This summer I had the great fortune of visiting the ever crazy, cosmopolitan, and controversial Dubai. After a three-hour delay at JFK, and a ten-minute connecting time in Amsterdam, I arrived luggage (less) in what felt like the Emerald City. Seventeen hours of travel time, two very sleepless flights, and suddenly I was walking next to men who looked like floating angels in their white dishdashes. The cab ride from the airport to my accommodations had me so over stimulated I felt lightheaded and faint. One glimpse up the Burj Khalifa and I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.
I spent three weeks in this incredibly surreal otherworld. Everything felt so close to western living and yet not at all. The smell of shisha met you wherever you went. The heat was unbearable at best. Naps in the afternoon became an absolute necessity. But that never stopped me from completing DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10. I rummaged through textile, spice, gold, and perfume souqs next to Dubai Creek. I managed my way up the monorail to the infamous Atlantis Hotel. I even found myself making friends with ‘locals’ who were no less foreign to Dubai than I was.
Having spent a considerable amount of time alone in Dubai as a woman, I was blown away by my ability to remain independent. Dubai is nothing short of contradictions, but I would have to agree that it really is revolutionary in its progressive attempts. It’s not everyday that a mall houses every high-end designer imaginable alongside the largest female prayer room. By the end though I really was becoming delirious in Dubai. There is only so much five star everything a person can digest. After three weeks you see the holes in all the fancy facades, but as the saying goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”