My time in Dubai is usually characterised by a fleeting visit within 36 hours or less as a stopover between Australia and Europe. Earlier this year I was invited out to explore Dubai at greater length over a week-long stay and as someone who has a significant amount of respect for Moroccan pastries and their ability to both overpower me with sweetness yet still come back asking for more, it was an opportunity too good to pass up.
These are my memories.
It looks like I just arrived in Dubai but rather, this was the last photo I took. I’m somewhere between amazed at the ability of mankind to erect structures in the middle of the desert and create a city – and – beffudled by it all.
This was actually the first photo I took in Dubai (or rather, my brother who I was travelling with took it for me). My brother and I have a really strong bond and although he is 11 years younger than me, he and I have the best time abroad. I was thirteen years old when I first travelled overseas and it had such a positive impact on my own life, that I’ve tried to take him on a trip every couple of years to have the same impact on his.
Inside the world’s only 7 star hotel – which as it turns out, is just a 5 star hotel with a nickname. Regardless, their tiling is pretty on point.
These are Arabian Oryx – a species of antelope native to the Arabian Peninsula.
I caught a lot of flack for riding a camel in the Arabian desert and although I decided not to defend myself online (into a dark hole of the abyss) I did a fair amount of research in the company I chose to experience the desert with and the care they take for their camels. For this reason I stand by my decision to immerse myself in to Emirati culture, of which the bedouin lifestyle is so much a part of and their reliance on these animals has been integral to their survival. For the record – these are some of the happiest camels y’all will find the world over. Read more about it here if you’re so inclined.
The only day spa I’ve visited where there is a lifeguard at the ready.
The only time a 4:00am wake up call is okay: for a sunrise mission. This morning we woke to watch the sun rise over the desert from a hot air balloon. These moments that are so far from the reality you know to be true are what puts the magic in travel and keeps drawing you back for a lifetime of it.
Spices, nuts, and all manner of things in the souks.
The world’s tallest tower.
A Lebanese feast put on by our friends at Ayamna.
Mornings at our bedouin village in the desert. The way the sun feels this time of day is beyond me.
Bouncin’ around the dunes in our Rover. We tried to take her for a spin but couldn’t even get the thing started. Not pictured: actual driver.
This was always make me laugh: $20 per cocktail and they don’t even contain any alcohol.
Somewhere into the mission to drive ourselves around the desert before getting caught out. We could start the engine, we just couldn’t keep it going.
I once asked the question on twitter: sunrise or sunset? For me, I choose both. Sunrise is my way of setting the day with intentions – what I set out to achieve and a logical plot to achieve it. Sunset offers a sense of weight lifting from your shoulders as you put to one side what has been done, to the other side what has not, and set your sights for the day ahead. I find so much beauty in living with daily goals and not getting caught up in planning too far ahead (I normally only know what I’m doing a few days in advance – making plans has never been my strong suit).
Thanks to my brother (Limbob) for joining me on this trip to Dubai. It wouldn’t have been the same without him – seeing everything with fresh eyes and being excited about a place again, despite it being my third or fourth visit. While solo travel will always be the start of it all for me, sharing these experiences is invaluable.