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Dubai Middle East UAE

Dubai…An Arabian Adventure

July 6, 2017
Dubai

Middle East – United Arab Emirates

Dubai – 25.2048° N, 55.2708° W

Dubai – City of Superlatives: the fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest 

Arriving refreshed into Dubai, courtesy of the awesome Emirates Airlines flight, 72hrJetsetterGirl, was ready to explore the Emirate know for its luxury shopping, ultra modern architecture and a lively nightlife scene.  Unfortunately 72hrJetsetterGirl will probably have to pass on the lively nightlife option as the next day was an early morning work start. Yes, it did feel a bit weird working on a Sunday – but everyone else was working as well!

Ready to Explore

Within only a good 12 hours to explore the endless attractions Dubai has to offer, 72hrJetsetterGirl certainly had to be mission focused to keep the jet lag at bay.  On a previous visit, 72hrJetsetterGirl had visited the gold and spice souks and experienced the hair raising thrills of a 4WD desert dune safari with the added bonus of a camel ride just to make sure she had the full desert experience.  As much as 72hrJetsetterGirl would like to have another camel ride, the thought of arriving at the office the next day with her arm in a cast was a little too much to bare for this trip.

Dubai - the mix of the old and the new

Dubai – the mix of the old and the new

Itinerary Sorted

The hotel provided a free shuttle service to various locations in Dubai which was very convenient as her accommodation was not centrally located. On the upside, it did have a Dubai metro stop at its front door, that allowed for an easy return back after a day of exploring.  In the interest of time, 72hrJetsetterGirl opted for a visit to Dubai Marina. The Marina which is home to the Jumeirah Beach Walk and is full of skyscrapers both of the commercial and residential kind. This mega development borders Jebel Ali – the world’s largest man-made port.  You very soon find out that everything in Dubai is either the “world’s largest or world’s first”, they take large and first to a whole new level.  I thought everything was big in the US of A!   

Dubai Marina

Dubai Marina

Walking off the feeling of weariness and getting her steps in, as the boardwalk is 1.7kms in length, 72hrJetsetterGirl wandered around to Jumeirah Beach to soak up some beach activities and had lunch at one of the many beach front restaurants.  72hrJetsetterGirl definitely had a Dubai moment, when sipping her coffee she was very pleasantly surprised to see camel rides being offered on the beach; only in Dubai!

Only in Dubai

Only in Dubai

Jumeirah Beach

Jumeirah Beach

Jumeirah Beach

Jumeirah Beach

Time for some Jet-Boat Action

An unique way to see Dubai is by water and being tourist time poor, 72hrJetsetterGirl thought a jet-boat ride would allow some sight-seeing with the added bonus of an adrenaline rush. A double whammy of Dubai.  The 90 minute jet-boat ride departed from the Marina thus giving a bird’s eye view of the high rise buildings, then on to the calm waterway of the Marina inlet and then out to the Persian Gulf for some jet-boating action.  Once on the seaway, the skipper put the jet-boat through its paces;  sharp turns, accelerating the throttle and jumping over waves – yeah baby!  If you wore a toupee it would have been gone in the wind!

Calm waterway of the Marina inlet

Calm waterway of the Marina inlet

Iconic Dubai Structures

The jet-boat skipper was certainly earning his tips on this tour as not only being the captain but also a photographer to capture those priceless photos of the guests in front of the iconic Dubai attractions. Not the kind that charges you $20+ a piece for a photo but instead he used your own photographic device to capture that special moment.   The photos were certainly priceless as 72hrJetsetterGirl had a Phyllis Diller hairstyle after having the wind blowing through her locks.  Definitely not the glam well groomed photo to post up on Instagram.

Feeling the Wind in your hair!

Feeling the Wind in your hair!

Feeling the Wind in your hair!

Feeling the Wind in your hair!

First was a happy snap in front of the Atlantis resort and then onto the piece de resistance of luxury accommodation the Burj Al Arab Hotel, for another photo opportunity.  Unfortunately, 72hrJetsetterGirl’s corporate credit card did not allow staying at this once again “world’s first” 7 star hotel, so this was her opportunity to get up close and personal from afar of this luxury and epic hotel with its huge sail and helipad at the top.  You know the one that Roger Federer and Andre Agassi play a friendly game of tennis on (a common theme again – world’s first tennis match on a helipad). 

