I recently returned from my vacation to Dubai and Abu Dhabi a couple of weeks ago, and I have so much to share! I never thought I would ever visit the UAE, but when I saw the flight glitch from Etihad Airways for only $286 on Christmas Day, a ninja had to take advantage! If it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t have ever gotten to the UAE since the airline fares are typically $1,200 plus. To be honest, if I paid $1,200 for a flight there, I’d probably be mad, but I do appreciate the experience.
Since my return to Baltimore, so many people have asked me how my trip to Dubai was, since that’s the only city in the UAE people seem to be interested about. The main answer I give those who’ve asked is, “It was interesting”. I won’t say that I didn’t have a good time. I actually had a great time, but Dubai wasn’t what I imagined it would be. Let me break down why for you.
1. There was hella construction everywhere.
Dubai is not a complete sexy ass city. Yes, it has some amazing buildings that have broken world records for the tallest building (Burj Khalifa), tallest hotel (JW Marriott Marquis), and tallest apartment building (Princess Tower), but they are built in sections. If you go the the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, you will see a bunch of cranes and unfinished buildings. You will also see areas with buildings, manicured lawns, and fountains in one general area, but then there will be some damn sand next to that area. Seeing this reminds you Dubai is a man-made city in the desert. Like my friend said, it’s like SimCity. LOL
A guy actually told us that those who want to come and build in Dubai has to have their projects completed by 2020, which is when the World Expo will be held there. I’d be interested to see what Dubai looks like in five years. You know, to see the finished product.
2. Dubai wants to be westernized, but with all of these rules and restrictions.
While in Dubai, I saw hella American made cars, a Popeyes, KFC, Pizza Hut, shopping malls with stores I’m very familiar with, and so many other things that remind me of home. Yet, I should’ve paid $1,200 to do the same things I can do at home? Dubai is basically being built to cater to tourists. What baffled me the most was how we had to still respect the Islamic culture and its differences from the US. Listen, I didn’t have an issue following Dubai’s policies, such as respectable dress for women, but the stores, such as Bebe and BCBG, were selling short sleeveless dresses. How contradicting is that?
3. The culture was lost in the sand.
Again, Dubai = tourist trap.
We knew we wanted to check out landmarks that’s associated with Dubai, and we literally knocked all that out in less than 12 hours. There were other attractions there that we wouldn’t even waste our time and money on, such as indoor skiing. We wanted authenticity. We wanted to experience the real Dubai by interacting with its native people, eating their food, and seeing where they live. I think we accomplished this goal the best way we could, but it definitely wasn’t easy to do.
Abu Dhabi was way more authentic, but it’s being built up and becoming a slightly more westernized as well, which is a shame.
I’ll actually be writing more posts about my trip to the UAE with each one focusing on the food, things to see and experience, and more. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed my trip there, but if you go and are looking to be surrounded by rich culture, you might be a little disappointed.
Stay tuned for my upcoming posts!