Travel Log: Dubai {Part 1}

dubai travel log 2014

This past week was a Work Perk. A rare and wonderful opportunity to travel to Dubai for meetings with our local digital team. Was very lucky to squeeze in some outstanding memories of the city and build bonds with my team mates. The hospitality and kindness of my colleagues was very touching. We do so much work over email and the phone that you lose the sense of who the real person is on the other end. Trips like this are invaluable for getting to know each other, uncovering each of our rich personalities, and coming home with stories to reminisce over as time passes.

The Architecture

I was shocked with the amount of construction. The entire city is so new that it is hard to believe. And you can’t blink your eyes without seeing new construction underway. Its very rare that you get to experience the birth of such a city. It must be what if felt like when Rome or NYC were in their building booms. Everything is crisp and clean and BIG. The city has spared no expense at making everything extravagant.

dubai architecture burj al arab

Mixed in with the new you can find a touch of the old. A tour of Al Bastakiya at night gave us some flavor for the past before returning back to the ultra modern surroundings by the Westin Mina bastakiya westin mina seyahi

Well and you can’t visit Dubai without saying hello to the World’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. I confess openly to a fear of heights, so was content to snap the building from the ground. At 2716.5 feet tall it also boasts of having the highest occupied floor in the World. I am not sure I could handle it.

dubai burj khalifa

The Food

Some days it is a toss up as to which cuisine I like better – Japanese or Lebanese. Having spent my school years in Dearborn, Michigan I got my taste for hommous at an early age. Well before it became a mainstream grocery staple like now. For our team dinner our hosts took us to Abd el Wahab which has a balcony overlooking the Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Mall’s amazing fountain. The mezze was pretty darn tasty!!

lebanese meza hommos moutabbal samkeh harra

The team was divided on the anise-flavored arak drink. Personally I liked it, but had to sip it in moderation. The samkeh harra was my favorite dish of the evening. Fish and tahina sauce with walnuts and almonds – yum, yum, yum, yum, yum.

abd el wahab anise arak dubai mall fountain

The Souvenirs

I brought home a simple box of dates for my honey. There were plenty of camels, rugs and other Arabian knick-knacks to tempt us with as well. Given our time was short and limited to the hours after work, photos made the best keepsakes. The malls carry so many American and European name brands; they just weren’t very exciting. So we instead focused on the older part of town instead.

arabian slippers aladdin shoes poofs gold souk

Sadly I couldn’t find a pair of Aladdin slippers in the right color and size for my big feet. My teammate Anna was a good sport to accompany me in my lengthy search. I went back to the hotel with a blister from all our walking. We never did manage to find the gold souk. We both used different map tools on our iPhone and Android. Both maps said we were standing right there – but I can promise you we were not.

dubai bastakiya spice souk

I’ve saved the two most exciting adventures for last. I’ll post those in the coming days.

dubai sunset jumeirah palm