Atlantis Dubai

Atlantis Dubai

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

During the tour, the skipper provided commentary of the Dubai sites and gave a local tip of the best location to view the epic The Palms design.

To the Top of the World!

Once 72hrJetsetterGirl’s nerves and hair returned to normal it was time for the next thrill seeking adventure in Dubai. 72hrJetsetterGirl will admit that she is a bit of a bucket list type of traveller.  On other adventures she had ascended to the top of Taipei’s 101 and walked on the glass balcony of Chicago’s Sears Tower however until now the world’s tallest building had eluded her.

Purchasing a metro day ticket for Dubai’s modern rapid transit system was the perfect transportation choice in terms of cost and time benefits for 72hrJetsetterGirl to get to her next destination and beyond.  As Dubai Marina is located approximately 20 kms southwest of Downtown Dubai and the traffic along Sheikh Zayed Road can be a bit of a car park at times, so jumping on the metro at Damac station provided a very good alternative to a taxi. 

Upon arriving at the Dubai Mall metro station, 72hrJetsettterGirl walked about another 15 minutes in an air-conditioned walkway to commence her next adventure at Dubai Mall.  Certainly the step count is going to be awesome after today’s sightseeing.  Just in case you were wondering, yes Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall and thus it took 72hrJetsetterGirl another 20 minutes or so and asking several security guards for directions and going around in circles, before she finally found the entrance to the Burj Khalifa – yes the world’s tallest building.  Yep that theme is still going…

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Very eager to tick the Burj Khalifa off her bucket list (mind you 72hrJetsetterGirl is PETRIFIED of heights), she automatically handed her credit card over to pay for the entry fee, as the card was already in the hands of the cashier and register rang  chi-ching – it dawned on 72hrJetsetterGirl how much the ticket was once she did a quick currency conversion – not only did the fear of heights make her heart beat a little quicker also the cost of the ride to the top of the world also caused heart palpitations…  Prior to entering the elevator for the speedy ride to the top, all guest gathered in the lounge waiting area for tea and dates as part of the experience and once at the top each guest were given a sweet treat. Life of no regrets!

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

Ascending over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) or more than 160 stories (highest number of stories in the world) via the world’s tallest elevator which is also the longest travel distance elevator in the world to the world’s tallest building and the world’s tallest free standing structure, 72hrJetsetterGirl reached the world’s highest outdoor observation deck (148th floor) and world’s highest occupied floor in the world.  Phew… a lot of world records here… Ears popping and white knuckling experience 72hrJetsetterGirl was about to ticked off another bucket list item. 

On the way to the top of the world

On the way to the top of the world

What a view

The building which has an amazing New Years’ Eve fireworks show, began construction in 2004 and was completed five years later in 2009.  The primary structure is reinforced concrete and was open as part of the new development known as Downtown Dubai in 2010. The Burj Khalifa was named in honor of the rule of Abu Dhabi and president of the UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

From the observation desk 72hrJetsetterGirl had a bird’s eye view of Dubai – the desert, the housing estates, the major roadways and as far as the eye could see. The observation deck consisted of an outdoor and indoor viewing points.  Of course there is a gift shop to buy a memento of this occasion.  Whilst taking in the awesome views, 72hrJetsetterGirl was knocked in the head several times by the dreaded selfie stick of fellow tourists.

Looking down from the top of the world

Looking down from the top of the world

Overlooking Sheikh Zayed Road

Overlooking Sheikh Zayed Road

Overlooking Dubai at 555 metres

Overlooking Dubai at 555 metres

Selfie time!

Selfie time!

What goes up must come down

Coming down to terra firma, 72hrJetsetterGirl walked around the Dubai Fountain before making her way back to the metro station, for her ride back to her accommodation. When 72hrJetsetterGirl was visiting the massive fountain, she did not get an opportunity to witness the 30min displays of water jets reaching 140m (world’s highest water spray) set to music and a light show, as it takes at 7pm.  Managing to stay upright and alert all day after a 14 hour flight, with a 8 hour time difference, the effects of jet lag were now starting to take effect, so 72hrJesetterGirl passed on witnessing the fountain show and venturing into the Dubai Mall for some retail therapy.  The only therapy she need was the comfort of her hotel bed for a restful night sleep for a busy day of work tomorrow.

