We took a long time to decide by which airline we would travel to India this time. I told that, no matter what airline we would travel, we would visit the transit city. My husband suggested that we would travel by UAE airline, and then we could take a tour in Dubai as well as we could meet his cousin, who was eventually staying in Dubai. I accepted his plan at once, as I also wanted to visit Dubai for a long time.
Dubai is one of the most developed state in the whole of United Arab Emirates (UAE), which comprises with seven states. Dubai is located at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula, bordering to the Gulf Sea from one side and other states from other sides. So, Dubai is a state, not a country. The whole of Dubai is a city. There is no specific place called “Dubai City”. Deira in Dubai is known as the Business District and Bur Dubai is the main residential area. Jumeirah is a popular area closed to the beach. This Jumeriah is a bit expensive suburb.
My husband gave me the responsibility to chalk out a plan for our Dubai tour. While searching the main attractions in Dubai, first of all read the history of the place. The first group of people, who came to Dubai from Abu Dhabi established as a tribe in 1833 whose main source of income was fishing. The Maktoum family led the tribe in every sphere of their lives. The tribe settled down in the banks of Dubai creek. Soon Dubai became popular among foreign traders for Sea trading. More and more foreign traders started setting down in Dubai. In 1966 Oil was discovered in Dubai, and the rulers started exporting oil, which provided a significant boost to the Dubai economy. Before joining to others states of United Arab Emirates on 2 December 1971 Dubai was an independent country. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum became the first ruler of newly formed Dubai and Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan the ruler of Abu Dhabi became the first president of UAE. Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s house was a historical place in Dubai.
|Al Dhiyafa means Hospitality|
We wanted to visit Dubai in a sightseeing tour bus instead of renting car. Though it was comfortable to visit in a car, because of freedom, but due to time constraint we prefer to visit in tour bus. I browsed internet to find a suitable tour bus service. However, I found many and I landed up in very confused state to find out the best possible option. My sis-in-law advised me to book tickets with Big bus Tour Company, as she lived in Dubai. Though I found mixed review about the tour on Internet, still we decided to go for the same, which later proved right. We didn’t face any problem throughout our tour.
|Etisalat tower and Emirates Towers|
As per plan, we departed home around 11:00 in the morning in the USA time. Our fear was to control our little one in the 16 hour long journey from San Francisco to Dubai. However, he didn’t give us any room to complain. He didn’t throw any kind of tantrum throughout the journey. One of our co-passenger even said that, she was really surprised by his coolness. Anyway, long time was taken to process our transit visa at Dubai airport. After all official work, we collect our baggage, and went to the exit. There we saw Guddu and her daughter Khushi had been waiting for us. My husband wanted to keep one of our baggage’s at the airport. Though I was not willing to do that, still I agreed with him. However, he did a very intelligent job, by keeping our largest suitcase there, which I realized later.
That was the first time after my marriage I met with my youngest sister-in-law. Within a moment she befriended me. Her little daughter was extremely eager to play with my little son, but to her disappointment at the time my son was sleeping. I felt that, we were traveling in India, when the cab hit on the road. Many Indian shops on the both sides of the road, Indian people walking everywhere made me feel like home. Dubai was truly a cosmopolitan city. We could see people from every corner of the world. Decked up with dazzling light in the night, Dubai looked like a dream place. After exchanging pleasantries all of us sat to discuss about our next day Dubai-tour at their home. I wanted to visit all the historical places in Dubai, but everybody had discouraged me to do that. As a history lover I was little bit disappointed. Anyway, I dropped the plan to visit Al Maktoum’s house and Dubai Museum. We had a hearty diner and went to bed early instead of chatting late night. We had to wake up early to start our Dubai tour on next day.
|Colorful Hukkas in Souk Medinat|
After a nice sleep we woke up early, though we still felt very tired. We were unable to overcome the hang-over of our 16 hour journey from San Francisco to Dubai. After a nice breakfast, my sweet sis-in-law took us to the starting point of Big bus tour at Burjman mall. We wanted to cover as much as possible on that day, because we had only one day in our hand. One particular feature of Dubai which I would like to mention was that the beauty of Dubai was totally man-made as nature didn’t contribute anything. Without any contribution of nature Dubai excellently beautifies the land which attracts tourists all over the world. We started our journey from Burjman Mall in a double decker bus and from there through Al Dhiyafa Road. In Arabic language Al Dhiyafa means hospitality. The road was named like that, because, maximum restaurants of Dubai were situated on the both side of the road. My little son was very excited to sit on the top of the double decker bus, because he could see everything from there. Our first stop was Jumeirah Mosque. We did a mistake by not getting down there to see the eye-catching beauty of the mosque. This mosque stood at the northern end of Jemeirah Beach Road. Actually, we thought that, we might be not allowed to enter there, as our dress-code was not according to their rule. So, we decided to go to Jumeriah Beach Park.
