V-Day in Dubai

9:30 PM reservations were set for Thiptara Restaurant at the Palace hotel on Valentine’s Day and of course, we were late. The cab driver accidentally dropped us off at the wrong hotel which meant we had to trek in heels for 6 blocks.

IMG_0167It was a special valentines dinner, spent with my lovely friends. The restaurant overlooked the Dubai Fountain. Every hour the fountain danced to sweet melodies. We also got the restaurant to wish Jess a Happy Birthday (although her birthday was over a month ago). One of the most memorable dishes I had while at dinner was the calamari. It was so good, we had to order another batch. The batter melts-in-your-mouth and the squid was fresh. The overall experience at The Palace was incredible. Later that night we went to Armani Prive and back to Jumeirah Beach Hotel 360 Bar.

Ky Tip: Dinner and clubbing in Dubai require reservations. Make sure you’re proactive about scheduling your nightlife activities.

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Where Art Thou Burj Khalifa?

We headed out to explore Dubai on foot. We soon learned Dubai is a city where everyone drives. Getting anywhere on foot is the worst mistake you can make. Our target for our first journey in Dubai was to find the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. One of the many disparities of Dubai is that in the midst of its divine architecture, there’s a lot of development going on. We walked along an unpaved path filled with cranes and construction in search of the Burj. Finally, we found what seemed like civilization along the Sheikh Zayed Road but lost sight of the Burj Khalifa.

Where was this building?

We continued walking until we heard music. “How Low Can You Go” by Ludacris was blasting from an unknown location and we followed the sweet sounds of hip hop until we were at brunch in the Al Murroj Hotel. The party was filled with drunk people, smoking shisha, and having a blast (an unusual sight to see in the broad daylight, especially in a country that emphasizes its zero tolerance for alcohol in public), so we did what anyone would do and crashed the party. IMG_9789 IMG_9794 IMG_9802 IMG_9821 IMG_9824Across the street from the brunch was the Dubai Mall. We headed towards the mall and noticed that the Burj Khalifa was right in front of us. How to get inside was still a mystery. The landscape of this city was bewildering; nothing made sense. When we thought we found the entrance to the Burj Khalifa, we were stopped by security telling us we were trespassing on private property. We decided to go to the Dubai Mall and see what we could find there. Once again, the entrance for the Dubai Mall was hard to find. We had to walk along a beautiful lake for about ten minutes before discovering a sea of people, many with selfie sticks, relaxing in front of the mall. Once inside we headed straight to the currency exchange and ATMs. We then grabbed a bite to eat and discovered that the entrance to the Burj Khalifa was actually inside the mall. Go Figure. After all that walking we were exhausted.

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Oh My Dubai

I am going to Dubai. Thank You, God.

It was great to see a familiar face as soon as I got to the airport. Not really familiar, I’d never met Mike before but after talking to him and others on our Travel Noire GroupMe chat, I was excited to know that he and his best friend Morgan would be taking the same flight as me and my best friend Myllz. We met up with a few others from our crew and were off on our 12-hour flight to Abu Dhabi.

IMG_9722 IMG_9718 IMG_9727 There was a certain curiosity about this unknown country. The flight was long. After 9-hours I needed to stretch. The one great thing about Etihad is how much they feed you; at least 3-4 times en route, and the food was delicious. I was enamored by the beauty of the skies. We flew into 3 different time zones during our flight. It’s amazing how the world works. When we arrived it was Friday morning in Abu Dhabi. The sun shone brightly in my window.

IMG_9730We walked out of the plane and I inhaled. That’s something I tend to do when I arrive at a new destination, I want to see if the air smells different (It didn’t). I proceeded to find customs and was surprised by how many men were at the airport. We were in the Middle East for sure. I was initially taken aback by the custom representatives. They were traditionally dressed in their Disdash’s. Their skin was beautifully tanned, and their smell was enticing. I didn’t make eye contact, only from afar. The rep handed back my passport, with a smirk.

Myllz and I proceeded to the parking lot where we awaited our ride with Mike and Morgan. They were also headed to Dubai and suggested that we join them. The morning sun was hot. I haven’t felt this heat in a long time. It was refreshing. We walked to the all-white range rover that would drive us to our destination. Almost everyone in Dubai and Abu Dhabi has beautiful new cars, so this was just a taste of what we would see during our week-long stay. We talked about the States and our travels around the world on our ride to Dubai, gradually stopping to take a pic if we noticed a unique structure in our view.

IMG_9738 IMG_9743 IMG_9744 IMG_9750Approaching Dubai was breathtaking. There’s no doubt when you leave the midst of Abu Dhabi and enter the land of enchanting tall, pristine and glistening structures. The driver dropped Mike and Morgan off at their hotel and Myllz and I hitched a taxi to ours. When we approached Jumeirah Emirates Towers it was surreal. The bellboys rushed to our doors to let us out and grabbed our bags. From this point on there was no touching, or holding our bags, they had it all covered. Check-in was a breeze, I paid in full to avoid any mishaps later and was greeted with a hot towel and a delicious cold beverage, accompanied by a purple lily. We went up to our room and the first thing I noticed was the view, a beautiful view of Downtown Dubai. To be honest I wanted to sleep and asked Myllz if I could take a quick nap to be rejuvenated for the rest of our day.

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