Sunday, October 16, 2011

First Trip to the Middle East

Last month, my boyfriend Dom and I took an incredible trip to the Middle East. We spent 3 nights in Abu Dhabi followed by 5 nights in Dubai. I loved this trip. I didn’t really know what to expect but the sun and service alone made me happy. 

Overall impressions –

Dubai: Think Las Vegas…insane heat, middle of the desert, hotels built for the wow factor, lots of food and nightclubs. Now replace show-girl costumes with traditional Muslim dress (all black for women, all white for men). Remove the drinking and gambling. Add the biggest malls you can imagine. Be sure you’re dressed conservatively enough so that you don't get stared at...and there you have it.

Abu Dhabi: Same as above but about five years behind so it’s much smaller, much more conservative, and much more construction.

Everything is luxury, over-the-top, out of this world….the buildings, the hotels, the malls, the buffets, the shopping, the service. Even our hotel bathroom! It was filled with plush Bulgari.

The world’s tallest building with over 200 stories, the Burj Khalifa, can be found in Dubai. The view from the observation deck at the top? Desert & construction. 


Just like Vegas, each hotel is grander than the next. 

The Palace of the Emirates

The Atlantis hotel sits at the edge of the man-made palm tree island

Chihuly tower inside the Atlantis lobby

The Burj Al Arab, the only 7 star hotel in the world

We spent a day at the Wild Wadi Waterpark. Interesting to see women covered from head to toe in what is basically a waterproof Burka. Here’s an ad for a special women’s day at the park.  I wore my bikini anyway, this skin needed some sun.

Aquariums are all the rage. They were everywhere. Here, Dom is engaging in a little shark chat with a local. (Well that’s what I was going for anyway)

And, finally, the most surprising part of the trip for me….the abundance of American chain restaurants. Who would have thought they’d love American fare so much in the Middle East? There were plenty of national chains around  like Caribou Coffee, Fudruckers, Coldstone Creamery, Ponderosa (does that even exist anymore?), and even some Chicago local specialties like Potbelly’s & Garrett’s Popcorn. Why? I really have no idea.  I had fun introducing Dom to some of America’s favorite restaurants but I’m still working off the extra pounds!

Burger, Milkshake & 10 sauces? Dom was in  heaven at Fudruckers

1 comment:

  1. Dubai is a place I thought I'd like to visit---all the gliltz and glamour. And yes, Ponderosa still exists in my hometown, Newport, Ky.
    Love Ya,


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