United Arab Emirates

Technically I’ve been to the UAE twice, each time to Dubai. The first time for a couple of hours, the second time a couple of days. It was a toss up between Dubai or Singapore where we go for a stopover on our flights back home from New Zealand but we decided we might as well make the most of it and planned to stay a couple of nights in the city to experience some middle east culture at least.

Camels on the beach in Dubai.

Camel rides on the beach in Dubai.

Dubai was impressive! Sky scrapers and futuristic buildings everywhere you turned along with ridiculously expensive super cars filling the roads. We stayed in a hotel rather than a hostel, to finish off our travels in style. I was surprised by how cheap Dubai was. Food and drink were very reasonable and taxis were very cheap. We spent our first day, catching up on sleep, eating and chilling. It was a Saturday night however… Interestingly, Sam has a family friend (Joe) who lives in Dubai so we met up with him and he was able to show us around a little. We didn’t really fancy going out too much so we found a sports bar which was showing all the live Premier League games and spent most of the evening there with a couple of beers.

Our second day was spent visiting several attractions in the city. The first thing to see in Dubai was the Burj Khalifa – it was hard not to see it from wherever you were. 834m from base to tip, the tallest building in the world! Completely unnecessary but as we discovered, the phrase ‘because they can’ applies for a lot of things in the Emirates.

At the base of the Burj.

At the base of the Burj.

Attached to the Burj Khalifa is the Dubai mall. Within the mall you can pay to go right to the top of the tower but we decided against it as it was quite expensive. Within the mall however there is enough entertainment for a few hours without spending a penny. There was an aquarium! With sharks, rays, turtles and hundreds of tropical fish. Seriously impressive. There was also an ice rink and a mini theme park. We grabbed some lunch then hailed a cab to our next stop, The Palm. There wasn’t too much to see here other than the amazing Atlantis Hotel. I believe that one standard night in the hotel is going to set you back at least £500 per night. We couldn’t afford to even enter the car park! So we took a nice walk by, checking out the unreal display of super cars driving by and planning how we could ‘break into’ Atlantis!

The Atlantis Resort.

The Atlantis Resort.

Unusually we struggled to find a taxi that would take us back to the bar we spent the previous night in, as we were meeting Joe again. Eventually we flagged a rather suspicious looking cab down. However looking back, the driver was in no way an authorized taxi driver, no had he any idea where he was going! We only wanted a short journey back but we ended up on the motorway to Abu Dhabi in a rather heated discussion with the driver as he demanded to know the directions. Amazingly, we had no bloody idea! Eventually we made it back and met Joe in the bar where the Carling Cup final was on. We flew back to England the following day so again it wasn’t a late one and we made our way back to the hotel to make sure we were prepared.

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