02 Dec 75 396km // DUBAI // UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Probably the nicest surprise on our trip so far, has been the 20hrs we spent in Dubai. A city that wasn’t on our Wanderlist (until now) and one we used merely as a stop-over when traveling from Australia back to Europe, has shone through the false stories that Dubai is simply a fake world, and instead has blown us away.
The idea of Dubai didn’t really appeal to us. Shopping malls, big brands, fast cars and a consumerist-driven lifestyle is pretty much the opposite of what our journey stands for. We’ve sold our belongings, packed very few items into the four bags that we now call our cupboard, and are aiming to live with less, collecting memories not things. One could say we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves in Dubai.
But after our recent visit, we can safely say that there’s a lot more to Dubai than simply glitz and image (and that’s just from our quick not-even-a-full-day impression).
Granted – we’ve never seen more Lamborghinis and enhanced SUVs in our lives, and Africa’s wealthiest square mile (and our old home) Sandton’s shopping mall really can’t compare to the malls found here (especially the Dubai Mall, which is the world’s largest shopping arena), but somehow we left feeling inspired. For one, the city’s rapid growth rate is unlike any other city in the world. In the short 44 years of independence (celebrated today on December 2nd), Dubai has gone from being a dry desert to the epitome of a tourist destination, with no intention of slowing down. The structures you see will leave you gasping for the air conditioned air, each appearing more impressive than the last. Then to hold 16 world records (currently building the 17th), all within a few miles of each other, is enough to breed ambition into anyone. It’s incredible to see a state aim bigger, and higher with each new project, all whilst alluring a signature soul. As a creative, it was inspiring to see visions that had blossomed into completed pieces in such a short space of time (especially after watching this epic film on the plane right before landing).
Dubai was also the cleanest city we’ve seen thus far – so clean that you could probably eat off the floors, and with the amount of entertainment available – from the aquarium (which I have of-fish-ally added to our Wanderlist for when we return), the ski ramp and the water parks, to the desert safaris, dhow cruises, yacht charters, and the sensational architecture – for anyone wanting to experience life amplified, Dubai is definitely the place.
Thank you Lyndon, Collette, Cooper and Dubai – you will definitely see us again (for a lot longer next time, we promise).