The Dubai Fountain @ Dubai Mall

The Dubai Fountain @ Dubai Mall

The Dubai Fountain @ Dubai Mall

The Dubai Fountain @ Dubai Mall

#Dubai FunFacts:

  • Burj Khalia is so tall that you can grab a lift and watch the sunset twice.
  • The Palm Jumeirah has enough sand to fill the Wembley Stadium 23 and a half times… It took 94 million cubic metres of sand to make The Palm Jumeirah, while Wembley stadium is only 4 million cubic metres.

  • There are 29,000 Swarovski crystals on the Junsui Lounge’s ceiling in the Burj Al Arab. They’re shaped in the pattern of The Milky Way, what else would you have expected! 

The Nuts and Bolts of this fastest, biggest, tallest, largest and highest adventure

Why this destination?

  • Business trip for work.

How long?

  • 2 days / 2 nights (In Saturday 7am, out Monday 2am, back into Washington DC at 7am Monday morning ready to go to work!);

Getting Around?

  • Flew into DXB, business class on Emirates Airlines’ A380. An airport/hotel shuttle service was provided by the hotel.  The hotel was located very close to a station on the Dubai Metro System.  A daily metro card proved to be a cost effective option to get around Dubai in a timely manner.  72hrJetsetterGirl viewed driving in Dubai like driving in LA – crazy….

What to take?

  • Being a female traveller in a Muslim country be mindful of wearing appropriate attire.  What might be considered OK in your home country, may not be appropriate in another country.  Good idea to check travel website/home country foreign affairs department advices for guidance.  If visiting religious sites, ensure shoulders are covered and take a scarf as potential headwear.

Considerations?

  • When planning a trip to any Middle Eastern country take into account the season as well as any upcoming religious celebrations/holidays.  Personally, I would avoid traveling to this part of the world during summer if for personal/leisure travel.  Ok you may get an unreal hotel rate but sightseeing in 50+ degree C is not that enjoyable. Previously, 72hrJetSetterGirl had a 3 day layover in Dubai en-route from Europe back to Australia, during Ramadan,which by nature caused some minor inconveniences to her travel arrangements.
  • Also be mindful of customs/laws of other countries.  What might be considered normal/appropriate in one country may not be in another.  A good go to guide is to check your home country’s foreign affairs department for the latest advice on need to know information.
  • Dubai is certainly a destination where you need to get “your ear in” so to speak.  As the majority of the population are foreigners from across the globe, you will differently encounter different accents as you move about this metropolis.

Verdict

Returning back to Dubai for a holiday has always been on 72hrJetsetterGirl’s traveling agenda as her last visit was back in 2006 and the Emirate has changed a great deal since then.  Due to the reason for this latest trip, 72hrJetsetterGirl was very pleased with what she accomplished in her very short sightseeing timeframe. 72hrJetsetterGirl hears people comment that Dubai is “plastic/fake”, however for her, Dubai is a destination that mixes modern culture with history, adventure and luxury in a desert city with excellent infrastructure and liberal policies (by regional standards) and should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.  72hrJetsetterGirl will use Dubai as a launch pad to other Middle Eastern and European destinations for future travels.

Where have you had limited sightseeing opportunities and managed to see a lot in a short timeframe?

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Dubai Middle East UAE

Emirates Airlines…Traveling Princess Class

June 26, 2017
Emirates Airlines - A380

Middle East – United Arab Emirates 

Dubai – 25.2048° N, 55.2708° W

Emirates Airlines….It’s all about the journey.…Princess Class!

Dubai - Burj Al Arab

Dubai – Burj Al Arab

Due to a critical work issue 72hrJetsetterGirl had to quickly pack her bags for a brief and unexpected business trip to the most modern and progressive Emirate in the UAE.  Filled with anticipation and bit of trepidation due to the work commitment 72hrJetsetterGirl was excited to revisit the independent city-state of Dubai as it has changed so much since her last visit in 2006. The timing of that adventure was probably not the best, as it occurred during Ramadan and smack bang in the middle of an UAE’s summer – taking the term “hot” to an extreme level.  This adventure would be more seasonally enjoyable.

