“How the world sees Dubai”
When your hear about Dubai, pronounced as Doe-bei-i, the only things you (probably) hear are: super rich people driving around in the best, outrageous cars and they don’t count the dollars, if you know what I mean. A lot of rooftop clubs, shopping malls and people who have tigers in their backyard. True? That were my first and only thoughts about Dubai also. What did I exactly know about the city? Besides that a lot of celebs work on their tan there through the year and a fellow Belgian “Jan De Nul” has created the artificial islands “Dubai Waterfront”. Now that I have visited Abu Dhabi and the capital of the United Arab Emirates, I’ve learned a lot about the local culture. And how not everything seems as it appears to be.
That’s why me and my sister didn’t had bulging suitcases and still money on our credit carts, we decided to go to old Dubai. No shopping whallahala (I must admit, this was a though decision to make). Here a little day time schedule how we spent the day in new and old Dubai.
7 am: Rise and Shine
After a long car ride of 2 hours (we are from Belgium so we think everything besides 30 minutes is long to drive) our trip started in the new part of the town. Off course you see massive buildings and a lot of luxury hotels in the making. Did I think it was quite beautiful? Sure. You are always impressed by other countries. And I saw a lot of Ferrari’s. Dubai’s favorite car apparently.
1 pm: “The Dubai Mall”
You’re in a country with a desert so you want to stay hydrated, so me and my sister drunk 2 bottles of water each. My blather was going to explode, really! Certainly we didn’t find a public bathroom (3000 hotels but no public bathrooms) so we had to drive to the mall. Without a doubt it was the biggest shopping mall in Dubai (a REAL shopping valhalla) but not for me and my sister. Later we found that the “Dubai Mal” was one of the biggest malls in the world. You can feel the pain here. If karma wants to hit you, it hits you hard: the mall also had a aquarium with sharks in it, a ice rink and a 155 million years old dinosaur (skeleton) who flew over from Wyoming, USA.
3 pm: The Souk
Finally we arrived at the traditional Arabian markets. The traditional Arabian markets are a crucial part of life and trade in Dubai. The gold souks were on the most beautiful to see and experience. But I didn’t exactly bought anything there (sad face) but I have bought some spices and almonds at the spice souk. Luckily for us we could taste some of the samples before we purchased anything. I bought a lot of fresh, healthy green tea.
One the most fun surprises is that the Arabian people love their camel milk and ice cream! Camels are very important in the UAE (look at how important dogs are for us) and are very protected and appreciated animals there. Not exactly something that you can keep with you at home like your midget hamster but well everybody has their own favorites when it comes to animals. It surprisingly tasted very good and healthy!
I want to close this post with something I learned on the way. Not everybody who works and lives in Dubai is “rich”, more then 70 % are foreigners who come to this country for a better life and still live humble. This is an aspect I think that is not talked about and doesn’t get point out in the media.