My friend and I participated in a Czech project in Indonesia and on our way there, we had the chance to explore Dubai in one day because of the long gap between our flights.
When I first walked through the door in order to get out of our plane, an almost unbearable hotness hit me in the face. It was 7 in the morning in Dubai and the air was already so hot as I’ve never experienced in my whole life. After managing to get through all the airport stuff, we found a subway station and bought a day ticket (it was about 22 dirhams which is approximately 5 euros).
What is interesting about the Dubai subway is the fact that nobody drives it – people control it using some technologies. Also, it’s more like a tram – mostly it’s above the earth, not under. And there is a wagon only for women and children where men aren’t allowed to go. Which I find a bit weird and unfair but well, it’s their city, not mine.
Our first stop was of course Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall. But when we got out of the subway, we weren’t outside – we found ourselves in some long hall leading somewhere.
We hadn’t known this before arrival – the buildings in Dubai are connected with these corridors with air-conditioning so that people wouldn’t need to go outside and experience the hotness of the desert. We followed some other people (but not many – it was about half eight in the morning by now and Dubai seemed empty) into the Dubai Mall.
There were only some cleaners who told us that all the shops were opening at 10 A.M. But we were starving and so my friend Thomas started eating an apple while we were looking for some supermarket, hoping that it would be opened sooner. Suddenly some man came running towards us and in a really scared voice told Thomas to hide the apple as it was forbidden to eat or drink in the Dubai Mall and if someone saw him, he could pay a huge fine. Thank you, stranger!
Let me tell you one thing about the Dubai Mall. It is IMMENSE. And also confusing and everything looks the same so it’s really easy to get lost. We were wandering through it for an hour, asking some cleaners where the supermarket could be (or at least some door leading outside – we didn’t find any), when we finally found it and bought some food. But we weren’t allowed to it eat inside, so we decided to get out of the Dubai Mall and kept looking for some way out for another half an hour. No luck. This mall just didn’t want to let us out, did it? And so we went back to the corridor between the Dubai Mall and the subway, found a fire exit and finally were outside the building, on a street.
And we could finally eat!
The list of people who were on a street at that moment:
- me and Thomas, looking like hungry homeless people
- a few clerks in A SUIT (how could they not sweat, that’s still a question to me)
- blue-collar workers building or repairing some skyscrapers
I just had to take a photo of this since we were dying of hotness and this man was wearing THIS. I admire and appreciate him so much.
After eating our baguette, we were wandering across the empty streets a little bit.
Then we got bored of it because the only thing to see there were the skyscrapers and empty streets. We went back to the subway (through the fire exit, again) and set off to Palm Jumeirah.
The thing is, we only wanted to find some beach near the island where we could lay and veg out a little. We had to change from the subway to the tram and then to another tram, it took us about an hour and a half to get there. But. We didn’t get to the beach.
We got on some train, thinking it was going to the beach. Instead, it was taking us TO the Palm Jumeirah. To the island. To the end of the island.
At the end there’s this huge hotel and an aquapark. We didn’t have money nor time to go to the aquapark but we were hanging around there a little bit.
And went back.
Can you see the shadows in the background? This is how far we were from the Burj Khalifa and the city centre.
We were hungry again. And as we didn’t see any shops on the streets (like ANY – we saw only high skyscrapers which didn’t look like shops at all)… we went back to the Dubai Mall. To that supermarket. There were people this time! And also this:
In the middle of the mall. As I was saying, it’s a really big building.
This time, we also found the Dubai Fountain.
We bought food. We were told there was a Food Court where you can eat. It was even on the map. We didn’t find it. I wanted to see the old town of Dubai as well but by this time we were so exhausted because of the jet lag and because of the confusion of Dubai buildings that we just found another fire exit, ate our food in that 41° temperature and then went back to the airport.
I will be honest with you. I didn’t like Dubai very much. Here are the reasons why:
- It looks like a city of skyscrapers and ghosts. I understand why people don’t go outside that much, the temperature is horrible, but it just looks like those skyscrapers aren’t for anybody. Like they don’t serve anything. Like there are more buildings than actual people.
- It showed me what people do with money when they’ve got too much. Dubai is an example of how well you can waste your money. I think that instead of building more and more skyscrapers which all look the same, people of UAE could use their fortune in a better way.
- It was quite boring. I like the noise of people on the streets, I like small local shops and colours and diversity. Dubai was nothing like this. Maybe I was there at the wrong time, maybe I would change my mind if I went to the old town. But the modern city centre didn’t impress me at all – it’s more like it depressed me a bit.
I think it’s good for everyone to experience and see Dubai on their own, as everyone’s opinion can be different. I’m glad I went to Dubai because I could see it with my own eyes and I could break all the fantasies about perfect and amazing Dubai and create my own opinion.