I lived in Dubai for a while and I think it’s one of those cities you either love or hate. I for the most part, loved it because of the atmosphere, the glitter, the fountains, the food, the vibrant city life, the sunsets, the variety and just the possibility that surrounds you when you realise there’s an indoor ski built in one of the largest malls in the world - The Mall of the Emirates, which is largely surrounded by dessert. It’s mind blowing really! Practically speaking though, I liked it mostly because it’s a central location and you can get to pretty much all continents by direct flights, including the 5 hour flight back home.
Magical things I did in Dubai
Dubai’s a special city for me because it’s the city where I had the opportunity to pursue one of childhood dreams to become Cabin Crew. It exceeded my expectations by far; in that in addition to learning things about myself, I also met loads of wonderful (and crazy interesting) people. I’m out of practice obviously; but I can safely say there was a time in my life when I knew all the safety and emergency procedures for a number of aircraft types I was working on. I was also fully trained to deliver a baby, put out a fire, take care of inflight retail and handle a disruptive deportee on board a plane all whilst keeping a lovely smile on my face. Those were fun times. I’m forever grateful for that one of a kind experience.
Tiki puka puka and the peach tree punch cocktails are the best cocktails I’ve tasted in my life. More the latter than the former to be honest. The bartender just made magic in that glass. I came across these famous cocktails at Trader Vics, a pub inside Hotel Crowne Plaza on Sheikh Zayed Road which I think is still a real happening and lively place. Their boneless chicken wings are everything.
I went to the Dubai Fountain which is the world's largest choreographed fountain system. It does put on quite a spectacular show with several different music themes. I recognised a couple of songs the times I watched them like The Prayer - Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli, Thriller - by Michael Jackson, I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston and All Night Long - Lionel Ritchie.
I went to the Burj Khalifa, the needle-shaped super scraper which takes center stage in the famed skyline. This tallest manmade structure is the ultimate symbol of glitz, glamor and the over-the-top excess for which the city is known. Just to give you some perspective: the Burj Khalifa is twice the height of New York's Empire State Building and three times as tall as the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Rivetting!! Fun fact: The Burj Khalifa opened in 2010 after a six-year build involving 12,000 workers.
I had my very first experience with...wait for it....drum rolls... Caviar!! Truth be told - I’d heard so much about it, this mysterious luxury: tiny black pearls so exquisite in flavor and texture that people paid through the nose for just a dollop. Then, I tasted it. And there it was: salty and fishy, a little black mound on a little fat pancake with some sour creamy spread. I thought to yourself, is this it? Surely, few people fall for caviar upon first bite. It takes those second, third and fourth bites to really get it. Then, it’s like, ‘woah, where have you been all my life!?’ Would I pay to eat caviar today? No! But I’m glad I finally satisfied my curiosity.
It goes without saying that the Dubai restaurant scene is thriving! Because I lived there for a while, I had the chance to try quite a couple but one of the really breathtaking ones where I dined with my friends was Ossiano, the sea food restaurant where the finest seafood cuisine is consumed with a floor to ceiling view like no other - the 65,000 fish aquarium. I thought it was faultless. The food was fabulous, the staff were really friendly, the atmosphere was relaxing, and that stunning view was everything.