After living in Doha for almost two years, I finally made it to Dubai two weeks ago. Dubai isn’t a place you probably want to go to by yourself for the first time, so I had been waiting to go when friends were. I also didn’t have a great urge to go as I have heard it isn’t much different from Doha. Well except that there is more to do, but it is basically more of the same.
Since I went with a friend who used to live there, I let her do all the planning and just went along for whatever she suggested. This is not my usual travel style, but this was also a get out of Doha trip not so much a sightseeing trip. It was also a short weekend getaway. I did enjoy my time in Dubai, but I won’t be applying for jobs there any time soon!
The first day, we went to Dubai Mall. Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall (by square footage). My feet hurt enough after to attest to it. They have a lot of stores and restaurants that we don’t have in Doha, which is why many people go to Dubai just to shop. The biggest highlight for me was the bookstore, Kinokuniya. We don’t have many good bookstores in Qatar and not any that are large! This place was huge. Even bigger than a Barnes and Noble and the selection was better. They had all the classics. I picked up three books including A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe. Outside the mall is the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. I couldn’t get the whole building in the photo above. Just below the Burj is the fountains, which put on a show every hour. We didn’t stick around as it was getting crowded in the mall and it is best to see them at night. The mall also has an indoor aquarium! It has sharks, rays and lots of odd-looking fish I didn’t recognize. I could have stood there for hours watching them swim by.
My friend kept talking about going to the Irish Village. I wasn’t sure what to expect, except that it was a bar. It was like going to Dublin in Dubai. You didn’t know you were in the Middle East at all, which was nice for a change. You can sit outside and drink beer and eat pork. There were also some lovely trees. Yes, I have been here a long time when I talk about the beauty of trees. It was almost too hot when we went, so I am sure the next time I go, I will be sitting inside.
The other highlight of the trip for me was going to The Music Room. We have limited live music in Doha and this was a great place to catch some local UAE bands. They were all covering British artists, which is some of my favorite stuff. The quality of the bands was also great and a real treat for me. I will say the service was not great as all the tables had been reserved and they wouldn’t let us sit even though no one was there. We finally had to get a manager involved. The reserve table people didn’t show up until almost 11 and there was plenty of space. So my advice would be to book a table. Otherwise, it was a nice venue and with good music.
Hopefully the next trip to Dubai will involve some actual sightseeing!