Technically we arrived at Dubai at night so I’m really writing about Day 2 – but hey, check out our room. It’s massive!!! (Diversion tactic win!)
So, Dubai Dubai! I’ve always wanted to go somewhere in the middle east, and this is probably the best place for a noob tourist like me! I’ve already been told that there isn’t much to do in Dubai, but I wanted to go anyway. My general feeling after this trip is: as someone from a city like Hong Kong – I’m really not wowed by their buildings or shopping malls; no, not even Dubai Mall with the big aquarium in the middle of it. Apart from that, it’s was just the desert safari tour and local markets for me. I must say though, I only had two and half days there, and I didn’t make a big effort to go and see ten gazillion things.
On the first day we went and checked out the must-see attraction in Dubai. Burj Al Arab. How you pronounce ‘Burj’ is beyond me. It didn’t go well with the cab drivereither, he knew where we were going, but somehow he had trouble finding the spot to drop us off.
Here’s the thing with cabs in Dubai – apparently they all try to rip you off, and we were told we’d have to be tough and intimidate them. I’m not completely comfortable with that because I don’t believe in being rude or unpleasant before someone has wronged you. My friend had no problem with it. It was a very good thing.
I’m not sure if we were ripped off intentionally on our first cab ride in Dubai, or if it was just an honest mistake and this is why: most beaches along the Burj Al Arab are private, owned by hotels or that they charge an entry fee. There are some (two, I think) open beaches, so we told the driver to drop us off there. He took us to one where we couldn’t even see the Burj Al Arab, so we just told him to take us to the hotel and asked him to let us get off about a block from it. (This is because you’re not allowed to go into the actual building unless you’re a guest or have made reservations at one of their restaurants. You won’t even be allowed to go inside their property/reception gates.) We walked towards the water and found an open beach within three minutes.
This is me, and the renowned Burj Al Arab. I remember being very underwhelmed. It’s not a huge building, and I suppose this view of it really isn’t that impressive.
We found our way to the front of the hotel and it was a much nicer view. Still, we were left pretty awkward since we couldn’t go in and there was nothing else to do.
There’s a water park right next to it which looked quite cool but was quite expensive so we said “screw this” and left.
We had booked a day tour called the Desert Safari to… the desert, and lo and behold, it’s such an attraction that we found it on the tourist map. Fear not, my friends, like you, we thought it’s some kind of weird sand dune/desert on a block right outside the city, but it turns out everywhere else is just as sandy.
The city seems to be very concentrated – I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but if you go a few blocks inland and look back this is what you’d see.
Give it about fifteen minutes and you realize, “oh man I really am in a desert.”
The tour ends with a dinner and performance at some kind of campsite the guide kept talking about, and we thought this was it; it’s not.
Before we started the Desert Safari action we had to stop by this other random area where there’s also a heck lot of sand and you can pay extra and have some fun on quad bikes.
For some reason this spot is also some kind of mini-zoo. They keep peacocks, rabbits, chicken, a donkey, and a monkey, whose hellooooooooo! was hanging out.
The bird pen’s fence was probably just over a meter high but this amazing peacock just decided to go out for a stroll.
She was looking for this bunny.
That one guy on our tour was finally done riding around sand dunes and we finally moved onto the highlight of the tour: the safari part. We weren’t standing on pick-ups or whatevers but we were in a four-wheel drive like this:
This mean all that really happened was we went on a really bumpy ride for maybe 10 or 15 minutes and everyone (there was the four of us) on the tour was mega bored and half of us wanted to throw up. I had to stop thinking about my friend wanting to throw up or I’d do it. When the guide realized no one was really enjoying this he stopped and let us take in the view of being in the middle of nowhere and snap some shots.
I think this is a pretty epic shot I took on my iPhone with an amazing app.
Me playing with sand.
I don’t really know what I was doing here. Let’s pretend I wanted to hold the sun or something.
This is the campsite where they say everything is free. You can ride a camel (free), a horse (not free), help yourself to a non-alcoholic drink (free), get drunk (not free), shisha/hookah/hubbly bubbly, as they call it (free), eat some sweet corn (not free), and get a henna tattoo (free).
I did it, and the lady who did it for me was also probably the most unwelcoming person I met in Dubai. Seriously, everyone else was super friendly; maybe except for this other cab driver we met later on, but my friend took care of him. This lady did my henna tattoo in about ten seconds and wanted nothing more to do with me. Well, she’s good at what she does, what can you do?
This is what the inside of the campsite looks like and the setting was pretty cool…… so was the temperature, by this time.
This dude came onto the stage and just started spinning on the spot and it went on and on…
and the lights went out and uh his lights came on. It was quite cool, even when he invited someone from the audience to come and give it a shot. Then the second, then the third… then the girl who didn’t want to stop even though she wasn’t really doing it right..ever, then the tenth person… then everyone got distracted by the second round of food.
‘Belly dancer’. I’m sure she put a lot of effort into it and it’s quite chilly at night out in the desert and she was barely wearing anything but it was agreed that we all thought some lady high on weed just ran on the stage. I guess she was at least beautiful.
Seriously it’s not like these people are rubbish, I just think that as people from a city where things like this would have been the money maker, we’re used to performances being more professional.
Actually, I’ve seen a handful of bad performances in my life, so scrap that. These guys were just doing their jobs.
Oh and this is what was offered at the buffet… a wrap with two pieces of meat, fries, and mayo.
My comment: 仲dry過我。