A Visit to Dubai

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A few months ago, I had the chance to hop over for Dubai for two weeks for work. Who was I to say no? I’m always up for going someplace new.

And now that I’ve been there, everyone’s been asking me, “Dubai! So what was it like?”

Photo credit: Visit Dubai.com

My reply is generally, “It was … interesting,” followed by any number of details, depending on the audience:

  • It was perfect weather in January – sunny and 85 degrees pretty much every day (in the summer, apparently not so nice, unless you like it hot-hot-hot).
  • Amaaaaazing souks, with just about any beautifully exotic trinkets you could want: scarves, spices, shirts, jasmine perfume (my favorite!), and tons of gold jewelry. You can definitely get some deals if you know how to bargain.
  • Delicious food, especially Indian, Pakistani, and Moroccan. Not exactly the best places for the squeamish as far as cleanliness of eating establishments goes, but you can test out your stomach of iron here.
  • No alcohol. No kidding.
  • My co-workers and I were pretty much the only women we saw out on the streets. And I couldn’t figure out where the kids go to play – didn’t see a single playground.
  • All that half-finished construction makes it feel a bit like a ghost town. Besides the Burj Dubai towering over the rest, there are dozens of other high-rises downtown, but it sure looks odd when you get up closer and see that so many of them aren’t close to done, and that they are surrounded by abandoned cranes. Will they ever be finished?

Let’s face it – it’s this last point that makes current-day Dubai so distinctive. Several articles have been written about the high level of bankruptcies and desertions, and the sad state some of the guest workers are in – who came there to work and are now stuck there, many without work. Seeing all those empty and unfinished buildings definitely hits it home, since these signs of the economy’s downturn here are too big to hide.

Kip Wilson
Kip Wilson is a freelance writer from Boston, MA. She earned her Ph.D. in German from SUNY Albany, and has lived in both Germany and Austria. She is a regular contributor to FACES magazine for children, and loves traveling to new places and writing about them. Some of her favorite topics include language, food, history, and travelling with small children.
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0 Responses to A Visit to Dubai

  1. Anonymous August 1, 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    You might have visited somewherelse not Dubai! From your description !!!!!!

  2. Devina Divecha October 25, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    I have absolutely no clue where you went but that’s not Dubai. I’m not an Emirati but I’ve lived there for over 20 years. The restaurants are clean depending on where you go, there are loads of parks in Dubai, there are loads of women on the street and while construction on some places have been stopped, it’s far from being a ghost town.

  3. Devina Divecha October 25, 2010 at 10:35 pm #

    Oh one more thing, it’s a Muslim country. Therefore no alcohol in fast food restaurants and general establishments. If you wanted alcohol, you should’ve gone to the Irish Village. Or a restaurant in a fancy hotel. It’s there. You need to know where to go.

  4. Kip Wilson
    Kip Wilson October 26, 2010 at 7:44 am #

    Thanks for the comments, Devina! You raise some very good points. To give readers a bit more info:

    – I was in a working-class neighborhood, so it may well be that things are very different in touristy or higher-class neighborhoods. It is very good to hear that there are parts of town with parks, because I didn’t see any where I was! Visitors might want to ask at their hotel to know where they can go nearby.

    – And yes, it’s certainly true that you can get alcohol in places like fancy hotels, or you can even buy it at duty-free at the airport when you arrive. But it’s still a bit surprising to people from places like the United States or Europe who are used to finding it everywhere. Again, the best thing for visitors to do is probably to ask at the hotel. As Devina pointed out, “you need to know where to go.”

    Thanks again!

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