Dubai. Trip number two of our #12months12trips challenge. I was returning to Dubai after twenty years, after having spent a year there, way back when I was in 7th grade. And boy have things changed. I’ve been wondering how to write this blogpost, what I was going to say about a place that really left us with several mixed feelings about travel, life and where we are heading as a race.
Dubai was a confusing place for us. The opulence, the extravagance, the sheer outrageousness of it was everywhere. Huge sky scrapers, malls that never end, indoor diving tanks where you don’t know if you are watching the fish or the people outside are watching you. Dubai leaves you with strange feelings. Consumerism at this level was to us, to be quite honest, quite off putting. Nothing felt real and everything seemed forced. So many questions popped up in my head. Where do they get their water from ? Is this lifestyle sustainable ? What is the situation of the workers building all this ? A little google search showed up some rather depressing stats.
And then on day two, we went to ‘Old Dubai’. A Dubai stuck in time. A Dubai closer to the one I remember. Where buildings looked like buildings and not glass trophies, where people laughed and smiled and spoke to you genuinely and with warmth. Where your conversation with people was not restricted to someone selling you something. It was messy, it was dusty, it was honest. And the day we spent there in the heat was probably way more memorable to us than all the time we spent in the various malls or attractions of Dubai. Walking through the spice market, taking the 1 Dirham ferry ride across the creek, or just walking through the brown, unattractive but totally alive streets of Dubai was probably it’s redeeming factor.
One thing I have to say about Dubai though – it’s amazingly child friendly ! We took the metro everywhere and it was so easy to not only navigate the metro but to do it with a pram. There are a million things for children to do, food is easy to find, the beach is incredible and the facilities everywhere are top notch. Our happiest memories of Dubai are actually of Kabir. He loved exploring Dubai with us. He loved taking the ferry. He loved running around at JBR. And we loved watching him do it all. A must do if you visit Dubai with small children is to go to JBR. Lines of restaurants, a beach to relax on and an inflatable water park in the ocean. What more could you ask for.
Another thing we take back with us from this trip is the memory of meeting old friends. Some of them we met after almost 7 years. And meeting old friends is something that always adds that extra bit of magic to a place. We laughed, we dined and made many more memories to last us until next time.
Dubai spoke volumes about how we are all living our life. With an overpowering sense of consumerism and without any consideration for this earth and its resources. It made me question my lifestyle, whether we are doing anything in our personal capacity to reduce our carbon footprint and whether travelling to places like this only fuels this lifestyle even further. I haven’t come any closer to finding answers but I’m trying. And I hope to find them someday.