And there was God, ok Allah in this case to be correct. And there was Sheik and Sheik created himself an artificial kingdom in the middle of the desert, he paid slaves, gave them a little bit of fun and luxury and there it was, biggest showing off arena on the planet Earth; Dubai. Otherwise, when travelling, I like to let the path lead me in the most interesting way, so I don’t prepare myself too much for the places I’m visiting. I love to feel the place with all my senses without having an opinion in advance. But that number of documentaries, like on the subject of Dubai, hasn’t been filmed about anything else in the world, so unfortunately it was almost impossible for me to avoid all of them. Yet they all talk about the same thing, Skiing place in shopping center in the middle of the desert, hotels where spending a night costs like something that it would take ordinary people a lifetime to earn, artificial island in palm shape, tallest building in the world, biggest this biggest that….
Sheik who wants to show the whole world how much money he has and how powerful he is. So it’s not a surprise that place attracts all kinds of moral scum. It’s all true, documentaries didn’t lie, I saw it all; luxury, all the places they were talking about and all kinds of people visiting it. Dubai is definitely not on a places to visit list, for typical backpackers or those looking for exotic or cultural and historical heritage while traveling, on the other hand desert itself is not some natural wonder. But since I strongly believe, that every single place on Earth has something to be seen and becomes a place where you can learn something new, if you know how to look, I have decided to accept the invitation from a friend who went living there and tried to find something I would be fascinated by. Personal satisfaction, something that would distinguish Dubai from everything else.
I knew I wasn’t going to find that something in a sail-shaped hotel, copies of Venetian canals, shops offering everything you can imagine, biggest concentration of the most expensive cars in the world, or even not in the tallest building in the world; Burj Kalifa. Although the view from Burj Kalifa was more than impressive (my suggestion is to book a visit in advance on the web, since it is much cheaper option than just showing up there). Don’t get me wrong, I do like shopping and I adore fast cars, but still I don’t judge people on the clothes they are wearing, cars they are driving or money they are earning. I just knew the city must have something else too, it was true, in the end I didn’t leave Dubai disappointed.
I felt some special vibe in that circus. Everybody who lives there and are not being locals, comes there with some reason and just for some time, or are just being tourists. There really aren’t people from other countries who have plans on staying there forever, since it is actually impossible because of their laws, that just don’t allow you to get their citizenship. But exactly for this reasons city has this crazy pulse. “I’m here just for a while, as long as it’s fun..” so when I have multiplied this sentence with millions of often young and attractive people from all over the world, I realized why everything seemed so wildly and unrestrained. For me Dubai was like a strange mixture of New York and Las Vegas.
Glitz and madness is almost the same as in Vegas, but it is a little finer version without casinos and fake Elvis Presleys, but crazy night life is possible every night. Everything is always available, so let’s say you remember at 4 am, that you are missing cigars, juice, yoghurt, condoms.. anything, you just call the number and it is being delivered to you in ten minutes, and delivery is free, I don’t even have to mention that it is totally normal to come to a restaurant at 2 am and get everything as it was 2 pm. This maybe wasn’t the story in each restaurant, but there are enough of them like that. Besides the fact that it never sleeps, the thing that reminded me of the Big Apple was the presence of every possible nation, skin color, religion,.. for sure one of the places you would call multicultural. Traditional Arabic robes on men, together with enormous number of half-naked tourist girls, on the other hand numerous completely covered Muslim women, all together make a patchwork of cultures even richer. All of them walking around shopping centers at the same time and around those rare places where you are able to take a walk. The lack of the places where you are able to take a walk is one of the biggest disadvantages of Dubai. You are doomed to cars or public transportation.
