to the public 6 days a week. Unfortunately I have not managed to get there on time but this is definitely a ‘must have’ on my next visit.
(Below it is Al Mallah mosque)