|Jumeriah Beach park|
However, the place was only for relaxation, and we didn’t have time to just relax there. So, after few minutes we came out from there. While we were waiting to get our tour bus, we made another mistake. The tour bus came, stopped, even the driver asked me get on the bus. At that moment, my husband told that, that was not the right bus, so I waved to the driver to leave. When the bus left, we realized that was the right bus. Again, we had to wait another twenty minutes to get the next bus. We got off at Souk Medinat Jumeriah, which was an old market place of Dubai. On our way we saw the hotels namely Burj-Al-Arab and Jumeraih bach hotel. The eye-catching Jumeriah beach hotel was in the shape of waves. That was one of the old architecture in Dubai. Souk means market. Souk Madinat Jumeirah was located along one kilometer of private beachfront to Jumeriah Beach Hotel, Burj Al Arab, and Wild Wadi Water Park. It was a surprise and delightful experience of wandering through the colorful and vibrant traditional Arabian souk, past wind towers, lantern lit hallways and narrow waterways were an example of Middle Eastern architecture. The bazaar-like atmosphere in which open fronted shops reminded me our very own New Market in Calcutta. From there we decided to walk to Hotel Burj Al Arab. The hotel was not included in the bus-route. However, I was too inclined to see that hotel. I saw the picture of the hotel, when it was first inaugurated. When I got the chance to see the hotel in my own eyes, I didn’t want to miss the chance. So, we started walking towards the hotel, but after few minutes we understood that it would take much time to reach there. Moreover, we couldn’t go inside of the hotel to see.
|Burj Al Arab|
|Atlantis on the Palm|
To pay tribute to Atlantis, the ancient Greek city, which was lost under sea, luxurious Atlantis of palm was built on the crescent of Palm Jumeirah.
|Inside Palm Jumeriah|
|Al Kazim towers, Dubai Media city|
Palm Jumeriah, a luxurious apartment complex, which was the third man-made island in the shape of a palm tree, was an epitome of architecture. However, the beauty could only be seen aerially. The short journey from the mainland to Atlantis of Palm was thrilling. The route consisted of surface road, bridge and under-sea tunnel. Another man-made island, The World, in the shape of world which was under construction, was the latest addition to the architectural excellency, which was on the way to Palm Jumeriah. It also could be seen properly aerially. From there we again boarded the bus towards Mall of the Emirates. Dubai was famous for its malls. Moreover, everything was duty free.
|Inside Mall of the Emirates|
So, the city was truly a shoppers’ paradise. One of the main attractions of this mall was the man-made snow park. While we had been starting our journey from my sis-in-law’s home, she made aware about the cold of the snow park. She even gave us many suitable winter garments, though the park usually provided the dresses to enjoy there. We had some great picture in our mind. We saw snow cover peaks, vast ski areas in the USA, and we thought that we would see something like that. However, we were actually unimpressed by the snow park. It was too small to walk around. Actually, it was our fault to imagine something vast. It was not possible to create vast snow park within a mall, but it was really splendorous small snow park. The children as well as adults could enjoy there. We wanted to go there, but at that moment my son felt sleepy, so we dropped the idea go there. After having our lunch we decided to going around the mall. It was going to four, which was our time to go to Burj Khalifa. We again got on the bus; our bus went through Dubai Media city and Dubai Internet city. Dubai Media City, part of Dubai Holding, was a tax-free zone within Dubai, United Arab Emirates. It had been become a regional hub for media organizations including news agencies, publishing, online media, advertising, production, and broadcast facilities. Dubai Internet City was an information technology park created by the government of Dubai as a free economic zone and a strategic base for companies targeting regional emerging markets. With economic freedoms many global information technology firms, such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle Corporation, as well as UAE based companies moved their regional base to the DIC. DIC is located adjacent to other industrial clusters such as Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village. We got down at Dubai Mall.
|Aquarium inside the Dubai Mall|
We went to Burj Khalifa through the mall. With traditional to ultra-modern shops dazzling inside the mall seduce anybody to shop there. A huge aquarium inside the mall could give pleasure from children to old people. To make the adventurous people happy, there was option to dive into the aquarium. Here we face a difficulty. In Dubai the main problem was to contact with others without any mobile phone. We didn’t have any mobile phone; we thought that we could call from any public telephone booth. However, in Dubai there was no such kind of facility. To call from any public telephone, one had to have some special card. Actually my husband wanted to call his sister from there, but he was unable to call her. Anyway, it was going to be our time to go to the top of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world.
|Palm Jumeriah from the top of Burj Khalifa|
The Burj Khalifa skyscraper was a world-class destination and the stately grandeur centerpiece of Downtown Dubai surpassing limits and expectations. The world's tallest building was surrounded by hotels, must-visit shopping malls. This uniquely designed centerpiece of Dubai downtown was designed through a prestigious competition among the world class designers. Ultimately, the honor was gone to the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) with Adrian Smith FAIA, RIBA, consulting design Partner.
Anyway, when we reached ‘At the top’, really I felt that I’d reach the top of the world. The whole Dubai came to our sight. I felt disappointed, because I couldn’t see the shape of Palm of Jumeriah when we went there. However, that disappointment disappeared when I saw that from the top. Man was on full spree to show his capability to build all non-comparable glorious architecture there. After some time we came back to the mall. All of us extremely tired and was feeling thirsty for a cup of coffee. We relaxed in a shop and had a cup of coffee to get back energy. My husband had been constantly thinking to call his sister, before we decided to go back to her house. There was a booth of Big Bus tour in front of the mall. My husband enquired to the lady at the booth about public phone. That generous lady gave her mobile phone to make a call. Fortunately, my hysband called her sister, because she was in fact in the same mall. Her daughter compelled her to come there, because the little girl was very eager to meet mylittle one. We spent a good time together in the mall.
|Gold Souk in Dubai Mall|
While coming back home, my sis-in-law told that, she wanted to treat us with Hyderabadi biryani. She told that the biryani was famous of a local shop. That biryani was really tasty. The feature of the biryani was that, that was cooked in small earthen bowl covered with roti (flat bread). Actually we wanted to have some authentic Dubai food, but due to lack of time we couldn’t explore that. Anyway, that was the end of our Dubai tour. Next day morning we said goodbye to them and departed for Calcutta.