I’ll be honest. The only time I’d subject myself again to a natural, sauna-like environment with sky-high prices and buildings and a soul burning sun would be on a really…really long layover. Though I absolutely love the airlines flying around the Gulf (and so much of these cultures is fantastic), I just don’t see myself coming here for any other purpose than to get somewhere else…fast. Now that you know how I feel about traveling in Dubai, and other cities akin to it, I’ll spend some lines telling you about how to make your layover friggin’ stellar.
First stop, book yourself in a nice hotel, not that hostels scatter the landscape, but fitting yourself in a stylish accommodation will score you a bed that releases the deprived slumber angels from their hiding places. The billowing breeze of the air-conditioning chills your travel weary bones, causing you to wrap up with a lovely down blanket and rejuvenate the soul. And it sounds like you could really go to town on this bullet point by booking yourself in a seven star (yes…7) hotel on the water if you felt like it. Of course, if you were capable of doing such things, you probably aren’t reading this blog ;).
Second is the kebab. Arabic food and its nearby influences make the Gulf a pretty dandy place to grab a meal. My mouth had a ball with chicken kebabs and shawarma. The yogurts and blends of spices are really unique and demonstrate the “schmushing” of cultures that occurs in this immigrant-filled city.
Third and most important stop…dune bashing. Remember that opening scene of Aladdin? Well, we saw no enchanted tiger head sand sculpture, but the dunes an hour outside the city stretch forever and provide a perfect setting for testing the limits of Toyota SUVs. It was a slow-motion car commercial, or slow-motion car accident without the eventful ending. We drove sideways and slid down sandy slopes. Upon finishing our ride (which had me bracing my stomach and holding a baggie), we ended at a desert barbeque fit with henna tattooes, sandboarding, ATV rentals, and belly dancing. Natalia was quite the ripped, yet feminine, shaker and showed up every single ambitious soul that joined her on stage. Chris and I managed to get up there for a few shimmies and hip shakes. It was completely touristy and completely awesome, and those words definitely aren’t synonymous. It was a success.
So now you know what to do in Dubai. And if you’re capable of sticking around for longer than three days, you’re pretty hardcore in my book.