This is a guest post I wrote for Marginal Boundaries. To see the original, click here.
If you read my previous post about my last-minute excursion to Dubai, this is the continuation of the first piece. If not, you can read about it here. I’m going to attempt to convey just how amazing my trip was and what a once in a lifetime opportunity it really was for me!
As I had stated previously, I flew last minute to Dubai to visit a close friend during Labor Day week, which was during Ramadan in 2010. Dubai was outrageously humid, hot, and dry, all at the same time, but I was met by incredible hospitality in the resort, the restaurants and everywhere else during my stay. The night life in Dubai was something else — although alcoholic beverages could be consumed after sundown during Ramadan, this limitation did not directly affect the cost of mixed drinks, unfortunately. The first bar I went to was called Buddha Bar, and was located at another hotel.
However, all of the resorts had their own shuttle services which were accustomed to bringing patrons to various hotel bars and restaurants, so getting around was simple. The Buddha Bar was beautifully decorated and had a very soft and glowing ambiance. We overheard conversations in various languages, with German standing out on more than one occasion. We attempted to enjoy a more outgoing bar scene the next night, and so we went somewhere that was located within an indoor shopping center that was close to our resort. This place had types of drink stamp cards, where it was cheaper to drink more (woe was me the next morning).
The Buddha Bar had an incredible patio, although no one was allowed to bring their beverages, although someone did and then promptly spilled their drink on the floor and on my camera, but there was a security guard with a mop in a matter of seconds to clean it up. The only downside (for me) is smoking is still allowed in bars in Dubai, so upon returning to the hotel room, every article of clothing we were wearing smelled like and ashtray. Although that didn’t stop us — we returned to the same bar my last night in Dubai and had another splendid evening.
The various malls in Dubai were extremely large and luxuriously decorated, and I also enjoyed the dining (although deli food at the grocery store was the most authentic), but my most memorable experience by far was when we decided to go for a day-trip excursion into the desert. This was very low cost, about $40 per person, all inclusive, for the entire day, and included a sand dune ride in a Jeep with a trained driver, and a drive away into the desert where tents, including a Middle Eastern buffet and a woman trained in Henna tattooing, were set up for us.
We were one twosome of just a handful, and were able to enjoy all of the amenities with little interruption. I had Henna done up my right hand and forearm, and we enjoyed the homemade food that was served. There was also a man with a pet falcon on his arm, but the most exhilarating offering was to ride on the back of a camel. A camel! Until that moment I had never known the sheer size of these creatures, and I was hoisted up on one before I could even refuse. What amazing animals!
While I enjoy all of the photos I took during my trip to Dubai, but I truly cherish the ones I took with the camel. My stunted size only makes the camel look that much larger, but that was part of the majesty of these creatures; just how large they are.
I entered a far-away country with few expectations, merely to find myself enjoying things more than I would ever have expected, and having the opportunity to explore the diversity this world has to offer. I was pleased with what I learned and experienced as a result of hopping on a plane at the drop of a hat totally last-minute, and being open to all of the possibilities a last-minute trip had to offer. Here’s to more of the same!