The opulence of Dubai was a nice contrast to some of the frustrations of Africa. We went from power outages, long, cramped bus rides, and cold, non-insulated rooms, to superb service, luxury, and decadence. Maybe it was because we stayed in our first proper hotel of the trip, and it was a JW Marriot. In Dubai. (Thanks Jon’s hotel points!) It also happens to be the tallest hotel in the world, which made our ears pop every time we rode the elevators to our room on the 57th floor. We did have to endure 115 degree temperatures, which made every jump from air-conditioned hotel to cab painful.
Hoping for a small free breakfast, we followed the many hallways and doors to the breakfast buffet, hidden from view from the fasting Muslims. To our surprise, it was an elaborate spread and we feasted like kings on several counters of Indian, Middle Eastern, European and American style breakfasts.
Finding that everything was closed, because it was both Friday (their holy day) and Ramadan, we did what all Dubaians do: we went to the mall. It was more of a spectacle than a mall: we marveled at the giant aquarium, the ice rink, the amusement park. We even grabbed a few items that we’ve been needing.
We retired to the workout room and the beautiful pool with views of the giant skyscrapers nearby. We had planned to do an Iftar, a breaking of the fast dinner feast, at our hotel. However, we wandered down a bit late and found they were only open for a few more minutes. We found out that there was a smaller feast in the complimentary executive lounge, and decided that was plenty for us.
The next day, we took in a tour at a Mosque and learned about Dubai’s history at the Dubai Musem, before taking off for Bangkok.
Dubai was like Las Vegas, without the trashy side. We were entranced and had a good time, but ready to go after two days… on to Bangkok and Southeast Asia!