Alright, alright, so Aladdin didn't pick us up on his magic carpet and fly us through the stars to Dubai, but it felt pretty damn close. Asking for window seats as we collected our boarding passes scored Hannah and I complimentary upgrades to business class and I like to think of myself as a classy lady, but this was completely out of my norm. We climbed on board to see our extra large seats that reclined flat into beds and had massage settings too! We were even more ecstatic when we learned we had endless mojitos, champagne, and glasses of wine to compliment the delicious dinner and breakfast that was served on this fifteen hour flight! After watching a couple a movies and getting a good night's rest, we arrived to the immaculate city of Dubai. The city truly sparkles and all its inhabitants create the diverse culture of people from literally all over the world. Everything in Dubai is so shiny, fresh, and clean...and holds some of the tallest buildings in the world, each skyscraper mirroring the next and reflecting the city lights. We stayed with our newest and dearest friend, Joe, who we met on the couch surfing network. Not only did he open up his home for us, but he made our twenty hour layover as fulfilled as you could possibly imagine. We drank cocktails before he took us out on the town that beautiful Friday night. The temperatures outside were perfect as we walked through the streets and he pointed out all the skyscrapers. After a rooftop view of the buildings along the beach, we went out to one of his favorite clubs, where you find all the beautiful people of the world. There was sexual energy emanating throughout the city, with every woman in high heels, glamorous jewelry, and skin-tight dresses, and every man dressed to impress...some with hopes to meet a new friend, if you know what I mean. I'm actually surprised the bouncers at the door even let me through with my frizzy curls, Tiva flip flops, and the ratty t-shirt I had been wearing for about 24 hours. The three of us entered this multi level bar to pay ten dollars for single coronas and drank them in the sand. There was a dj performing electronic music, large cushioned floor seating for people to sit at and smoke hookah as they enjoyed the company of their friends. We met locals, people from India, Austria, Spain, America, and other places too and Joe was the best host and perfect gentlemen, looking out for us ladies and making sure any of the other men weren't making us feel uncomfortable. We all exchanged stories of travel and where/how we grew up.
The next morning, not feeling too jet lagged, we ate a delicious breakfast that Joe cooked before he took us out through the city again. We caught the metro to the downtown district, walked through a mall where we found many essences of home, such as the cheesecake factory, chilli's, the gap, and so on. We gazed at the sharks, fish, and stingrays that swam through the largest aquarium in the world. All of this was our journey towards the Bhurj Kalifa, the tallest building in the world, and a tourist focal point in Dubai. It was dizzying to look at and amazed me of the brilliance and architecture that humans create.
From there, we caught a taxi to old town to wind through the ancient streets filled with people selling fabrics, spices, rugs, and tapestries. We walked through an Indian neighborhood that took me right back to my home, my soul's home, that is...India. The smells permeated my nostrils and my heart filled with joy, making me antsy to make it back there in the next few months. Much of the old city was just like the streets in the Disney movie, Aladdin. I was waiting for him and his monkey to turn the corner at any moment and sweep us away on his magic carpet. We took a ferry across the creek, drank delicious fruit smoothies, and said our goodbyes. It was time to move our next destination, Nairobi, Kenya.
My time in Dubai was certainly short, but definitely sweet. It was the perfect start to this grand adventure and I was thrilled to have such wonderful friends (new and old) by my side. I'm only a couple days into this and already feeling like I could do this forever