Better late than never, right?

I’ve been trying my best to get my thoughts out regarding our epic trip to Dubai.  Alas, life and laziness have gotten in the way.  But fear not, gracious reader!  I’m going to try and post each day for the next week in the hopes of getting everything out.  So without further ado…

Travel Box Adventures in Dubai!! (Part 1)

I want to start briefly with some background information about Dubai.  Dubai is an Emirate in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE.  It has the largest population in the UAE, due to the fact that as a trade and business metropolis most of the folks who live there (83%) are expatriates.  The official religion is Islam.  Dubai is also the first location Meka and I pulled out of our wedding travel box, so we were very excited to have the opportunity to visit it.

20131228 Rod at airport

We were fortunate enough to fly Emirates directly to Dubai from Seattle.  At fourteen hours (and then some) this was the longest flight either of us had been on.  I didn’t sleep much on the plane, but I spent a lot of time catching up on the films I missed last year.  Emirates has a touch screen tablet in every seat with hundreds of movies, albums, and TV shows.  So I kept myself busy watching The Wolverine, Man of Steel, and Star Trek: Into Darkness.  I think Meka got more sleep than me, but I know she went HAM on Portlandia.  There were so many great choices that I had to plan out what to watch so I didn’t get caught mid-movie when the plane landed.  The struggle was real!  I’m very glad we didn’t have any layovers, as I was pretty exhausted by the time we landed, found a cab, and got to the hotel.

20131229 hotel bed

Before we left, I found a great map on the Dubai Tourism website.  Since Dubai is to tourism what rain is to Seattle, there’s tons of online resources for the prospective traveler including a great calendar of events.  Our main interest this trip was seeing the fireworks display at the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), so we headed to the Dubai Mall on New Year’s Eve and spent the day enjoying “The world’s most-visited shopping and leisure destination (suck it, Vegas!).  This mall is huge!  It has over 12 million square feet of retail space, plus an aquarium, an amusement park, and an ice skating rink.  Additionally, it has every designer store you can think of plus over a thousand other stores you might never have seen before.  Also, there’s an indoor waterfall:

2013-12-31 Dubai Mall waterfall

We wandered around for hours until our feet hurt, then grabbed some snacks at the Tim Hortons so we could grab a spot at the base of the Burj Khalifa to watch the fireworks.  There’s not much I can say with words, other than that the New Year’s display was amazing!! Dubai doesn’t do anything small.  At nightfall, the fountains outside of the mall performed musical routines every hour.  They were more impressive than the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and each hour the performance and song was different.  I was surprised that one of the songs was Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and even more surprised that the entire crowd knew the words and sang along.  At ten seconds to midnight we all counted down.  As we approached zero, the enormous tower rumbled with energy, then exploded with light!

At the end of the show, we filed out back through the mall with everyone else.  Amazingly, the mall stayed open until 2am, and from inside it looked the same as it did in the middle of the day.  After such a full day Meka and I were exhausted, and rather than spend the rest of the night shopping we headed back to the king-sized refuge within our hotel room.

More to come tomorrow soon!

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