The Expat Experience

Dubai Stole our Hearts

When we landed at DXB on Friday evening, it felt as though we’d taken a 50 minute flight around the skies simply to end up back in Qatar. The similarities between the two GCC countries are of course many, so I wondered if we’d made a mistake in deciding our vacation spot.

We stayed at The Metropolitan Hotel which opened about 4 weeks ago (it’s been around since 1979 but this is their new build). Some of the floors and rooms were still being fixed so there were always staff members around but we didn’t mind; we were rarely there!

Anyhoo, you might remember me writing something along the lines of: I won’t have half term hols for a while now because I’ve had a week off for Eid but I prefer it this way.

Errm, hello? Why did no-one laugh in my face and snap me back to reality? That was holiday-mode-Zoya talking, the one high on tubs of Nutella and back to back episodes of New Girl. In reality, the 14 week term nearly killed me. I am still recovering from a fever as I pen this.

I was frazzled when we flew to Dubai but being in the centre of the buzzing city re-energised me! Usually I’m the one complaining of sore legs and thirst; in Dubai it was my better (and more melodramatic) half who was constantly worn out.

Day 1 Saturday afternoon

After breakfast, we went on an impromptu trip to Meena Bazaar. We were nearby anyway so we thought we’d get the gifts over and done with.

My god! There was me expecting it to be like Souq Waqif (or at least Tommyfield) where I can browse at my own leisurely pace without being pestered. It turned out to be the exact opposite. Lined up outside the shops were young salesmen and each one’s mission was to persuade us to buy from their shops. At one point, we were waiting to cross the road and spotted about 6 or 7 salesmen lining up one by one like these friendly fellas below, just waiting for us to cross and descend into a migraine whirlpool.

The most hilarious part of it all was the fact that the salesmen couldn’t place my ethnicity (a fun, recurring event that has amused us endlessly on our travels), and therefore they couldn’t figure out what would persuade me. One would ask: Ma’am you want abaya? Dresses? While the next would try something else – Suits? Sarees? Until finally my blank face forced them to offer generic items- purses, sunglasses, watches? We have it all ma’am…ma’am….ma’am… 

Sorry, I almost slipped into a trance there.

I deliberately remained aloof to it all, letting Hubby do all the talking which led to…

The highlight of the day: A shopkeeper saying Lagta hai Madam ko urdu nahi aati?
Bahaha that’s what I have you believe. Little do you know I’m a master of disguise:



Later that night…

We were excited to see the water show, but we hadn’t anticipated catching the changing colours on the Burj. What a surprise! I loved every single moment of our time spent here.

Day 2 Sunday 

The next day we went on a desert safari which involved dune bashing (didn’t like that too much, made me feel sick) and a camp in the evening where we had dinner and watched some performances. We shared the experience with two other guests (originally from the UK) and they made the whole outing much more enjoyable than if it had just been myself and Hubby. By the end of the night the three of them were really looking the part having donned full Arab attire. It’s a shame we were flying out so soon as it would’ve been nice to spend more time together.

Anyway, on a side note- never in my entire life has there been a December where my toes have been happier. This year, instead of donning double or triple pairs of fuzzy socks, I walked on grass, on desert sand, on the beach, in the sea – gone are the days when I battled with death every winter (alhamdullilah). If nothing else, this is reason enough to remain here for as long as my vitamin D deprived bones wish to.

Highlight of the day: When Hubby tripped over my bag, landed right on it and BURST all three bottles of water. The contents of my handbag were swimming in water. Well done mate.

Day 3 Monday

On our last full day, we wanted to visit Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi but the tour wasn’t on that day. So we visited Atlantis instead and I’m soooo glad we did!

I love, love, love Atlantis which has a theme park full of water rides – my favourite words! There was also the Lost Chambers aquarium which we visited before closing time and Jumeirah beach where we hung out to try and rest after a crazy day of fun. Let’s just say I’m no longer upset at having missed the chance to go Blackpool last summer.

Highlight of the day: When Hubby deliberately tipped our float under a waterfall so we resembled two cats being strangled in a bathtub.
*5 mins down the ride*.
Hubby: I’ve lost my sunglasses
Me: When?
Hubby: Just now, when we fell in the water I think.
Me: You had your sunglasses on this whole time? (Had I noticed earlier I would’ve laughed at him, but there was still time for that…)
Hubby: Yeah
Me: On a water ride?
Hubby: Yeah
Me: You didn’t put them in the locker?
Hubby: No, why?
Me: Oh, just asking.
Hubby: Do you think I’ll find them?
Me: Sure…

Last day and checking out

Hubby told me checkout was at 2pm. It sounded odd because checkout is never at two but I was too exhausted to question it… At 12.30 I realised checkout was at 12. Luckily we had packed the night before. The only downside to this was that our flight wasn’t until later, and then our flight was delayed as well! We spent most of the day at the airport, with dead phones. Fun times.

We’re already busy planning a return trip to conquer all the things we missed out! I feel extremely blessed to have ended 2016 on such a positive experience – it makes a nice change to all the previous years …

7 thoughts on “Dubai Stole our Hearts”

  1. Aww that sounds lovely (NOT the 14 week term!!) The burj looks neat… I never catch that sucker when it is lit 😒 it is one of the darkest (& hardest to photograph) buildings I’ve ever seen. It’s like come on Dubai fork out for a light bulb or two 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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