I’m not even sure Dubai is worth a day. If you’re headed somewhere and it’s a logical connection point, I think spending a day there would be fine. But I would never recommend it otherwise.
I see now why people compare it to Las Vegas. There is a strip (Sheikh Zayed Road) where all of the skyscrapers are built. There’s also nothing old to speak of on that strip. That’s down in the city center area.
I got in late to Dubai Tuesday night, around 9pm, and the line at passport control was really bad. Big planes had landed and they were making no effort to bring staff to the empty stations. An hour later I was in a cab, too late to try and see anything that night.
Early next morning I was up and tried to swim in the rooftop pool. Something was delayed and the guy wouldn’t let me swim, so I took some shots from the terrace.Then I took there very nice metro line down to the mall and the exit to the sail-shaped hotel. The metro stations were ridiculous. Dori Monson would not approve.
It’s becoming a storyline of my trip — the mall doors were open, but nothing else. I walked around there for a bit to wake up and look for some sort of breakfast. It wasn’t open, but I did see the indoor ski slope (seen in such excellent shows like The Amazing Race).I’d also read the night before that the famous hotel doesn’t allow people in just to tour. You have to stay there or be eating there. I settled with a couple pictures from the metro as I headed back towards my hotel.
After eating at a Starbucks (every American chain you can think of inhabits the strip), I jumped in a cab for the Gold Souk. It was only partially open (9am, come on now people, it’s not a weekend) but it was a tourist trap. If I were looking for jewelry I could see the appeal. I can’t imagine most that visit this must-see sight are though.
This isn’t news, but Dubai is a have/have-not community. From what I can tell there are a ton of hard-working people from India basically making the city a city. I don’t know the wages, but my taxi rides were very affordable for a city where there are deep pockets.
This also isn’t news. This is an oil-money society. I can’t wait to see what this place looks like in 20, 30, or 50 years.
As a traveler I’m glad I saw it and have a brief glimpse into a tiny portion of the Middle East. I’ll remember my Bollywood-playing cabbie, the 90s American pop pub in my hotel, and the extravagance of a city known pretty much just for that.
In Istanbul now with my friend Beau (reason why I haven’t posted in awhile, he despises the written word, and alone it was easier to burn an hour or two writing these). Always a favorite, there are stray but nice dogs here: