My Trip to Dubai

I just returned from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The United Nations of My Friends and I went on this trip for my 31st birthday; 2 White (Jewish and Polish-Italian), 1 Hispanic (Guatemala), 1 Trinidadian and 2 St.Lucians. All American either by birth or by naturalization. What an interesting trip for us who were either shocked by the cost of living, the cultural differences or simply ecstatic to be there!
Only the girls are in the picture below

Day 1 - Harry's Place & Kasbar Club

Upon arrival to our hotel, Renaissance Dubai Hotel in Deira, there was an Arab wedding. I had no shame, I recorded as much as I could see from the Lobby. LOL! Click here: Wedding in Dubai

Harry's Place is bar & cigar lounge, in the Renaissance Hotel. The place to be on any day of the week because of the entertaining theme nights and pub bistro cuisine. Play pool, darts or a video game or simply watch your favourite sport on “large screen” TV and projector. If you are a cigar lover, there is a fine selection of cigars sure to tempt you.

We went there hoping to visit The Roof Top Bar & Club the most dramatic outdoor evening venue, where the sky is the ceiling. By the time we arrived, The Roof Top was closed at 2AM, so we went to the Kasbar instead. Kasbar is vibrant and colourful, this lively and distinctive late evening entertainment venue is an exciting and eclectic mix of old and new design from around the Gulf. Exciting with its three bars on different levels, the Kasbar has an ultra chic atmosphere. Located at The Palace.

My Experience: After driving and having the feeling we were not arriving our destination, our group of 6, finally hopped out of 2 separate taxis. When we got there, we were under-dressed but after spending $60 dirhams on each taxi fare, it was too soon to turn back now. So we each reluctantly paid the $300 dirhams for 6 people to enter Kasbar, which then gave us each a free drink chit. The music was an eclectic mix of old and new hip-hop, r&b, pop, Arabic music and dance hits that I have included in some of my imeem playlists (I remember this song in particular, "Shine On by R.I.O". So with 45 minutes ... the time flew by.  My hubby offered to buy a second drink. When he returned with the 2 drinks, he blurted that he had just paid $110 dirhams (US$30) for 2 drinks. So although it was a lovely experience, this club was not in our price range!

Day 2 - The Gold and Spice Markets & Al Khayma Restaurant

My Experience: We took the local bus to the markets. It was interesting because all women must sit in the front of the bus while the men sit in the back! Women are considered second class citizens despite how liberal Dubai is. 

My friend and I were selecting drinks from a fridge when  a man came and simply pushed us aside while he got what he wanted out of the fridge.  When he was done, then were we able to continue selecting our drinks from the fridge.   Yet, under scrutiny by the men in the little cafe. Every time us ladies entered a taxi, the driver would not respond, until our male companions said where it was that we were to go to. It was hard to get taxis or the bus if us girls were all alone. Generally women are free to dress as they please but some still dress in traditional clothes.
Five times a day, Muslims are called to pray from the nearest mosque. Even in shopping malls, the calls to prayer are put out over the speakers to remind Muslims that it is time to pray.

 My Experience: Another defining moment was the excitement that the Arabs had for President-Elect Barack Obama. They would simply ask, "Where are you from?" ... And now I think about it, we were all brave, but we did answer, "The United States or America."  Next we were all cheering, the Arabs and us, "Yay, Obama!" One friend even got this response from an Arab vendor after haggling for a few minutes and having the aforementioned conversation, "Oh America? For you, I give additional $10 discount, because of Barack Obama!" LOL! Hearing this, she did not bother to haggle any more!

The Souk is a commercial quarter in an Arab city. The souq is divided into small souqs, each usually housed in a few narrow streets and named after the product it specialized in such as the gold souq, the fabric souq, the spice souq, the leather souq, even divided into a retail and wholesale souq. It was rather interesting to see men carry goods through the narrow streets.

