An hour and a half in a taxi takes you from the capital of the United Arab Emirates to its most known and populated city. The next few days – barring one morning – were going to be spent in a place synonymous with extravagance and money. Good morning Dubai!
This place has boomed since the discovery of oil in 1966. Even the nearby Gulf War failed to halt construction in Dubai, changing it from a regionally important port into a globally important city. The result is the world’s tallest skyline, which is comprised of many unique and extraordinary buildings. The tallest of them, the Burj Khalifa, is a jaw-dropping 829m high.
As you can see from the map, Dubai is located on the coast, which means one thing – it has a beach! The only beach I had seen since the summer was the one inside the Khan Shatyr, so we were all very excited to spend an afternoon lying on Jumeirah beach’s strip of golden sand. A temperature of 25’C was treasured greatly.
Dubai seems to be comparatively ‘more’ than Abu Dhabi. It is bigger, busier and brasher than its Western counterpart. The expat community is also more prevalent here, which was brought into focus when we went for dinner in the Irish Village. There are certain foods which had to be eaten due to their unavailability in Kazakhstan, and fish & chips was very high on my list. The place was eerily similar to the Wolfhound in Seoul’s foreign district, with one slight but obvious difference. The restaurant was part of…a tennis stadium. Which we snuck into to take a look. Very impressive, and the eyes of the tennis world will be on it over the next couple of weeks for international tournaments.
We were a world away from this comfortable setting the following morning, when we were driven into the desert. We rented some quadbikes and shattered the peace of the desert by zooming through it.
The feeling of speeding along the scorching sand is exhilarating. We were instructed not to overtake one another, but at one point there was a long, straight and flat section of wilderness that was yearning to be accelerated over. It would have been rude not to. Our guide took us down some very steep dunes, which were thrilling to descend.
Our desert fun should have stopped once the ignition had been cut, but we then decided to jump off the sand dunes. It’s not a particularly easy skill to master – it took us many attempts, and we eventually resorted to jumping from a stationary position. We still got some awesome photos, though!
Even running down the dunes is a challenge. It was also a bit naïve, as three of us had a half-marathon to complete the following morning. But our time in the desert was wonderful, and just the kind of action-packed adventure that we were craving for on our epic Emirati adventure.
Love you all