For two years a friend of mine had been urging me to visit her in Dubai, where she was working as a teacher. But I have to admit I really wasn’t keen. Perhaps I’d read too many negative newspaper reports about rules and regulations. Or maybe I simply thought it too modern and ugly. I was to be proved very wrong.
Eventually I gave in to the pleas and travelled to Dubai to stay with my friend for five days. At the airport, I was given a warm welcome and instantly I knew I was going to love my time in Dubai.
It really is a place of wonder and opulence, with dazzling delights at every turn. I thought I’d been to a big shopping mall before, but never have I been to one with an underwater zoo, ice rink, dinosaur, fountain with diving men (well, not real ones, but it’s a sight to behold all the same), flight simulator, or the entrance to the world’s tallest building. Oh, and that’s without even beginning to mention the plethora of shops – some full of the latest fashions, others dripping with sparkling jewellery, while the senses are assailed with a riot of sounds and scents.
As for the world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa, when I stepped out of the elevator and took a first peek out the window, on level 148, all I could think was wow, wow, wow! Huge hotels and towering skyscrapers looked miniscule. I felt as if I was looking down at a model village. Yet, I’d stood near some of those buildings and marvelled at their structure and presence. As I walked onto an outside viewing platform, the wind whipping around me, the stifling scorch of the heat assaulting me, looking over the Dubai vista, I felt as if I’d been taken to a whole new world. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.
But I didn’t just remain at The Dubai Mall during my stay. There were certainly plenty of other sights to enjoy. My friend took me to the soft golden sands of Jumeirah Beach, to a lavish brunch, brimming with tasty treats, as well as to a traditional and vibrant Arabian market (a souk).
There were also other trips planned – to Atlantis Aquaventure Waterpark and to a mosque, but there’s only so much you can pack into five days. It looks like I may well have to go back…