Thursday, December 20, 2012 will always be a special day for Mansi. It was her first overseas trip and I think she was more excited about getting her passport stamped at immigration for the first time, than going to Dubai! We did get out passport stamped and made the flight in time to fly to Dubai – a jewel in the middle of the Arabian desert. It was three days of absolute bliss.
I have been to Dubai before, in August of 2012. (It’s already last year, isn’t it?) I had gone alone last time and had an absolutely lovely time. This time round, it was so much better with her – we explored the city like two eager-eyed tourists wanting to take in everything that the city has to offer and more.
We landed quite late on Thursday night, checked in to out Hotel in Deira and went to Bur Dubai to have some pretty awesome Zaffran chai at Filli Cafe. I loved it, and she thought it was just okay. I stuck my tongue out to her and had another one. We walked over to a 24/7 Burger King had a juicy chicken burger there. It was Mansi’s first time at Burger King, and I regaled her with tales of my Burger King haunts from NYC. 2006.
The second day saw us at Madinnat Jumeirah – a 5-star resort with an associated shopping mall and a very nice (fake) abra boat ride within the complex. We were blown away by the architecture and the fascinating sight of Burj Al Arab, which seemed to be just within arms’ reach. We grabbed a lovely lunch at this Mediterranean restaurant called Anar and came back to the hotel just in time for our Desert Safari to begin! The cabbie picked us up from the lobby at around 3.30 in the evening, and we made the 1 hour drive to the desert in awe of Dubai – the city, the roads and the way it was all planned just made us say “Wow” at every turn, much to the dismay of the Arabic couple who were sharing our truck.
We reached the desert a little after 5 in the evening, and spent the next 30 minutes trying to catch our breath and bearing as we were thrown about our seats while we bashed the sand dunes. It was the most thrilling 30 minutes of my life yet. We stopped on top of a dune just in time to see the sun set and Mansi and I had a competition to see who would click the best photographs. I won hands down and I let her believe that she did. Ok, no. That’s not true. She’s a photographer with a great eye and I can’t click a photo to save my life. It was our best sunset experience ever.
That night in the desert camp, we were exposed to some titillating belly dancing and some bad food. The entire evening was totally worth it.
The first half of the third day was spent in shopping at the Dubai Mall, and drinking some bad coffee at Kozi Koffee. We walked through the tunnel at the Dubai Aquarium and had a nice lunch at Chillis. We contemplated doing the tour of the whole aquarium and the underwater zoo, but soon gave that up as a bad idea. “We’re not kids. We are grown-up people. We need to do what grown-ups do,” I told her and convinced her to ditch the idea. We caught a cab back to our hotel and slept soundly for three hours. Like grown-up people.
That evening, we caught up with a couple of our friends – Hammad and Ammar – at the Dubai Marina Walk and we had one of the best dinners ever at Reem Al Bawadi. A mouth-watering array of Arabic food that we couldn’t do justice to. We still dream about that dinner.
On Sunday, we made our way to the airport after breakfast and spent the last few hours shopping at Duty Free stores and looking open-mouthed at the vastness of the airport. It was a brilliant end to a brilliant vacation.
Mansi is going to write a longish post about her experiences in Dubai, her first foreign trip here soon. So, I’ll sign off this update with the traditional Arabic greeting “Shukran Habibi.”
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