This weekend we headed to Dubai, the land of superlatives. The world’s tallest building, the largest aquarium tank in the biggest mall, the tallest hotel, you get the idea. Dubai is over the top in a way that would make Las Vegas envious, well, if gambling were legal anyway.
Instead of me returning to Chennai for two days, we decided that I would hop off of my return flight from China during my layover in Dubai and that Chris would meet me there. It is one of those places that we have both always been curious about, but have never had the time or money to throw down and visit. This seemed like the perfect opportunity!
I expected Dubai to be outrageously expensive to visit, like more so than Las Vegas or even New York, but I was pleasantly surprised. While the sky is the limit when it comes to blowing cash in Dubai, there are a surprising number of fun, normal priced activities. As long as your can restrain yourself from buying gold bars out of vending machines anyway. No, we did not buy any gold bars.
When we first decided to visit Dubai in August, we realized that it was Ramadan and that there would be some extra rules and regulations in place for the whole month such as no eating or drinking in public during daylight hours. We also realized that visiting the desert in August can be, well, hot. Excruciatingly hot. But its ok, after all, it was a dry heat.
A note to all of those “but it’s dry heat” people: When it is 115 degrees F, it feels pretty darn hot to me whether it is dry or not. The silver lining to this extreme dry heat though is that it is fabulous weather for my constant hand washing of clothes. When we get back to Indiana, I wonder if I will just keep sink washing everything?
I blindly picked a hotel on the beach in Dubai Marina, in large part because I like to collect points for their rewards program. It turns out that it doesn’t matter much where you stay in Dubai because everything is pretty spread out and with the sky high temperatures, we typically wanted to take a cab, even for distances that we would normally walk. Being near the ocean was nice though, and I know that Chris likes being near the ocean, even if there is no surf.
On Saturday morning, one of the first things that we did was give in to Chris’ ocean loving tendancies and head for the beach. It was extremely hot out, even first thing in the morning and we decided that being in water was the only way to go if we were going to be outside.
Before we were even fully submerged in the ocean it quickly became apparent that it was warmer than most hot tubs! Not surprising since the outdoor temperature reached about 115 degrees F several times during our stay in Dubai. We did swim in the ocean for a little while, but it just wasn’t working out. The sun was so intense and the water was far to warm to feel refreshing.
Eventually, we headed for the chilled swimming pool. I am so thankful for the normal temperature water, but I can still barely comprehend needing to cool a swimming pool. As a child, I always wished that our pool water would get warmer than it did, especially during the beginning and end of the summer. It never occurred to me that anyone would want to chill their pool water.
That price tag says 140 AED. At 3.65 AED per dollar, that is a $38 bottle of sunblock, and it isn’t even really sunblock. The sun is intense in Dubai and a girl like me needs at least SPF 60. Plus, did I mention that I simply can’t spend $38 on a bottle of sunblock the size of my hand?
After heading in from the pool, we got ready to go on a desert safari. A safari it was not, but it was an awesome off-road adventure through a remote stretch of sand dunes followed by camel rides and an al fresco Middle Eastern dinner in the desert.
I have probably been oblivious to my previous travels through deserts, because this is the first one that struck me as looking exactly like they do in the cartoons. The reddish sand with perfectly formed ripples was very pretty, especially as the sun began to set. I will post pictures eventually. Chris has the camera right now and I don’t have any phone pictures. I doubt that the phone would do it justice anyway.
This morning I am in Malaysia on my way to Australia for a few weeks. I am really surprised to say this, but when Chris and I parted ways, I was really longing to go back “home” to Chennai. I am craving a bit of a routine, some down time, and a chance to cook for myself. I kind of also miss my Indian washer, even though it has no dryer. I didn’t post about this yet, but I embarked on a three-week trip with no checked luggage, so I am still in full-on hand-wash only mode.
Why would you do something like that? I’ll explain another day. Just trust me on it. No checked bags is the only way to go.
More on Dubai when I can get my hands on those pictures!