The Gold Souk, Old Deira in the heart of Dubai. More than 300 jewelleries situated one after the other are waiting for their visitors. Brilliants, emeralds, sapphires, bracelets, watches, rings and necklaces. Nicely illuminated show-cases. Jewels in 18 carat or 22 carat gold. Haggling about the price is like a tradition. Take your time and plan 2 to 3 hours for your visit. Almost all of the beach hotels offer a shuttle bus free of charge for your drive to the Gold Souk in the afternoon.

Al Khayma Restaurant, Le Royal Méridien Beach Resort & Spa (Dubai Marine Beach Resort) Dubai is a Starwood Hotel.  Al Khayma has delicious food, good price, not cheap but not expensive either.

My Experience: We sat out on the lawn, near the beach. So we heard and saw the waves of the Arabian Gulf crashing on the shore. We shared a sheesha (shisha), also known as a hookah. A single or multi-stemmed (often glass-based) water pipe for smoking. It can be used for smoking herbal fruits, tobacco, or cannabis. We smoked flavored tobacco, apple and watermelon.

Dinner was wonderful! We dined on falafel (a fried ball or patty made from spiced fava beans and/or chickpeas), tabouleh (its primary ingredients are bulgur, finely chopped parsley, mint, tomato, scallion,

and other herbs with lemon juice, olive oil and various seasonings, generally including black pepper and sometimes cinnamon and allspice), grilled cheese, hummus (dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic), pita bread. My cocktail that night was a mix of a mojito and red bull. I don't like either drink generally but this was a great combo.

Day 3 - Dune Safari with Barbecue - 7 Hours

Lama Desert Tours gives you an opportunity to see the Golden sand Dunes of Arabia in 4 wheel drives where you experience the thrill of a live roller coaster ride on the sand dunes, called Dune Bashing. You stop on the highest sand dune to view the beautiful sunset for some breathtaking photographs.
We then continued to journey to the Bedouin Campsite in the heart of the Desert, where Henna Design, Arabic GAVA (local dresses), soft drinks, water, tea or coffee are available for you to choose from. Camel rides and Hubbly Bubbly (shisha) with different flavors to suit your taste are available.  Adding to the atmosphere of the night, an enchanting belly dancer shows a fascinating dance to a rhythm of an Arabic music. While you relax and recline in the tents with carpet and pillows a delicious BBQ buffet dinner was served under the starlit sky. (The above tour is not recommended to heart patients, and people with neck and back problems).

My Experience: I was freaking out while we sped through the sand dunes. Here are videos of us in the 4 wheel drive.  All four tires are deflated before speeding through the desert sand. When that was done, the girls rode the camels, the back of the camels were so hard and they moved side to side, like hip to hip! LOL! My friends and I also got mendhi, the application of henna as a temporary form of skin decoration.

Day 4 - Jumeriah Emirates Towers, Al Burj, Madinat Jumeirah & Mall of the Emirates

Jumeriah Emirates Towers complex contains the Emirates Office Tower and Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel. The two towers, which rise to 355 metres (1,163 ft) and 309 metres (1,014 ft), respectively, stand as the 12th- and 29th-tallest buildings in the world. The two towers are connected by a 9,000 m² (96,875 ft²) two-storey retail complex known as "The Boulevard". The Emirates Towers complex is located on the Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, and is a symbol of Dubai City.

Burj Dubai is the most noticeable building in Dubai's skyline. It is the world's tallest building which is still under construction. The Burj Dubai looks different depending on where you're standing. Its designer, Adrian Smith incorporated patterns from traditional Islamic architecture, but above all drew inspiration from the Hymenocallis flower. A plant widely cultivated in Dubai. As of September 26, 2008, Burj Dubai had reached a height of 707 m (2,320 ft). More info Burj Dubai Skyscraper

Burj Al Arab, Jumeriah, Dubai at 321 metres (1,053 ft), The Burj Al Arab stands on an artificial island 280 metres (919 ft) out from Jumeirah beach, and is connected to the mainland by a private curving bridge. It is an iconic structure, designed to symbolize Dubai's urban transformation and to mimic the sail of a boat. The cost of staying in a suite begins at $1,000 per night; the Royal Suite is the most expensive, at $28,000 per night.

