Dubai Reflections

Posted May 18th, 2014 by Deepa and filed in Travel
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Dubai-2014-66We were excited about stopping in Dubai ever since Emirates started flight service from Washington DC to Dubai.  The long lay-overs to Kochi (13 hour layover while going to Kochi and a 19 hour layover while returning) might pose a problem for some passengers but this actually worked out very well for us. My sister lives in Dubai, so the 13 hour lay-over was perfect for a stop at her place, lunch, a brief nap, a stroll at a nearby mall and back to airport for flying to India. On the return flight, we opted for a 96 hour visa option offered by Emirates Air and spent the better part of three days in Dubai.  Each way the transit visas were quite painless to obtain. Everything was taken care of online with minimum effort.

Here are some impressions of Dubai:

We were truly impressed with Dubai airport.  It was huge, it was clean, it was stylish and the faint scent of attar perfumed the air.  It was pretty clear that the government had spared no expense in the airport.  There were plenty of complimentary high-end Mclaren strollers for our use.  The folks at the help-desk even lent us a stroller for our day-use.

Dubai-2014-1Malls, Malls and some more malls. When my sister was preparing our day to day itinerary for us , it sort of read like a list of malls.  I assume it is the weather that makes malls more than just a shopping destination here.

Dubai was a truly global city.  Each mall has shops and eateries from pretty much every major country in the world. Stepping into a mall seemed just like stepping into a mall in US. The same set of stores and the same eating joints that you find in the US. And I bet a visitor from UK or India would feel the same.

You hear about the gold souks but I didn’t think I’d be surprised. After all, I come from Kerala—the land whereDubai-2014-8 you see a glimpse of a bride through the mountain of gold that she is decked in -  but honestly, I had never seen entire dress-fronts made in gold! Some  of the gold body suits displayed in the gold souks were pretty dazzling.

Dubai-2014-19-1Of course no trip to Dubai is complete without a desert safari. Going Dune bashing in a 4×4 was quite an experience. We also had the chance to drive on our own in a reserved part of the sand dunes which was kind of cool.  The dune rides culminated in a dinner & entertainment show which was pretty awesome as well.

Dubai-2014-44Burj Khalifa : The world’s tallest building (of course, attached to a mall)  was quite a sight. We went to the top for a view of the city and it was indeed quite spectacular. You really need to have that view to appreciate that the bustling city that you see is indeed part of a desert.

Since I am from Kerala it goes without saying that I have tons of relatives in the “Gulf”.  We all had a chance to get together at my sister’s place (saved me the trouble of house hopping ) and it was a great chance to meet some folks I used to see every year but haven’t see in the past 14 years!

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