It is true that these are being characteristics of many major cities, but somehow they are more expressed in Dubai than anywhere else, so there it was; something that distinguishes it from other places. Being that multicultural as it is, made it really interesting for me, and for a moment I had an idea of spending some years of my life there. That bubble exploded when I realized my life would come down to visiting shopping centers, beaches and maybe gyms, or partying all the time. So I would need to have an extra strong reason to live in a place like that, since there really aren’t things like cultural or art scene, theaters or museums. Ok there are some, yeah Sheikh bought some of them too, but as you can conclude, you cannot buy a soul or built it over the night. Only art that is blooming there is the art of comfortable life where everything is customized to your needs, it’s all there for you in every moment, as long as you are respecting their rules. For my hypersensitivity it would have been better if I hadn’t been noticing slaves in the shape of underpaid Indians, Pakistanis, Filipinos and many others on whose backs was the desert perversion built. To notice this, only thing you have to do is to take a public transportation instead of taxi, which is by the way very cheap. There are too many underpaid workers , who work all days and nights long in order to make Sheiks world functioning.
Public transportation, where you will have the opportunity of meeting these other inhabitants of Dubai is again different experience than any other public transportation. Everything is so clean that I really needed some time to realize that this was a public train, something I have never seen before. Everything by the rules, first wagon only for VIP tickets, second one only for children and women, and then for others. Nobody really doesn’t eat or drink anything or makes any kind of noise. Everybody are following the rules, since the police officers are walking around all the time checking out that everything is in the right order. I prefer crazy public transpiration I am used to in other major cities, but this is good cause you really don’t have to worry about your wallet being stolen or anything else bad happening to you.
First thing I did in Dubai were the beaches. Technically speaking it is just one long beach along Jumeriah road, but since there are just several places where it is being a public beach, you get a feeling that there are more of them. Actually most of it just belongs to hotels, so this one beach is divided into different parts. Great sand, but after all it is desert, if not here than where else should it be good? On the other hand sea is really nothing particular, really doesn’t bring up the need in you to stay long inside of it. The one I liked most was Jumeriah public beach, with a great view on Burj Kalifa and rest of the buildings on famous Sheik Zyhad Road. But all together really not one of the beaches you just must visit during life time.
But Man, what a jogging trail! Made out of some material that is almost like a rubber, so your knees don’t suffer, and right next to it the one where you can walk or roller skate. They were obviously thinking about everything. Only thing you might find strange on the beach, nobody’s kissing or exchanging any kind of tenderness. All forbidden! I wondered just for a moment how do they check this things, didn’t wait too long for my answer, officers walk around here too.
If you are tourist, every night here looks almost the same, you start it with a dinner in of the hundred restaurants in Dubai Mall or on front of it, where you watch the show of dancing fountains with loud music along, right underneath the tallest building in the world, so all together does look impressive. If you are able to ignore millions of people around you. Hate to admit it but fountain show is more impressive in Dubai than the one in Vegas, after all Sheik must have proved he can do better. After that you continue with clubs and crazy nights out.
When the night falls hypocrisy in Dubai reaches its maximum. Everything is about the rules again, you are not allowed to kiss in clubs, you are not allowed to drink alcohol anywhere else but in clubs or hotels, if officers see you being drunk, you can go straight to jail. But then again, Dubai is one of the best places for parties in the world. Clubs are amazing, music is good, booze is not as expensive as you would expect it, girls can get in most of the clubs for free, with many free drinks for them. Trust me, for guys there is not a better place to get easily girl for a night, all of them are here just for a while or for fun anyway. As long as they are not kissing in the clubs everything’s allowed, it’s not a secret that you can easily order “Roxanne” just by dialing some different number than the one you dial when you need yogurt in your apartment.
From all the tourist attractions they have to offer I did the desert safari. One of the most typical things to do while being there. You get picked up by a Jeep, where ever you want, they drive you to the desert and thorough it, you get to ride a camel, watch belly dancing and great local dinner in the middle of the desert. And then they bring you back where they picked up, all together for really ridiculously cheap price, since there are really many agencies offering almost the same, so you won’t do wrong no matter which one you choose.
At the end what to say about Dubai? With all good and bad things about it, even the ones like me, who aren’t being fascinated by the money and power of Sheik can find something for themselves. It sure is one of the places worth of visiting, not maybe for too long, since there aren’t many diverse things to do, but to have fun for few days, the right place.