I like Dubai…a lot. You can feel how new the city is right when you arrive. Everything is bigger and better than the next. They have like 3 ginormous malls, all built within the last 10 years and all bigger than the last. They now boast the worlds tallest building and the world’s biggest mall. They are literally building an addition to their marina area that is designed to be twice the size of Hong Kong. That’s a city twice the size of Hong Kong, that they are currently building inside or onto the city of Dubai. That’s one of the weird things though. The city is too big. It is not even remotely a walkable city. Every single “area” is separated by a massive grid of highways. I was really disappointed. It takes 20 minutes of in between to get anywhere.

I stayed in the marina area. This is not a worthwhile area to stay in really. The marina walk is cool but crossing to the other side is a bitch. The Jumeira Beach Walk is cool, but right now it’s all construction. Walking in many of these parts you start to wonder where all the small shopkeepers are. It’s rare to have any non designed flavor in Dubai, as it’s all planned. If the beach was not a draw, I would’ve stayed downtown. Lots going on there I think, but it’s still not like you are walking from place to place so maybe it doesn’t matter.

Going to any of the Palm islands is just bad ass. Man made islands will always work for me. Atlantis is the major project and while it’s cool enough, it’s built for families. Very very similar to the one in the Bahamas (except it probably cost a billion more). The Burj al arab (sail hotel) was crazy. You have to get a reservation even to just have a drink! When I finally got there around midnight I could not of been more disappointed. What a joke. The view you can get from everywhere in Dubai. The decor was that of a mid range cruise ship. They have drinks that cost over a thousand bucks each, and no style or showmanship to back it up. The service was great, but I mean jesus, this might be the most overrated thing I’ve ever done in my life.

Ski Dubai was interesting enough, but it’s not as big as you want it to be and is a major kid attraction…of course. Dubai Mall was a little better. They do have a fountain show that, and this hurts my feelings to write, is better than the one at the Bellagio (but at least at the Bellag you get Frank, and not belly dancing music). The aquarium (which I was really excited about) was a joke. Man what a scam. I guess it’s not their fault. They use the word “aquarium” literally, and thus have a giant tank filled with fish. Yes you can walk through it, and there is a small traditional aquarium like area, but nothing like the awe inspiring and informative aquariums that we have in the states. Lastly, I wanted to see a movie while I was here and it was truly a thing. The seats were awesome and had end tables between each two. They even offered pillows and blankets free of charge.

The Dubai club/bar scene is in full force. I suppose the government creates the scene because you can’t drink alcohol outside of the hotels (and you can’t even take alcohol from a hotel bar to your room…you have to order room service). It’s kind of crazy, walking by a Fridays for example and it looks the exact same as in the US except no bar! There are beautiful women everywhere and I’m not kidding, they are all prostitutes. I’ve never seen anything like it with women from all different nationalities, and with such glamor. Sitting in a bar and watching drop dead gorgeous girls leave with guys and then come back shortly thereafter was entertaining…and I did check…thousand bucks for a couple hours 🙂 Though I didn’t go, I was told the Fairmont even hosts a meet and greet with single guys and prostitutes every night. Like in Thailand, there are old ugly dudes with super hot young women everywhere.

The food in Dubai isn’t really anything but international. They have every restaurant ever invented. Cabs are great and really cheap, but you have to take a real one as they have plenty of car services that seem twice as expensive (even though they are metered).

I got the big bus tour here, but I can’t possibly recommend it. You are driving down the highway most of the time. The sights aren’t really drive by sites (like malls) and the information the bus gives you is pretty awful, maybe because there is not much to say…

Overall, I can’t wait to come back in 10 years when they have doubled it’s size, and maybe filled in some of those annoying blank areas.

Notes to self:

-The older malls have become local and practical attractions, the new malls are tourist attractions


Grosvenor House (Nov. 2013)