When we first arrived in Dubai we were super tired and hungry, which was frustrating because I ate and slept on the plane which is incredibly rare for me. I even tried the egg salad salmon sandwich. Why they would make such a concoction for breakfast on an overnight flight is beyond me. But basically we landed, drove to the house, and passed out on the bed for a nap.
For some reason I do not have enough pictures from the first day to write a proper post about it, but if I remember correctly we went to the beach (which was right next to the Burj al Arab–probably my favorite building from the trip), ate some food (I think I had a mozzarella, tomato and arugula salad), had dinner at the Arabian Court (tons of hot and cold dishes to try–hummus, pita bread, grilled meat, tabbouleh, vegetables, the works), and finished with Pinkberry (passionfruit with tons of pomegranate and sliced almonds) at the Mall of the Emirates (MOE). I feel the need to write these blog posts because memory does not always remember the random details and thoughts–like I cannot remember if it was our first day or second that we went on the Palm, but for those that don’t know, the Palm is a manmade island shaped like a palm tree, filled with apartments and homes along its trunk and the fronds. The tip of the the palm is the Atlantis Resort which is incredibly nice, but I thought the coolest part was how clear the surrounding water was, as well as how white the sand was.
Our first night we stayed up ridiculously late because of jet lag, but still managed to wake up the next day for a day of tourism.
We started the day by visiting the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. The building houses offices and homes, even a hotel–but a minute long elevator ride takes you to the 124th level, which is very high, but not even to the very top! We made it just in time because there was no line until after we were finished. The observation deck experience allows for amazing views of the city, but you are also able to learn about the construction and history of Dubai as well. They had these awesome viewfinders that let you view the landscape live, but also historically. It is amazing to see everything from above, but also to imagine how the land was once entirely desert!
And there it is, a quick shot of the building from the car. It’s like a tiered cake, but a lot taller!
Below you can faintly see the World Islands, a set of manmade islands which make up the shape of the world and continents.
The Burj is connected to the Dubai Mall, another impressive space. It is the largest shopping mall with over 1,000 retailers. There are plenty of places to eat and shop, but you can also visit the aquarium or skate on the olympic sized rink.
I could not imagine trying to shop there, as it was just so darn huge, but for lunch it was perfect. We went to Ping Pong for dim sum. We had some veggie and chicken buns, duck spring rolls, dumplings with crab and veggies, and sticky rice steamed in lotus leaf. The drink menu was entirely nonalcoholic, so everyone could easily find something perfect. While a tough decision, I had a peach and lime drink with lychee and guava as well.
The Dubai Mall seriously has everything, because on our way out I spotted a Ladurée. Going to this sweets shop in Paris was seriously the highlight of my time there, but I promised myself I would not go to the one in NY because if it is not Paris it is not the real deal. Well, they must have psychology experiments about this, because once I saw it, I had to have it. The macaroons are that good! I do not remember all the flavors exactly, but I believe I had a pistachio, rose, and chocolate macaroon for sure, and there was also one with marshmallow filling in the center.
Then we drove around a bit, saw the campus of my friend’s old high school which was lovely. We also saw plenty of mosques around, some grander than others–the picture below is of one in the process of being built. At specific times of the day you are most likely going to hear calls for prayer. Even though Dubai can be seen as westernized, eastern traditions are ever present in the culture.
And then we spent sunset on the beach, it was quite lovely. We arrived just in time, and there was barely anyone on the beach. A great moment of peace with the mosques calling for prayer in the background.
And to end the night we had dinner at Nobu at the Atlantis resort. We had all different types of sushi, spicy tuna and crispy rice, pumpkin chips with foie gras, black miso cod, rock shrimp tempura as well as cheesecake and chocolate fondant cake for dessert. Nobu himself was seated at the table next to us and he came over and shook all of our hands! It was certainly a treat, and I am very thankful I was able to have such a great meal with great company.