Thursday, November 4, 2010

Trip to Dubai

(Excuse any typos or weird punctuation. I wrote this on my iphone with limited screen access & my phone is adding apostrophes to words out of no where)

So on Halloween I get notified that my Residency Visa was granted!!! That day I was handed back my driver's license that I did not have possession of for 2.5 months. So two things happened on Halloween.
With my drivers license given to me' along with an insurance paper, that meant I was now allowed to drive. BUT, bc my residency Visa came in, I could no longer drive until I get my permanent Kuwaiti
drivers License. So remember my nervousness about driving out here? Well, guess I wont be driving anytime soon lol bc Kuwait has stopped issuing drivers licenses. How interesting lol. I was told that it is rare for a person to get their Insurance/DL back AND their Visa 18 on the same day... I actually said "hmmm... God is this you?"

Anyway, getting my residency Visa also meant I get my passport back too!
So when I got off Monday morning I made all the calls necessary to track down who had my passport & try to get it before end of day. Sure enough, arrangements
Were made and I would be getting my passport early evening on Monday
Nov. 1 so I did what anyone stuck in Kuwait with the next 3 days of work off would do- booked a spontaneous trip to Dubai. Bought the tickets, booked the hotel on the beach (all through Kayak's iPhone app), and was en route to Dubai by 10pm Monday.

The hotel I was at is called Amwaj Rotana, right on Jumeirah Beach. The hotel was not cheap and it had direct beach access.

Dubai was like going back home to the states! It was so liberating! It reminded me' of Downtown Los Angeles with all those towers & skyrisers. It has such a metro feel including a brand new Metro train system that is fantastic, convenient, clean, and inexpensive.

There are so many European tourists there and lots more that are Russian.
People were not dressed as fashionable as I expected. They were mostly dressed for the beach- but then again I only stayed in Beach areas.

I went to The Mall of the Emirates- the one with the indoor ski slope. What I like about Dubai, aside from being cleaner than Kuwait, is that although they carry Western clothing, they still embrace their own culture. There were many stores that sold luxurious clothing that Muslim or conservative Arab women would wear. I really appreciated that. In Kuwait, the malls are almost identical to the American ones, hardly anything Arab with the exception of Arab perfume shops.

There was alcohol and women who wore shorts, skimpy dresses, and short skirts. Not as many veiled women. There is so much more of Dubai to see but I was only there for 2 days. I'm fortunate that I have a job in a location that makes Dubai my weekend getaway destination once a month if I want. A roundtrip ticket for 1 only cost me' $156 through Kuwait Airways. I actually like this airline. They have very friendly flight attendants & there was actually a prayer before every take off, but what sold me' was that they gave us HOT bread rolls on the flight with our dinners. In fact, since it was only an hour flight I didn't even think they would feed us but they did! Even on our way back, which was a mere 45 minutes, they fed us.

Next time I go I want to venture into the city, visit the souks, go on a dinner cruise on the Creek, go to a nightclub, have dinner at the Atlantis underwater Aquarium Reataurant, have fun at Atlantis' Aquaventure Waterpark, go on a seaplane ride, and stay at a cheaper hotel since now I know how to get to the beach.

Getting around Dubai is a breeze bc of the Metro. There are plenty of maps provided to help you get around Dubai.

Dubai was MADE for tourism. Plain & simple. You feel enveloped in luxury. Even the cab drivers wear neck ties & properly use the meter. In Kuwait, you have to bargain the price as they illegally state their meter is broken, their cars are mostly dirty & tore up- and worst yet, the inside smells like the driver has been flatullating all day! Lol!

And let's talk about food for a second- SO MANY FOOD CHOICES! Just like Kuwait. But I was sad when I found that "Thai" restaurants don't have Thai Iced tea :-(

The currency is the Dirhams. $1 = 3.65 Dhs.

When I got to the airport, I didn't have a clue about the current exchange rate. In Kuwait the Dinar is 3.54 more than the dollar, so I figured the currency would be more than the dollar too. I took out 100Dhs and hopped in a cab to take me to the hotel. It cost me 73Dhs! I began to freak out bc even though I soon learned the dollar was more, seeing the large numbers had me freaked! In Kuwait the numbers are low- for example, it cost me 7KD to get from my apartment to the airport in Kuwait. But it cost 73Dhs! So when I started seeing things in Dubai priced at 200 or 300dhs I was sweating a little. I kept having to take out money from the ATM so for that matter, Dubai sucks you dry lol. Money GOES FAST.
But like I said, I'm thankful for my job. Even though I work crazy hours, it paid for my trip & experience and so long as I still have this job, I will be able to go back to Dubai AND other countries as well. Another trip to Dubai PLUS Abu Dahbi is next on my list.

I used to see Dubai as this far away land of luxury. I always wanted to go but never thought it would happen. But it did!

I loved it!

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