On our way back from our vacation in Denmark, August 2010, we decided to have a short stopover in Dubai as we were flying Emirates airlines and initially had to wait 8 hour in Dubai airport on the way back to Singapore. So we booked a hotel room for two nights and made this a stopover.
We didn’t really have any plans of what to do there but we decided to just go with the flow. Thomas has lived for 5 years in the middle east, in Riyadh, and he wanted to show me the desert and the red sand dunes. That’s all we had talked about beforehand. We arrived at Dubai International Airport around midnight from a flight coming from Hamburg, Germany. As a Filipino, I needed to get a Visa upon arrival and that alone took us over an hour. I have no idea why? There were not many people in line for this visit visa, but I guess it takes time to read papers, pick nose, scratch certain body parts and use a stamp. Then in the immigration, the queue was very long and another hour passed here. I was so tired and sleepy and annoyed with how slow and inefficient things worked.
Eventually we arrived at the hotel, a really nice place in the middle of the city. After breakfast the next day, we planned our trips for the day.
1st stop: Indoor skiing, at Ski Dubai in the Mall of Emirates.
This indoor ski resort was absolutely amazing. For someone like me who never experienced or touched snow before, this was a perfect moment. I loved the feeling and the excitement as soon as we entered the area. Thomas, who has been skiing all over Europe, was actually very very impressed how surprisingly well made this indoor resort was made. He said it is like “the real thing”. 5 runs down, with a fall of 60 meters and the longest run 400 meters long. Impressive!
For me, the best snow encounter I can say, even though I did not dare to ski, was making snow angles and sitting in the middle of the downhill run, outside on the terrace of a Swiss mountain cabin replica and drinking hot chocolate with whipped cream, under an electrical patio heater and watching Thomas pass by. Really awesome.
2nd stop: Evening Desert Safari trip
We had booked a desert safari trip that same day, and were picked up by the hotel, together with 4 other guests. That trip was an amazing and memorable experience that I will always remember. I loved the bumpy dune bashing experience. Driving full speed up and down the huge red sand dunes in 4×4 trucks. We passed by beduin farms, camels and lonely trees, everything surrounded by this intensive red colored sand, as the sun slowly began to go down in the horizon. It was so amazing to see. I took off my shoes, when we had a stop at the top of a dune and I went running around and made my first sand angel. A snow angel and a sand angel within the same day. Whou the sand was so hot! Very beautiful view of the sunset with the red sands around.
We continued driving in a convoy of other cars until we reached our final destination, an old clay house compound, used to be a farm. We first tried a Camel Ride, before entering the courtyard.
It was a very nice set-up inside the compound, with traditional arabic sitting under the open sky, BBQ grills hissing all around us and drinks, belly dancing and shisha after a nice dinner.
We were back at the hotel around 10 in the evening, totally exhausted but happy and thrilled after a lot of impressions in Dubai.
It is hopefully not the last trip we have to Dubai. There are so many things to do and see here, however if I can choose another time, I will try not to go in August. The heat is so intense and extreme. 45 degrees and that’s still in the shade. I was really surprised about that. But what a trip. Really fantastic!