There are more people who claim to know Dubai from their impressions in the transit lounge of the airport than those who finally exit it to enter this city of souks, burjs, and a lot of happening stuff found along the creek and in the surrounding sand. Generally a lot of people visit Dubai and many of them dream of spending time here that is more than a mere vacation. It was Kevin Pietersen, the cricketer, who declared his love for the city by exclaiming, ‘I love living in London but I would like to buy a place in Dubai and spend a few months of the year out there.’

So yes, Dubai is loved by those who visit the city and also by those who experience a small part of it during transit. Must I agree with Ameera Al Hakawati, as she writes in ‘Desperate in Dubai’, ‘Dubai is… after all, a lonely, transitory place. It’s hard to maintain relationships when people are always coming and going.’ I guess she must have been sitting on a lonely bench inside the transit lounge of the airport as she wrote these lines.

Dubai isn’t about closed and conservative living… it is all about reaching for the heights. No wonder that this is the city chosen by destiny to have the Burj Khalifa, a 829.8 m tall architectural wonder where visitors want to take the high speed elevator to the 124th floor to observe the creek on one side and the bustling city on the other. A night visit to the observatory deck here can help tourists get some really charming pictures of the city where the lights embrace it in a loving clasp.

Dubai is not just about bland modern architecture with straight walls. The charm of the old world can be found in Bastakia (Old Dubai) that is located along the creek and occupies the eastern portion of Bur Dubai. The coral and limestone building here have wind towers to trap the wind and funnel it into the houses. This mature and relevant architectural concept can leave anyone amazed. There are numerous mosques here that represent Islamic architecture and one of these is the Jumeirah mosque that is a near replica of the Cairo’s Al-Azhar mosque. Even the Bastakia mosque is glitzy enough for photography enthusiasts.

Dubai isn’t about just sand and heat; the Dubai creek separates the city into two towns – Deira is in the north and Bur Dubai is in the south, both giving a fascinating view of the Dhows anchored here. There is so much intrigue associated with Dhows and those who watch Bollywood movies and remember the exploits of Haji Mastaan, will know what I mean. Well, some of the dhows anchored here are over 100 years old. There is a lot of heritage only to explore, if one chooses to walk close and talk to the locals, one can explore it easily.

Dubai isn’t only about mundane market places. The well-known souks are known to rule the markets here. Imagine the thrill to walk into a Spice Souk after a stroll in the Gold Souk. The Deira Souks are lined up on a winding street on the northern bank of Dubai creek and have been evolving since the 1830s. It is great to sit and watch people shopping, or haggle and buy if you must, or just investigate the restored wooden archways and the wind towers here.

Dubai isn’t all about the modern and contemporary, there is a lot of importance to history and heritage. The Heritage and Diving Village offers a fantastic range of pearl diving and dhow building displays, both of which are a part of Dubai’s historic economic mainstays. Dubai Museum which is in the Al-Fahidi Fort has a live display of heritage. The fort was built in 1787 to defend the Dubai creek and served as a place to stay for the royalty. It has been the seat of government, garrison, and prison at different times and is now in its new avatar as a museum. Then there is the Dubai Aquarium with more than 140 species of sea creatures, and a visit to the Underwater Zoo can be quite a thrill.

Dubai thus has it all and thirsts for more. Think about a task and you’ll find the right solution here. And the final impressions will not be just impressions but a fervent wish to implore destiny to allow you to have a house here. All you really need is freedom from the hassle of looking for a hotel in Dubai that suits your particular taste. Once that is done, you are free to explore the city that tickles almost every emotion in you, leaving you thirsting for more!

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Dubai has more to offer than you can probably imagine...

Dubai has more to offer than you can probably imagine…

Dubai on the map

Dubai on the map

Dubai_map

Dubai_map

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Arvind Passey
07 August 2015