After hearing all the hype about Dubai from my Saudi students, I decided to bite the bullet and take a trip to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. I went during the Eid break, so naturally, it was full of tourists, but I’m under the impression, it’s probably like this all the time. Dubai is very much what I expected: expensive, extravagant, and exciting.
Overview: The United Arab Emirates is in the East of the Arabian Gulf. It was formed in 1971 by seven emirates, the Trucial States which are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, and Umm al-Qaiwain.
Capital: Abu Dhabi
Language(s) spoken: Arabic (official), English, Farsi, Urdu
Religion(s): Muslim (Islam; official) 76%, Christian 9%, other 25%
History: It was an area originally inhabited by seafaring people who took to pirating after the disintegration of the sheikdom. The British intervened in the 19th century when the piracy posed a threat to neighboring countries. After the British withdrew in 1971, the 9 Trucial states became a federation called the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Bahrain and Oman, once two of the Trucial states, did not join the federation, resulting in the 7 Trucial states today.
according to http://www.kickassfacts.com/20-facts-didnt-know-uae-dubai/
- Dubai has no address system, no zip codes, no area codes and no postal system. For a package to be sent properly, the sender would have to leave proper directions to the destination of said package.
- Dubai has no sewer system, instead they use poop trucks to haul the entire cities’ excrement away.
- The United Arab Emirates donated a laptop to every high school student in Joplin, Missouri, after the city had been devastated by a tornado.
- Ferrari owns the largest indoor theme park in Abu Dhabi. Their rollercoaster, the Rosso, is the World’s fastest, reaching 150mph in 5 seconds
- A city is currently being built in Dubai that will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology.
- Dubai is home to the world’s current tallest building, the Burj Khalifa
My favorite thing(s) about Dubai:
I felt very safe the entire time I was there. Apparently, Dubai has a 0% crime rate, and I believe it. During my stay, I never saw any problems. I also loved the aquarium inside the Dubai mall. It was absolutely amazing!
My least favorite thing(s) about Dubai:
Aside from the expenses, my only other complaint about the UAE is the touristy atmosphere. It’s kind of an unusual place where more than 80% of the population consists of expat workers. People go there primarily for vacation so the country caters to tourists and travelers. It feels almost gimmicky when you’re there surrounded by the extravagance.
What I found most surprising:
I didn’t realize the United Arab Emirates was so conservative. I was expecting to see more shenanigans in the sex and alcohol industries, but since it’s a primarily Muslim country, getting alcohol is very difficult and people highly value modesty.
Must see and do:
- See the fountains at the Dubai Mall.
- Check out the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa.
- Go on one of the many excursions offered from hot air balloon rides to desert safaris
Make sure you have plenty of money before you go. You’re going to need it!