I was Princess Jasmine in search of a whole new world!
With my magic carpet carefully packed and two of my favorite people by my side, I jetted off to Dubai…not to look for Aladdin, but to find that blue Genie to grant all of my wishes! And he sure did!
Dubai was absolutely ah-mazing! The movies we’ve seen, the dreams we’ve had, the things we’ve heard about this place do it no justice. For me, Dubai is like your grandmother’s house; the house that’s so full of history and culture but simultaneously laden with diversity and modernity, fuelled by the people who occupy it: young, vibrant and thriving souls! It’s a perfect mix of old and new, with its foundation planted in growth and strength for newer generations.
This, to me, is Dubai. After getting over the culture shock brought on by the language barrier and starkly different clothing choices, the stares (possibly due to our clothing choices), bad driving and…scents (let’s just say Emirati people love curry, perfumed oils and spices…and it comes through their pores!) I’d say we settled in quite fine! The Arabic culture is one to be studied to understand. I had many questions…
But I also walked away with many gems…like these Arabic proverbs I came across and that stuck with me.
ما خفي كان أعظم
What is still hidden is more than what has happened/been revealed so far
This is just the tip of the iceberg for Dubai: Dubai is painted as such a lavish, luxurious city, and oh it is! While I loved getting dressed up and hitting fancy restaurants, gliding through 5-star hotels and shopping to my heart’s content, I got so much more pleasure from throwing on my tennis and stomping through Old Dubai. Taking a boat ride from one side of the creek to the next, riding with the people whose backs built this town; hailing cabs and having the most in depth chat even with the thickest language barrier riding with us. Sure, Dubai is known for its high end living, but for me the old school charm is what drew me in even more. Take a look at some of Dubai’s beauty!
إن سرقت، اسرق جمل، وإن عشقت، اعشق قمر
If you steal, steal a camel, and if you love, love (someone as beautiful as) the moon
If you’re going to do something, go all out: Adventures are what life is made of! Visiting the gold, spice and textiles souks gave me life! Riddled with good old Arab culture and history, I absolutely loved meandering the halls of the markets and marvelling at the beautiful and intricate fabrics and materials up for sale; sniffing in the potent but calming aromas of saffron, vanilla, cinnamon, curries, ginger, dried roses and nuts and fruits of all kinds. I purchased a good dose of Arabic culture with a few pairs of shoes and some dresses! The fashionista in me wouldn’t let them stay in the store! A day away trapped in the Dubai desert was just what I needed to reconnect with nature and my tomboy side. Dune bashing, camel rides in the desert, ATV driving, henna tattoos and fire dancers?! This is where I needed to be!
اذا كان حبيبك عسل، ماتلحسوش كله
If your friend is honey, don’t lick it all
Don’t take advantage of your friends: This trip taught me so much about love, life and friendships! I went on this journey with my sister Ivana (middle) and my good friend Karissma (right) and I couldn’t have chosen a better crew! We laughed, we debated, we cried, we made friends, we became better friends. Travelling with your friends, to me, is such an important part of building relationships because it’s during these times we get to fully display the love, support, protection, consideration and respect we have for them. Take a look at some of our most beautiful moments!
إبرة في كومة قش
You’re just a needle in a haystack
The world is much bigger than you: The world is so much bigger than you, so much bigger than me, so much bigger than us! One sure fire way to prove how small your problems are, is to travel. When you go to booming cities, it’s easy to literally get lost in the hustle and bustle of the crowd and become invisible. Moments like these make you stop and reflect on your problems that really aren’t problems. Complaining about certain things in your country seem bratty, when you realise that men and women can’t even ride in the same cabin on the metro in Dubai, or that some women must chauffeur their men on drives. No matter the differences, they exist. The onus is on us to embrace them and respect them anyway.
The mind is decoration
Your mind is what makes you beautiful: We occupy but a dot in this world and that’s more and more evident the more I travel. It’s through travel that we’ll see how each of those dots connect to make the life we all enjoy. We get so wrapped up in the things, people and places we see daily, that we forget that there are other things, people and places that could influence and change us, if we expose ourselves to them. It’s all about being open minded. On this trip I met so many new friends, ate foods from them I’ve never even heard of or seen before.
This is my absolute favorite photo from the trip!
We came across a group of Muslim women whose language we didn’t speak, but the warm stares, hearty laughs and near perfect makeup skills proved we had something in common. We didn’t wear the same clothes nor did we look alike. The fact that she decided to cover her head and I decided to bare my arms didn’t make us enemies. We were women underneath it all…just ready to get in formation and smize for the gawds![nggallery id=31]
Things You Must Do in Dubai:
- Dubai Miracle Garden
- Dubai Mall/Souk Al Bahar
- Zaroob Restaurant
- Dubai Desert
- Abu Dhabi Tour
- Gold and Spice souks
- Jumeirah Beach
- Atlantis, The Palm/Club Ndulgence
- Hindu Lane (Indian Market)
- Dubai Heritage Village