Where the caravan camels roam. Where it’s flat and immense. And the heat is intense – it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home
When I started writing this article all I could think about is the opening of Aladdin – ‘Welcome to Agrabha’. “Where the caravan camels roam. Where it’s flat and immense. And the heat is intense – it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home”. The place I was born wasn’t this, but was pretty much fitting for this narrative – though now it looks like Bruce Willis’s 5th element had a baby. Except for some untouched marvels, everything about the place has changed. It’s futuristic. It’s developed. It’s the prince of skylines. It’s Dubai.
If you have seen the before and after pictures of Dubai, that isn’t Photoshop – I have actually been witness to its development and it’s pretty insane how suddenly Dubai became this epic landscape for development. It completely lost the touch of a desert and became a second nation to foreigners. If I say I’m an Indian, you wouldn’t say anything – but the minute I identify myself as a Malayalee (my roots are from Kerala) you have a smirk on your face because there is nothing funnier than a cliché.
A lot of people who have been to Dubai say that they would rather stay at the airport and finish all their shopping – because the airport is honestly more like a mall with a few runways in its backyard. Dubai has been made as a tourist destination in the past 10-12 years. Though, when I was growing up the only excitement was the Dubai Shopping Festival – now every single day is a celebration of something. Fireworks, fountains, fire and belly dancers is what you see in the promo and get excited and it has become a stereotype of things you definitely see in Dubai. Yes, seeing the tourist spots and experiencing the sand dunes is fun, but for so much more – read on.
There is an actual place in Dubai called Atlantis – I’m not making this up, it does exist (for all those nerds out there). Many people think that it is expensive and beyond reach – yes, if you want to be woken up by a shark or exotic sea life then you will be paying 7star rates. Otherwise, to walk into Atlantis is pure bliss. As soon as you walk in, you are taken by the architecture. You would think if Poseidon had a living room, this is how it would look. As you walk around you are surrounded by a massive glass frame that has sea life in conservation. You will be fascinated with the structure and feel you are right in the middle of the sea. It’s just pure awesome.
After you experience water like that, you have to indulge with earth – Creek Park. One of my favorite spots in Dubai. It is a massive property that has a dock, play pen for kids, dolphin shows, and areas to have barbeques. When I went there, I was taken back to the years I was a kid and used to have football games and swing competitions. I distinctly remember going there for my crush’s birthday and my friends telling her mother that I do indeed have a crush (and she was in the car – didn’t say a word) I thought I’m out of the guest list for the party, but as it turns out that was the only way she would get to know of my feelings and it worked like a charm. It was many years ago, and was totally worth every second of it. Anyway, you could say the park blossomed my first love story. Leaving my personal story aside, this is still the best park in Dubai – it works as the perfect balance between fun and leisure for everyone.
There is the expensive mall like feel to the country and in contrast, the greatest of markets with local spices, fragrances and most importantly tradition. Antiques are good memorabilia to bring back from Dubai. When you walk on the streets – make sure to notice extremities of experiences that would bring to life the best of both worlds when you are in Dubai.
So Dubai honestly isn’t about everything shopping or big bucks. I have pointed out 3 extremes to give you an idea on how a holiday over there should be experienced – from the life of a sultan to a mere Aladdin like me , there is always something for everyone in this gorgeous architectural desert land.