“Sair Rehmet honi chahiye, zehmet nahi,” meaning ‘A trip should be a blessing not a hassle,’ said our chauffeur for the day.
After a flight covering 2000km – roughly the distance between Mumbai and Dubai – we were set on a six hour Dubai Darshan with our jovial driver.
This was a long overdue family trip abroad, and it was almost like experiencing it all in a mere five day spree. The inspiration – Dubai Shopping Festival, the outcome – thanks to diverse demands from mottled members of the family, we practically covered every active inch of the city and managed to cart back home a truckload of shopping.
To give you a description – my mother wanted to shop, “The main factor for the trip was the Shopping Festival after all,” she justified. The sister so obsessed with her planning each day a month in advance with specific places to visit and set schedules for each, and the Dad with a army mission to touch down at all the acclaimed monuments and buildings of the famous city.
Here we were, trying to fit in parts of each into a measly five day touristy visit to Dubai. Thus, with my sister’s mastermind plans, we set off on our first day in Deira, the high profile part of the city to visit all the mirage like metal and mortar beings (all the famous buildings, for those vary of metaphors and alliterations).
Burj Dubai, Burj Al Arab, Emirates Tower,The Palm Islands, Burj Khalifa, Atlantas; the biggest, the tallest, the floatingist, etc. etc. all in tandem, characteristic to the Arab equation – The Best = The Biggest.
But after the initial awe, the futility of it all is almost funny. They have masterminded intelligent fountains and bays in the core of a desert; drinking water however is not a commodity. They use glass as the primary material for building their monuments; resulting in towering Green Housees making the exteriors worse off by the extreme air conditioning to minus the effect of all that trapped heat from the glass.Phewww…Just an observation.
Leaving behind the high tech buildings and MNCs at Deira, we strolled via the creek to the Abra Station. With a mere one dhiram, we each bagged a surprisingly fascinating ride in a wooden boat or abra; that being just the first in a change in the locale. Reaching Bur Dubai – meaning beyond Dubai, we were transported back to the Arabia that existed centuries ago greeting us with wooden dhows, bobbing abras (boats) busy spice and gold souks (local markets) and pristine mosques.
From Zara and Tiffany, to H&M and Sketchers; but don’t miss out on the little things with a signature of Arabia – like the attar – the oil based perfumes that you can buy aplenty at the local markets, the bright yellow gold at the gold souqs and traditional curled Arabic slippers.
Mesmerised I was, yes I’d say, but in love…no, not really so.
We skied in the Snow Park at the Mall of Emirates, won a Dolphin painted auction, shopped around the world in a mere 4 hours at the Global Village, were interviewed by a local radio station too and tested our stomachs to the hilt during the Desert Safari (I’m not giving that out, you go try!) But all in all, be it shopping for gold, clothes, shoes, accessories, availing the services of the best hotels and restaurants, experiencing the various rides, et all; the bottom line is very aptly summed up by a line in The Lonely Planet Dubai Guide:
“Dubai isn’t only the name of the city – it’s an instruction”