travel

Biggest. Highest. Fastest. The United Arab Emirates

February 5, 2016
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After one memorable month of traveling, I am finally home, failing to cope with real life by submerging myself every two hours into exotic photos of palms surrounded by skyscrapers, surreally turquoise waters and jaw-droppingly amazing places that 100 years ago seemed impossible to be man made. The United Arab Emirates swiftly changed my mind regarding how powerful one determined society can be and I must admit, this one week there marked my most abundant week of moments when I found myself at a loss of words.

I’ll let you marvel first at what I have managed to encapture in my photos, and afterwards, we’ll talk more. There is a lot to be discussed, recommended and mentioned.

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view from floor 148 of Burj Khalifa

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Dubai’s water taxis

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the palm life

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Burj al Arab as seen from Madinat Souk in Jumeirah

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incomparable views

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feeling childish all over again at Dubai’s Butterfly Garden

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some of the best things I have ever smelled were in the Spice Souk

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breathtaking views from the Sheikh al Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi

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this is how happiness looks like – floor 148 of Burj Khalifa

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fancier than Jimmy Choo?

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Dubai’s Miracle Garden – a feast for your eyes

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one amazing sunset, as seen from Palm Jumeirah

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care to take a dip?

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Sheikh al Zayed Mosque

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the sun will heal every wound – Arabic Desert safari

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life in a city with 18 lanes streets can be pretty tough

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The Netherlands or Dubai Miracle Garden?

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Dubai’s skyscraping Financial District

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who’s hungry?

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surprisingly, it smelled better than I remembered

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intricate wall pattern at the Sheikh al Zayed Mosque

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stacks of adorned flats

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saw this one on Instagram so I went building hunting. totally worth it

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few things will ever be able to compare with this sunset in the Desert

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this photo makes me crave to discover Shanghai’s skyscrapers too

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*gracefully whispers ‘get out of my picture!!!’

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hypnotic, right?

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if spring doesn’t come faster, my legs will be the same colour as my sneakers

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the art of making a henna tattoo

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marking the first time I try coconut water and sugar cane fresh juice!

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camel riding to the unknown

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patterned skies

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oh, how I wish I could have taken the entire shop with me

The first thing that comes to the majority of people when they think about the Emirates it’s probably luxury. And their thought is well founded. This country promotes a careless lifestyle and environment where you are persuaded to believe that you have no reason at all to feel bad that you have just spent the salaries of ten contractless  workers on one pair of shoes and that the next day you took a helicopter ride overlooking the Atlantis Hotel. Also, if you decide to settle here, you will likely own  hire a staff of five to take care of you and you know, your penthouse, your kid, your food and basically your entire life. But the country will completely convince you that it’s OK:

‘Don’t be silly! Everybody lives like this here! Now let me recommend you the best agency with the cheapest Thai maids!’

So, this is basically the place where luxury feels at home.

Excluding this part of the mentality that I have encountered there, the Emirates have actually more and better things to show off with.

Dubai, for instance, is this truly melting pot of nationalities (more or less desperate about finding a job that pays well), the one city where you can buy Iranian figs from the shadiest street shops ever and after thirty minutes to purchase a Dior bag from one of their many humongous air-conditioned malls. Dubai is the place where there is no in-between. There are only struggling people or extremely rich families, poorly constructed typical desert houses of just two or three floors or world’s highest skyscrapers, ridiculously small back end shops with floor to ceiling Indian scarves or marble shops with only 10 products with unimaginable prices.

Regarding what you have to see in Dubai, Burj Khalifa is a must. It is an architectural stunt that will never cease to amaze and the best place to take photos of the jaw-dropping surroundings. Also, the Miracle Garden and the Butterfly one are truly amazing sight seeing spots that will leave you thinking all you saw was just a mirage. If you are a beach lover, the most beautiful one I’ve seen is the one located near Palm Jumeirah Residences 2, so you might want to try that one too.

If you love knowing you made a good deal, don’t miss the Textile Souk, the Gold Souk and the Spice one. Some of the most beautiful and exotic things I’ve ever seen can be found there. Smell the dried lemons, wrap yourself around the finest pashmina scarf, drink and then eat coconut, try on some Arabian style shoes, give the sugar cane brought from Oman a try and have fun bargaining! Bonus: hop on a water taxi to cross the Creek. The boat might look like it is from Cleopatra’s time, but that makes the experience better.

Save a day for Abu Dhabi too. The Sheikh al Zayed Mosque is a truly wander of the Middle East with its endless rows of columns, its impossibly to replicate floors adorned with dozens of flowers and its miraculously white exterior. Also, take a taxi (they’re not incredibly expensive) to explore the Ferrari World. It will rock yours.

Last one on the to-do list is a desert trip. It’s a must, really. You’ll never be happier to scream inside a 4×4 car while endless dunes are unveiling in front of you. And watching the sun set there is one moment to hold on to forever. Try out a henna tattoo, enjoy a flavoured hookah and taste all the local food you can get. And just have a good time, relax and make memories. Work tasks can wait, school homework won’t try to kill you if you do it a week later and actually, there are very few things so urgent that you won’t be able to enjoy life.

All in all, the United Arab Emirates represent a one of a kind experience that you should enjoy wholeheartedly.

If you have reached this point of this monstrously big article, I congratulate you. I hope you had a nice time while reading it :)

Laura

 

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