In order to preserve the peaceful atmosphere of Burj Al Arab, and respect the privacy of its guests, only patrons with a restaurant reservation are granted access. Casual viewing inside the hotel without a guaranteed restaurant reservation is strictly not permitted. Our Pakistani taxi driver told us that the cost to visit the hotel is US$100 and a cup of tea $300 dirhams (US$34.11)

Dar Al Masyaf Madinat Jumeirah The Arabian Resort, Dubai is 5 star hotel. Madinat Jumeirah translates into the 'City of Jumeirah', so named because of the sheer variety of this magnificent Resort, located in the heart of fashionable Jumeirah. A tribute to Dubai's heritage and is styled to resemble an ancient Arabian citadel. Luxurious and ornate, combining the height of opulence with an overwhelming sense of tradition. Meandering waterways and wide open sea-scapes transport guests to all parts of this intricate city of senses.

The concept is one of 'old Arabia' in a totally luxurious context. This combination of authentic Arabian themes has created a destination of unique qualities and outstanding beauty. Madinat Jumeirah is a city of contrasts, from the sublimely relaxing to the vibrant and exotic. Madinat Jumeirah will be a defining statement in which time and tradition rise from the sands to create a monument of awe-inspiring proportions.

Mall of the Emirates is the ultimate leisure, entertainment and shopping resort, and is the largest shopping centre outside of North America. Strategically located in the heart of what is now deemed ‘New Dubai’. This 223,000 square meter centre offers a full range of shopping, leisure, and entertainment. Inside this mall is Ski Dubai is the first indoor ski resort in the Middle East and offers an amazing snow setting to enjoy skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing, or just playing in the snow. Young or old, there is something for everyone, from the beginner to the snow sport enthusiast. Ski Dubai is a unique mountain-themed attraction that offers you the opportunity to enjoy real snow in Dubai all year round.

My Experience: There is construction every where across the Dubai Skyline. It is said that 30% of the world's cranes are in Dubai. ..And although Texans claim, "Everything is big in Texas," I think Dubai makes Texas look small. Dubai is constantly breaking records with the size of its architecture, "The largest building, the tallest building, biggest mall and the list goes on!"

... And last but not least, the best invention in just about every bathroom that I visited, "The Water Hose." One spray, and I was tingly fresh but I made every bathroom stall turn into a shower!  Islam puts cleanliness high on the agenda, and considers you going to toilet to do your business as an act of impurity. Whether you do number 1 or number 2, you are expected to wash your private parts thereafter.


  1. wow! I was so excited when i saw this on my blog roll, because I've always wanted to go to Dubai! Oh my gosh! Sounds like you had an entertaining yet knowlegeable trip

  2. Haha the water hose....I have one in my house and took me a whole month to figure what the hell to do wif that fing. At first my daughter called it the "bum shower" I dismissed it with laughter only to find out my clever chile was right.

  3. This was a really great read, I enjoyed it! What were the prices like since you mentioned they have a really high standard of living. Our Prime Minister wants to turn Trinidad into Dubai ..... :S

  4. Really interesting trip review. I hope to check out that part of the world one day

  5. Hey Nyree, thanks so much for sharing that experience with us. Well I got a feel of things. I really enjoyed the part about the can you really wash in a small they provide materials to dry tell you!

  6. Hey Ny,

    Great Review! Thanks for taking us with you in our minds eye!
    Now, about that seesha, see if that were Wayne and I... we'd know what to do with that!!! LOL
    And I so love the "bum shower"! (clever child indeed) i just may have to steal that idea!
    But you didn't touch on Fashion and Fabrics, with their culture, i'm sure that would be a very interesting area; probably expensive too huh?
    Any keep writing, we all enjoy!!!