After our break in the Maldives, it was back to touring. We wanted to spend lots of time in Africa, but there were no direct flights straight from Male, so we decided to spend a couple of days in Dubai.
Dubai was the one city I was most excited for on the trip. I was more excited for Dubai than Tokyo, London, or Paris. I knew before the trip that Dubai was a very modern city with very new and interesting architecture, not to mention the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Because Dubai is such a new city, there’s a huge amount of construction everywhere we went.
Gold Souk: We arrived in Dubai on Tuesday afternoon, and left for the gold and spice souks (like a small outdoor mall) in Old Dubai. The gold souks had some of the biggest gold necklaces I had ever seen. If you weren’t over five or six feet tall, you couldn’t wear the necklaces, because they would hang down to your knees. I asked one of the salesmen how expensive one of the necklace was, and he told me it was over $70,000. I will never understand why somebody would buy those. They didn’t only have jewelry, though. Sydney bought a pack of cards that were golden. (No, they were not made of gold, they were just printed gold, even though the card deck had a “certificate” that said that they were made of real gold.)
Spice Souk: The spice souk was just as interesting, but not in the way that you’re thinking about it right now. It looked way more boring than the gold souk, but the smell was VERY interesting. There were large jars of different spices outside all the shops. I could smell many different spices, in fact, there was such a large blend of smells that I couldn’t recognize any of them! In both souks, there were lots of women wearing black burqas, and it was something that I’d never seen before, except for just a small bit in India.
Dubai Fountain: That night, we walked to the Dubai fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. The water shot up very high to complement classical music. It was quite cool, it reminded me of the Bellagio fountain in Las Vegas.
The next day, we woke up late, realized that it was raining, and got a quick breakfast consisting of a Nutella croissant and a Nutella waffle in the Dubai Mall, which is the 2nd largest mall in the world. Very chocolatey, and very good.
Burj Khalifa: We were all extremely excited for what was next. We got to go up the Burj Khalifa, but as we were just arriving to the tower, we found out that we would only be going about halfway up. There wasn’t an observation deck anywhere above the 140th floor, (there are about 200 floors) and that we would only be going up to the 120th floor. I was still excited, but not nearly as excited.
The view was still amazing. There was an outdoor deck that we could go out on, and we could see all the way to the Burj Al Arab, one of the fanciest hotels in the world. In the movie Mission Impossible, Ethan Hunt climbs up the Burj Khalifa, so we got to try climbing up it too!! But… it was still raining. One of the employees at the top told us that it only rains in Dubai about twice per year. Why’d it have to be while we were here? Ugh.
Dubai Mall: After spending a little bit of time in the HUGE mall, going into a Disney store, a Ferrari store, and an indoor theme park, we went to lunch, and found out that our desert safari had been canceled because of bad weather. We were not happy, and we knew the safari was more than three hours, so we had lots of free time. We used some of our time to go to a movie called Zootropolis. (That’s what they call it in the UAE. I think it’s called Zootopia in the USA.) I won’t spoil it for anybody who hasn’t seen it, although I really liked it.
The Marina: We went to the Marina next. The Marina was almost like another downtown. There were lots of skyscrapers and fancy architecture, just like the city center. We walked along the beach for a while, where there was a playground bordering modernized, uh, everything. There were light posts that had futuristic lights on them, there were cool looking bridges crossing the rivers snaking through the city, there were fancy cars with signs in them saying “Rent me!!” but… there’s my dad that makes me be very detailed about everything. He tells me I can’t say everything, because that means, well, EVERYTHING. “No dad, there weren’t any rocket ships, flying cows, or dinosaurs. You don’t have to make a comment. That’s a given.”
After winding through skyscrapers for an hour, we finally found a restaurant for dinner on the water.
We took a taxi back to our hotel after our fairly Western dinner, and saw the Burj Khalifa, towering over the surrounding buildings, lit up in the night sky.
The Final Day: Our final day was a short one. We knew that we would only be sightseeing until noon, as our flight to Johannesburg left at 2:40. We went to a small souk for breakfast, and tried to get on a short boat cruise, but we didn’t get the chance. Instead we walked to a fancy hotel to spend some time at the beach, passing the Burj Al Arab on our way.
I expected Dubai to be very cool, and it really was great. Not only was everything expensive and fancy, (We saw 25 Porsches and what I think was five Ferraris, but I may be mixing that up with the Lamborghinis.) but the modern architecture and the huge mall blew me away. I would love to go back, and I wish we could’ve spent a couple more days there, spending one of the days on the desert safari.