We may have mentioned (or maybe not) that we had a stopover in Dubai between our flights from Cape Town to Frankfurt. We arrived at 7.30 in the morning. Our flight to Frankfurt continued at 4 a.m. the next day.
It was clear we wouldn’t waste our time sitting at the airport.
We rented a taxi outside the airport for 500 Dirham (around 100€) – in return our driver was driving us around for a 6 hours city tour. Lame? Not if temperature is 38°C outside and you’re happy about every second you spend in a air-conditioned area.
The temperature differences were killing us. While we enjoyed moderate 18-25°C in South Africa, Dubai was like constantly pushing yourself against a wall of heat.
The temperatures and because we’re sissies were the reason why Dubai became our most touristy experience ever. Leaving the taxi, taking a picture, rushing back to the air-conditioned taxi and repeat over and over again. And in between we tried not to breathe so our lungs didn’t have to deal with the heat. Therefore we couldn’t have a closer look at most sights.
We talked to some residents who told us they’re happy with the temperatures as it was way hotter in July and August. I have no idea how people can stand living in a heat like this.
Here are some pictures during our taxi drive.
Burj Al Arab
The Palm Atlantis Hotel
Bur Dubai & Deira
Everything I wrote sounds so negative and I don’t even mean it this way. Dubai is really impressive – how many buildings they managed to build in such a short time is incredible. Despite of that, everything is clean even public toilets. Regarding this Germany can still learn a lot more from other countries.
What we liked most was the Dubai Marina area and the Souk Medinat. We had our stopover on a Friday when the original Gold Souk was closed (every Friday morning). For the afternoon we had different plans.
Desert Night Safari by Arabian Dream Tours
This is definitely the most absurd thing we’ve ever done while travelling.
For a long time we were really keen on Dune Bashing – like a really cool desert safari. Racing in the dune landscape and jumping over the desert hills. So this happened and it was so much fun. But it was over after some minutes and so was the coolest part of the weirdest evening of our live.
We booked the tour from Germany and everything went fine so far. We were told a meeting place and our taxi driver dropped us there. Like many others we were collected at the same place. That’s where the chaos began. They tried to squeeze us all in some kind of big hippie-orient-kitsch bus. Some got their money back as there wasn’t enough space for them.
At some point we started, arrived and everyone was told to get a seat in one of the jeeps. They told us to remember our driver as he was the one bringing us back to the bus. As said before, the desert safari was really short. They dropped us at a really shabby desert camp where camels, a man with a hawk on his shoulder and a guy trying to rent quads were waiting for us.
I’m telling this all to show you how weird this trip was.
The camel ride was included in the package we booked (according to the description in the internet). What they don’t tell you it’s a 10 second walk in a circle. They’re taking pictures while you sitting on top of the camel and later trying to sell it to you. If you wanted to make a longer walk with the camels, you would have to pay another 10€ extra. We actually didn’t want to but somehow decided to sit on this camel nevertheless. Jan said we’re here now so we’re doing this nonsense.
If you wanted to ride the horse you’ll have to pay extra, too.
The man with the hawk was really desperate. If you pay for it, you can carry the huge bird on your shoulder or wherever and take a picture with it. Unfortunately no one was interested. Who’s keen on having bird poo on his head? Ok, actually he’s a great photo motive with his outfit.
While many were trying to ride the quads (and generally failed), we were exploring a little bit of the surrounding. The desert is incredibly beautiful at sunset. We took a few pictures before we ‘made ourselves comfortable’ in the inner court of the camp.
Food, drinks and a show were also included in the package we booked. We were really disgusted by the seats as they were really dirty. Actually it’s cool sitting on blankets and pillows on the floor. But in contrast to the city, people in the desert aren’t really interested in hygiene. The toilets were absolutely disgusting, so was the cutlery. I barely could eat something. No one tells you how disgusting something like this really is.
A guy spinning around, a belly dancer and a fire-breather and juggler were part of the stage show – accompanied by techno-orient music. People weren’t enthusiastic about it.
In the beginning we were asking ourselves how it was possible that we would take part in something like this. With time passing it developped to being amused and ashamed of other people at the same time.
In the end of the evening everyone was trying to find his driver. And of course, there was no sign of the jeep that brought us there. When he finally came, a group of Americans were catching him before us and our driver didn’t care. It was like our faces were all looking the same for him.
So we were sitting there and waiting for half an hour somewhere in the desert. It was dark and to be honest the coolest part of this trip. We were waiting together with three British guys and two Dutch girls. We were listening to music and made jokes about how it feels like being left in the desert. It could have been worse.
Notice: It’s not so bad being left in the desert. It’s only bad if you’re left there with the wrong people.
If our flight had been at midnight, it would have been really close. So notice something more: No one cares if you’re in a hurry.
I don’t know why I’m writing this in detail. But maybe I’m still confused by this trip.
At the end we were back in the city in time and took a cab to the airport. We were dead tired, totally sweaty and were so happy by the prospect of sleeping in the plane.
In total it we had an interesting, bizarre and crazy time in Dubai. We will for sure remember that day!