Dubai – My Story
My husband and I were introduced to Dubai back in 2002 and even now after several return visits, it still excites, invigorates and entices. It is a city that never stands still and is always striving for the new and original.
We were fortunate to be guided through this first adventure by dear friends who were our neighbours in the UK for some years and had returned to Dubai, leaving us with an open invitation to visit at any time. Back in 2002, Dubai was still a relative newcomer to the regular holiday destinations for British tourists and we were greeted with awe and wonder when we shared news of our impending visit with our friends. We returned with equal enthusiasm and many stories.
The airport itself is beautiful! Light, airy, tastefully decorated, white and spacious, as we were to discover is much in the country. Outside of the terminal, life begins in earnest. Different coloured taxis determining different companies, different languages equally earnest in their conversations. Vibrant and eager at all hours! We were wonderfully welcomed by our friends and gently guided through the crowds to their car and whisked off on the road from the airport to their home, at that time – the Hyatt Galleria by the Corniche and Gold Souk. More sights for the eyes on that journey!
My lasting memories of Dubai will forever be that vibrancy, that ever-changing skyline and the architecture creating patterns on the horizon, the beautifully kept gardens and roadsides, forever green and colourful even in the heat of summer. The shopping malls which offer cool respite from the sun and again dazzle with their marble floors, stained glass roofs and expert window displays which demand your attention and are far more than displays but indeed works of art in themselves and a feast for any photographer.
A must to visit is the desert! After the exhilaration of a jeep ride over dunes to then arrive at a Bedouin camp, attempt a camel ride, be served traditional foods and be entertained at dusk is another lasting memory. A favourite place to walk is by the Creek and to watch the dhows being loaded to more than the brim with goods to travel by sea across the world, then onto the Spice and Gold souks where we tried the skill of bargaining the best price for our purchases. I have loved the open top bus tours of the old and new Dubai, so much history. Global Village is another must which is just as it says, a presentation of beautiful crafts from all over the world… and more food delights.
At dusk when the temperatures are gentler and the lights are lit, Dubai continues its never-ending urgency, to do business, to meet with friends and family in the many restaurants offering food from all across the world. The roads are busy and traffic emerges from all directions, everyone on a mission. We have loved an evening meal on a dhow cruise on the Creek or a more traditional abra ride. Both, a must for any visitor.
We are blessed with friends who lived there back then and with whom we stayed several times over the years, and others who still do. Sherry and Geraldine have given so much of their time to us on each visit and live in a slightly quieter, less touristic district, where life is more “every day”, where the children go to school and families mix together, where supermarket shopping happens rather than the luxury shopping of the malls, where the beautiful Zabeel Park provides shade, peace and quiet.
We have been privileged to have had several return visits to Dubai and I have taken others, to share with them one of my favourite places. We have been integrated into our friends’ lives and it is indeed these friends who make Dubai and all it offers so special to me. I shall always look forward to returning.