By: Joi-Marie McKenzie
How in the world did I end up in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates? Well, after my linesister Felice invited me to visit her, I didn’t hesitate. Great! Coming! On my way! I booked one seat on a direct flight to Dubai International Airport. The thought of traveling 12 hours alone on an airplane actually sounded like heaven, and thanks to Emirates Airlines I watched every single Oscar-nominated film, ate great food and drank really strong coffee. (If you travel to UAE, only travel Emirates. You’ll thank me once you get off the plane.)
When you think of Dubai, you think of the desert so we headed there first. We booked an Arabian Nights Tour that picked us up from the hotel. We drove about an hour out to the desert where our SUV surfed sand dunes. Yes, surfed! We rode up and down on sand and it felt like I was spending an afternoon at a Six Flags’ rollercoaster. If you get car sick like me (ugh!), you may want to tell your driver to take it easy. I didn’t and thought I was gonna’ throw up, but the overwhelming nausea feeling was definitely worth the ride. After stopping to take pictures of the sunset falling over the desert, we drove to an open arena where we rode camels, got henna, smoked hookah and ate lots and lots of food. We also drank wine…in moderation.
Dubai isn’t big on drinking. If you’re seen publicly intoxicated, you could be driven straight to jail or be deported. So needless to say, don’t come here if you want a good cocktail. (I’ll explain more about this later. Tip: A friend who traveled to Dubai ahead of me, told me to pack a small bottle of my favorite spirit. Luckily I listened so I was able to cheaply pregame before we headed to the club.)
A great way to see all of the sights in Dubai is the Big Bus Tour. We were able to hop on and off to see the Dubai Museum, the Gold and Spice Souks and all of the malls, including the Dubai Mall and the Mall of Emirates.
Dubai is known for its luxury so I couldn’t leave without seeing the only seven star hotel in the world, the Burj Al Arab. I would definitely suggest having afternoon tea there, which lasted us about four hours as we dined on six courses. The service here was impeccable, and it should’ve been as tea here will cost you around $200 US dollars. It’s worth it. Trust. me.
View inside the Burj Al Arab
As I was saying before, cocktails here are reaaaaaally expensive. I suppose it’s to deter you from drinking heavily. An average cocktail at the Burj Al Arab cost anywhere between $50 and $70 US dollars — for one! I won’t complain about a $13 martini ever again.
My one drink at Burj Al Arab
And of course, Dubai is known for the Burj Khalifa — the tallest building in the world. Do it to say you did it, but if you miss out on going to the top you’re not missing much.
Ladies, if you happen to be in Dubai on a Tuesday night, you’re in luck because it’s ladies night! And oddly enough, ladies drink for free at the Cavalli Club. Just one drink though! We were also given gift bags…in the club’s bathroom. And the bathroom also had an attendant there giving massages! Fancy.
If you go to a Dubai nightclub, ditch the touristy flip flops and dress to the nines. Dubai women love their fashion, so don’t feel like you have to be conservative at night (when headed to the nightclub). Just bring a pashmina or a scarf if you feel the need to cover up once you leave.
In all, Dubai was a trip of a lifetime. I can’t wait to go back with my family to experience other parts of the UAE.