TRAVEL DIARIES . LONG HAUL |
Exactly two years ago, on the second day of January, while everyone was still recovering from New Year's eve celebrations, I was flying away to achieve one of my wildest dream and going on a solo trip that felt "Eat-pray-Love"-inspired!
I travelled with the Emirates airline for the very first time and the flight in itself was already an experience!
Comfortable seat, plenty of movies, good food and even some wine!
I had a 7 hours flight ahead of me but it was unexpectedly pleasant and truly enjoyable. There I was on my way to Dubai... on my own.
I have to be honest, as a single woman I was feeling slightly scared to venture to the Middle East and Asia on my own without knowing what to expect but one said that " If it is both terrifying and amazing, then you should definitely pursue it". So there I was, terrified but excited like a little girl at the adventures that was lying ahead.
Here how things unfolded:
First, a 48 hours stopover in Dubai, followed by a 9 days tour of North Central Sri Lanka and finally... 4 days in paradise, The Maldives
I had no idea what to expect in Dubai and it was my first time in the Middle East but the moment my feet touched the first bit of pavement I knew everything would be ok. I was feeling safe!
My bank account however wasn't sharing that feeling!
Dubai is everything people made it out to be: Over The Top!
Every car in sight seemed to be a Bentley, Rolls Royce or some other luxury sports car and the skyline was absolutely futuristic!
I only had less than 24 hours to see all what I could - but, I was about to discover that Dubai is not only all about luxury but that the city is actually overflowing with tradition and culture.
“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”
There is beauty to be found in every corner of the world- you just have to be open to experiencing it.
how the adventure started...
After going through immigration and security at the airport, and been welcomed by men in traditional clothing, I headed towards the exit where my taxi driver was awaiting for me.
After a short drive of 15min, I arrived at the majestic Shangri-La hotel
I picked this hotel because of the amazing view it offers to the skyscrapers around
The hall entrance was beautifully decorated and airy. Everyone smiling and taking care of you like you belong.
After having a short nap in my 'out-of this world' king size bed and after eating all the snacks of the mini-bar... I got myself ready to go on my very first adventure: a Desert Safari
It only has been a couple of hours since the landing, but why wasting time when you only have 24h to experience it all!
A 4-wheel SUV came to pick me up at the hotel and drove me to an exclusive and unique oasis in the desert of Al Maha and then we rode up and down the dunes, skidding, sliding and bashing these majestic giants.
After almost half and hour of wild-riding the dunes, our group paused to admire the majestic sunset.... then we got stuck for a little longer than usual as the car got stuck due to technical issue. I could not care less really.
The sunset was incredible and I was so grateful being on that amazing journey.
When the car got fixed, we headed to a Bedouin camp nearby and had a taste of the traditional food and entertainment of the Bedouin culture and enjoyed watching some belling dancing and some incredible dancers performing the mesmerising Tanoora Dance
Tanoura means skirt in English and the Tanoura dance is a kind of folkloric dance which is very common in Islamic countries. It is distinguished by the use of a multicolored skirt.
It seems the dance has many meanings but one of them is to reach spiritual inner purity, to enter a trance-like state and being at one with God.
The dancer spins around 30 minutes and at the end he just stops without showing any dizziness!
After the food and the belly dance shows that followed, I headed back to the hotel, enjoyed a chilled evening in the comfort of my luxury room, staring at the incredible skyline before collapsing in bed for a well deserved sleep, exhausted but happy, grateful and excited.
These were my first hours in Dubai. More adventures were awaiting! So much more...
Dubai to be continued .....
The Girl Next Door