Monday, August 4, 2014

My Dubai Diary

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As typhoon Matmo approached Taiwan, I was sitting in a window seat on Emirates flight 367 on the runway, looking out the window at the torrential downpour and swirling winds. Look, I'm not scared of flying at all, but I'm not gonna lie, that deranged weather did get me saying little prayers over and over in my head until we were "safely" thousands of feet up in the sky.

I arrived in Dubai early the next morning, with my welcoming party (my mom, sister and friend) sleepily faking enthusiasm about greeting me at the airport at the ungodly hour of 4am. (Hey, I did offer to take a taxi but they wouldn't have it!) My sister, a flight attendant for Emirates, lives in Dubai and had encouraged me to make an impromptu trip to the desert to visit while my mom was also there on holiday. (Unfortunately, my dad had just returned to South Africa a few days earlier, so I didn't get to see him.) 

It didn't take much to persuade me to make the 8.5-hour journey from my home in Taiwan to the United Arab Emirates, even though this was my fourth trip to Dubai. We always end up having the best time catching up, shopping, eating and just relaxing by the pool, and I had a week off work anyway.

Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

Skyscrapers on Sheikh Zayed Road

My mom had three days left in Dubai before she also had to return to South Africa, so we made sure to spend as much quality time together as possible. Just like me, my mom is a summer person, and we were two of the handful of sun-seekers brave enough to lay out by the pool in Dubai's not-so-forgiving 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit for you American folk). We also went to the beach, which was basically deserted with mirages on the horizon, scorching sand and steam rising from the ocean (okay, that's an exaggeration but you catch my drift.) We managed to stay there for about 45 minutes before we HAD TO leave. (You know, before turning into bacon... which is illegal in Dubai, especially during Ramadan!)

Seconds before I burst into flame.

We made a day-trip to Aquaventure Waterpark at Atlantis - The Palm. Many of the Dubai population (who doesn't celebrate Ramadan) had the same idea of escaping the sweltering heat, and we spent the day in our swim gear, going on the fun rides and trying to cool off in the unfortunately not-so-cold swimming pool.

Atlantis, The Palm

Aquaventure Waterpark

A few trips to The Dubai Mall (the world's largest shopping mall) were inevitable in my family of shopaholics. I always enjoy going there, not just because of my shop-till-you-drop tendencies, but also to people-watch, eat, see the famous fountain show, visit the majestic indoor aquarium and just to walk around and look at everything. (In Dubai, everything is shiny and gold and over-the-top, quite the opposite of what I'm used to seeing during my everyday life in Taipei.)

The Dubai Fountain show during the day

The Dubai Aquarium inside The Dubai Mall
I also got to spend some quality time with one of my brothers and my sister-in-law, also flight attendants for Emirates and also living in Dubai. I got to experience their insane schedules of getting up at midnight for flights, being away for 2 days, having time off for 3 days before their next flights, going on turnaround flights etc. I don't know how they do it, they have absolutely no idea of what day it is (they only know the dates), they sleep and eat at weird hours and they basically live a life of always having jet lag. Personally, I won't be able to do it, as I thrive on a schedule and routine. Hats off to them, as they seem to have this unconventional lifestyle down to a tee. And I don't feel too bad for them, the company takes really good care of their employees, if you know what I'm sayin'.

Three days after I arrived in Dubai, we all headed to the airport again to bid adieu to my mom. I always hate saying goodbye to her, as I'm never truly sure when I'll see her again. (I live in Taiwan and my parents live in South Africa.) A few tears were shed and I tried to console myself with the thought of how happy she's going to be to see her dogs at home again. (By this time, out of spite, they had ruined her garden and eaten most of her throw pillows... How dare she leave us for so long!? We'll show her!).

Over the next few days I spent time with my sister, brother, sister-in-law and one of my really good friends, whom also lives and works in Dubai. We drove all over the city, visiting some touristy spots like the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab and a souk. (You can see some snaps on my Instagram).

Shoes galore at the souk.

Things you don't need, but want, from the souk.

Shisha, anyone?

After a week in spectacular Dubai, I had to say goodbye to the fam and head back to my life in Taipei. Which wasn't too bad, as by that time I had a camera full of awesome photos, a tan that would make George Hamilton jealous, and a heart full of happy memories with my family. Also, I couldn't wait to get back to The Husband, whom I had shamefully abandoned during one of his busiest weeks at work, to go on a fun-filled trip to Dubai without him. Don't worry, he immediately forgave me after I gave him his prezzies, and we do have another great trip together coming up in a few days.

وداعا، والأصدقاء


  1. O I enjoyed this blog so very much, thank you for sharing, love you, pretty, Lysie. Thanks for all your love. Such a pity Its winter in South Africa, would have loved to show off my Dubai tan.

    1. Dankie, Mamma! Mis julle almal al klaar so baie <3

  2. Liesl, this looks like such a great trip! Dubai looks so beautiful and sounds like it is filled with great places to visit! It's definitely on my list... along with pretty much everywhere in the world. ;) So nice that you got to see your family again too. I have to smile because on of my best and longest friends is in SA right now visiting her boyfriend. :) XO-Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

    1. Dubai is really such an interesting place to visit, with plenty of things to do and see! I'd definitely recommend it for a vacation. Thanks for your comment and have a great week, Alexandra! :-)

  3. 40 degrees? And I thought it's already scorching hot here in Taipei :) Thank you for this wonderful post! Family vacations are always on my top priority too :)

    1. It's a different kind of hot over there, I tell you! But, it's also much drier than Taipei, so that makes it a little better for me. Have a great summer, and thanks for your comment! :-)

  4. Thanks admin for sharing informative article on UAE Public Holidays 2015. It is one of the top travelers destination that draw travelers from all over the world. Keep on updating your blog with such awesome information.



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