Dubai, there are a many different ways one can describe Dubai, from the food, the culture, the modernization and westernisation, the religion, the money…. However to me, the most amazing thing I saw was the intermixed cultures. Going to Dubai for the first time, I was very uncertain.
Uncertain on what to wear or how to behave. I knew it was a Muslim country and I have been to Muslim countries before, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t offending anyone; the last thing I want to do in any country I visit is to be ignorant of the people's culture.
It was safe to say I was shocked, in a fantastic way. Dubai was amazing. It was a microcosm of what the world should be and could be. Christians, Hindu’s, Muslims, Atheists, American, European, Arabic, African, Indian … all intermixing and blending in together into this one society in the UAE.
The first thing I did when I arrived in Dubai was go to the beach. I was shocked. Men and women in scandalous bathing suits soaking up the sun and enjoying the gorgeous green/blue sea and at the same time women in full dresses and burqas along the same beach. To top it off, 2 camels walked by.
I knew that Sex and the City 2 was completely racist, but something inside me still felt like I needed to be careful while in the UAE; just goes to show how easily one can be brainwashed from cinema. I can easily say that Sex and the City 2 did not depict life in the UAE at all. The only thing it showed was the lavish and rich life style, other than that it was completely false and I am still angered about how Sex and the City 2 could have so easily and blatantly depicted a country so ignorantly.
I saw the new Dubai, but my friends took me to the old Dubai as well so I could see the new versus the old and the transformation of Dubai. The old part of Dubai was so interesting. Old mosques, museums, and a shipping port. The state of these tiny wooden boats still amaze me. The fact that they are used for shipping from country to country along the Arabian Sea seemed ludicrous as they were so tiny and old. In old Dubai, I did bring a scarf to cover my shoulders as there were a lot of mosques and I didn't want to be disrespectful, but ironically enough it was the Indian and Sri Lankan “pirates” from these boats that couldn’t stop staring as they haven’t seen a woman in months.
While in the old part of town, we had amazing food. From Kebabs, coconuts, falafel, curry. We ate anywhere and everywhere we could. The variety of food is endless; in the morning I had Israeli eggs and for dinner I went to an Ethiopian restaurant. I never imagined I would eat Ethiopian food, but it was delicious! My friends who live in Dubai were telling me that the reason why it is so fabulous to live in Dubai is that there are so many different cultures living in the city; because of that they get to eat and try so many different types of food that they wouldn't be able to otherwise. The great thing was that the food was amazing and cheap.
At the museums it showed the “old” houses and historic buildings of Dubai. The wonderful Sanded/Clay structures are what the people lived in before oil was discovered. What surprised me was that these historic buildings were only 30 to 50 years old. The quick transformation of Dubai is stunning. Sand/clay houses to the tallest building in the world; The Burj Khalifa, all because they discovered oil.
The most inspiring to me were the fountains outside the Dubai Mall. Firstly, the Dubai Mall was so big it could have been a city. It had an aquarium and amusement park inside. On the outside it had these amazing fountains. In Las Vegas, outside of the Bellagio, there are the Las Vegas fountains that perform to music. It is an amazing experience that somehow captivates people and can bring them to tears. Well, in Dubai everything is bigger and better...
The same guy who did the Las Vegas fountains did the ones in Dubai and they are about 3 times the size. We sat and watched the fountains for about 2 hours as it was so beautiful.
When it came time to leave Dubai, I was quite envious and jealous that my friends are living and working in Dubai. Not for the fact that their lives seemed to reflect those of the rich and famous, as they both are currently in the fashion industry which is new and booming in Dubai (okay maybe a little jealous of that!), but mostly because they were living in a city filled with culture. Dubai was absolutely amazing and 3 days there was just not enough. I cannot wait to go back.