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A pimped out sandpit

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Thursday, 5 March 2015 | Views [208]

Stifling heat, sandstorms, Sky high glistening towers and handmade buffalo mozzarella. As long as you don't get sand on your cheese, Dubai will take your breath away from the moment you arrive at the International airport.

Giant pillars and vast ceilings, waterfalls and men in white robes welcome you to this extravagant city, filled both with extreme wealth and hidden poverty.

Resting in a window sill of the world's tallest hotel is a reminder of just how lucky I am.

Outside my window, in the distance, Mansions line the stretch of land along the ocean front but are mostly consealed by large fort - like walls. Glimpses can be caught when driving past the sometimes opened gates, revealing giant manicured lawns and water features leading up to impressive palaces that contrast the smaller clay style buildings on the other side of the busy road. The Burj Khalifa casts a long slim shadow over part of the city, reflecting sun from its top 164th floor.

Lunch is a short stroll away so, in the mild March weather I brave the short walk. Palak Paneer, dal makhani, Chur Chur parantha (a layered wholemeal spiced bread similar to naan) and papad (papadom). Spices, herbs and butter are not lacking and the view of the Burj Khalifa makes it taste even better somehow. Moti Mahal in business bay is well worth a visit if you are on a budget or fancy yourself as a but of a curry muncher - like me.

Eataly, in the Dubai Mall, has some of the best mozzarella I've tasted and hummus lovers will find their niche in Wafi Gourmet. Here you can feast on light, creamy and perfectly sour chickpea sensation with a continuous flow of warm bread, while watching the half hourly water fountain display from 6pm.

Arabian adventures is a large tour company that will take you into the desert for an evening of dune bashing (driving erratically over the sand dunes with deflated tyres), sand eating (when it's windy, sand goes everywhere!) and feasting on Middle eastern delicacies. A touch camel riding is also in there but the best part for me was the star gazing. Lights are turned of - though no where near long enough, and thousands of stars became visible, twinkling and shining brighter and brighter. Shooting stars pass overhead many times and gasps from the crowd reiterate the sheer beauty of the night sky. For a more exclusive trip and real camel rides, http://platinum-heritage.com are the creme de la creme of desert safari providers. 

Dubai is a city built by immigrants looking for better lives for their families. In the mornings, hundreds of rickety busses enter the city, they are filled with men in blue or grey overalls being taken to their current allocated work site. While I'm sure money is made somewhere..... these men work tirelessly throughout the year, building some of the most impressive buildings in the world. Window cleaners risk their lives to clean the tallest building on the planet and we (visitors) enjoy these luxuries with ease. 

As magnificent as this city is, there are many many conspiracies and I can only thank my lucky stars that I live in the heavenly country of the long white cloud that is New Zealand.

Tags: camel riding, curry, desert, dubai, hummus, luxury, mozzarella, safari


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