Riham's Blog

So, what was Dubai like?

I was in Dubai for five days last week, and it was my first visit. People say Dubai is artificial, but I thought it was part of what it is. It was a pretty cool city to be in. There’s lack of any “touristic” sights, but a lot of activities to do nonetheless. I would just like to share some things I saw/liked/hated/noticed in no logical order.

You can take the kid out of Lebanon, but you can’t take Lebanon out of the kid – Credit to whoever said that expression in front of me, as it allows me to share a funny story. Now I have been to other countries and taken taxis there, so I am aware of the fact that the whole “taxi drivers choose whether or not to drive you” thing is specific to Lebanon. However, one tends to forget. A cab stopped for my friend & I, and before she had the chance to get in the car, she saw me asking the driver if he would take us. A “what the hell are you doing? Get in!” was uttered, and embarrassment was felt!

Everything is big – Ever since I stepped foot in that city, the one word that came to mind and pretty much stayed there for the whole trip was the word “Grandiose”. Everything is huge, everything is exaggerated, so much space everywhere. Large highways, high towers, ridiculous ideas for towers.

Malls are not meant for shopping – Following up on the previous point, malls are huge. I’ve seen some big malls, but none of them compared. There was so much to do, so much to see in each one, that it got overwhelming at some point. I do not know how to shop like that. There were some things I wanted to buy, but I barely stepped into any shops. This was mostly the case in Dubai mall. Finding shops is impossible, walking from one to the other takes a whole lot of walking and a whole lot of time. And who needs to shop anyway when you have fish to see? Emirates mall is much easier for shopping, as it is much smaller. Another interesting thing I found was how the high brand names are located right next to other shops. It felt like it makes you more likely to purchase from them. If you can afford that top from Zara, why not that brand name from the shop next door?

Everything is possible – It just seems like there is (well, for now was) nothing they stopped at. Ski in a shopping mall? Done. Aquarium in a shopping mall? Done. A (sort of lame, actually) glass boat ride in the aquarium in the shopping mall? Done. Water that dances around to music every 15 minutes? why the hell not. I love that and hate that at the same time. I like the fact that they tried to push it as further as they could, but also dislike it because it was bound to explode in their face.

Is Dubai smelly? – I’ve heard this from more than one person, and read it in different reviews and articles about Dubai. However, I honestly did not feel it.

Atlantis – This was probably my favorite part of Dubai. I don’t know if it’s the fact they had an amazing international buffet, or if it’s the child in me who had never been to water parks. This hotel may have been going for “fancy”, but to me it screamed FUN. I love the sea, but I am not a beach person. After all the water park fun was had, my friend and I headed to the beach part of Aquaventure. It was extremely quiet. I laid on the chair that actually covers you from the sun light (dream come true) and fell asleep. That NEVER happens. Fun, relaxing, just amazing!

Palm island – I am very much against the idea of the Palm Island, and I don’t know what happened to the project of creating a cedar version of it here in Lebanon, but I’d hate for that to happen. However, the houses on that island are just amazing. They have a back door right on the beach, and the actual buildings are extremely beautiful.

Towers are impressive – If Dubai’s towers impressed me that much, I can hardly wait to see what I would think when I visit my dream city/NYC. I loved staying in a tower, I loved driving (well, being driven?) around them.

Burj Khalifa, not as impressive – For some reason, I was not impressed with Burj Khalifa. It is extremely high, sure, but it also isn’t very wide, which seemed to reduce of its “grandeur”. I have visited Petronas twin towers in Malaysia before, and they were much more impressive. The tour inside the burj though was pretty interesting, and showed how luxurious it actually is.

Expensive city – Usually, on vacations, you get in a mood where you feel like money doesn’t matter, and you indulge in whatever you like. At least I do. However, I do not think this was the case for Dubai. Everything is more expensive than in Beirut, and money gets spent extremely easily. If I were living there, I’d probably be spending at the same pace. It is true what they say, Dubai is not a city where you can save money.

They still have dance floors! AKA Night life – First and foremost, to me, pubs win clubs any day of the week. Everyone says that nothing compares to Beirut’s night life, but I just really liked that you can actually dance in Dubai’s clubs when you go dancing. In Beirut, the “dancing” is mostly shaking your body around tables that are stuck to each other, while you are way too close to the strangers on the next table. I liked that the one place we went to had a dance floor, I hadn’t seen that in a while (but I’m not much of a clubber so what the hell do I know?). Pubs however win so much. Extremely crowded, with drinks that have interesting names!


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  1. Burjdubai » So, what was Dubai like? « Riham's Blog pingbacked on 7 years, 9 months ago


  1. * Bilal says:

    1. Why wasn’t I informed that you were in Dubai?!

    2. I’ve been here for about 4 years, and I love it! I know it’s not the most beautiful place on earth, but once you live here you’ll know what I mean.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 9 months ago
    • I was supposed to get together with Micha and she would inform some of the tweeps, but unfortunately I did not have the chance to because the trip was so short. :\

      I was expecting to hate Dubai, as many of my friends have negative opinions about it, but I enjoyed my stay. It doesn’t seem like a bad place to live, to be honest.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 9 months ago
  2. * Danielle says:

    Haha..I cannot believe you asked the taxi whether or not he would take you! Honest mistake I guess…but soo funny! I’m sure he was like (WTF is wrong with this person?) HAHAHAH..wish I had been there.

    I went to Dubai for two weeks December 2008 and I HATED IT. Probably because I was there visiting family..and my eldest cousin was 16 at the time. To me, Dubai is really about the people..where as Lebanon can be very entertaining even if you don’t know a soul… I had really seen enough after one week, and couldn’t wait to get back home..

    Although I think it’s a bit different for you as your best friend lives there right? Anyway, looks like you had a good time all around..thanks for updating us on your trip sweeetie poo! 😉

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 9 months ago
  3. * A Bare Truth says:

    This is the first review i read of dubai. It seemed pretty fun n u confirmed my initial impression of the place. If i am gonna spend that kind of cash I would prefer to go somewhere else

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 9 months ago

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