The Journey

When 72hrJesetterGirl travels on her 72 hour adventures, it is economy class, boarding group 5 (yep, never any space left in the overhead lockers for your roller-board), seat is the last row of the aircraft which is directly opposite the toilet, and refreshments consist of a packet of pretzels and lukewarm cup of coffee with non-dairy creamier (so it is never about the “journey”)…but things were about to be significantly different (for the better) for this adventure…

Ready for the Business Class adventure

Ready for the Business Class adventure

The Experience

Arriving at the check-in counter, 72hrJetsetterGirl was warmly welcomed by a friendly Emirates Airlines customer service agent who conducted the check-in process professionally and provided all the necessary information for a quick transit to the gate.  72hrJetsetterGirl’s eyes lit up when the “priority” tag was attached to her luggage (that tag will never be removed!). 72hrJetsetterGirl knew from this moment that this journey was going to be a flying experience she will never forget.

Feeling rather special to be flying business class on an Emirates Airlines’ A380 (yes, we have all drooled over those Jennifer Aniston’s advertisements). 72hrJetsetterGirl boarded in a designated business lounge area.  Yes, it is the little things that make the journey so special.  But the best was yet to come. 

Welcome to another world

Upon entering the business class cabin via the “Gone with the Wind” like staircase to the upper deck, 72hrJetsetterGirl was greeted by a well groomed and very welcoming crew member. The interior of EK’s largest passenger aircraft is contemporary decorated in subdued earthy tones with the UAE’s national Ghaf tree embellishing the walls. Certainly very relaxing and soothing for this long haul journey.

72hrJetsetterGirl’s home for the next 14 hours was a private business class seat, with her own personal mini-bar, iPad and ample space to stretch out and relax. Now to the most important element –  the seat – read “reclining flat bed”! EK’s A380 Y class seats have various seat positions all at your fingertips to adjust to your own personal needs.  Definitely the go to position is certainly the option to recline to a flat bed to enjoy a restful sleep, definitely no neck pillow required on this trip.  When ready for some shut-eye the crew member expertly makes a “bed” complete with a lightweight mattress and a lovely soft blanket; 72hrJetsetterGirl felt like she floating on the clouds.

Home for the next 14 hours

Home for the next 14 hours

Yes the list continues…

The inflight entertainment system provided the latest movies, news and sports programs on a large personal TV screen with noise reducing headphones (no ear buds required) to eliminate the noise of the powerful Rolls Royce engines to carry us across the Atlantic.  As 72hrJetsetterGirl’s flight was an overnight long-haul journey she received an “Indulgence” Bulgari amenity kit to keep her feeling refreshed and upon arrival looking glamorous like an EK Cabin Crew member.

Personal Inflight Entertainment System

Personal Inflight Entertainment System

Celebration time…

To celebrate this once in a lifetime experience, 72hrJetsetterGirl indulged in a glass of Verve Champagne and a selfie to remember the occasion. Cheers!

Selfie Time

Selfie Time

Instead of the usual packet of inflight peanuts, 72hrJetsetterGirl nibbled on warm mixed nuts (not a peanut in sight) whilst temping her tastebuds on the five course menu options,with matching wines. Oh the choices..72hrJetsetterGirl will start the diet when she returns back to DC.

As the crew prepared the cabin for take-off, the Captain provided the flight conditions and informed the paxs that the crew members on this flight were from 20 nations and were fluent in 15 languages, I am sure there was an Aussie amongst them!  It was with great pleasure that 72hrJetsetterGirl,fasten her seat-belt, sat back and relaxed to enjoy this flying experience.

Personal Mini Bar, iPad

Personal Mini Bar, iPad

Oh the Lounge

Upon reaching crewing altitude, 72hrJetsetterGirl made an awesome discovery on this Emirates aircraft… the A380 Onboard Lounge.  The Lounge is located on the upper deck at the rear of the flying bird.  In case you were wondering First Class (with the spa showers) is located at the pointy end of the upper deck. Flying at 40,000ft will never be the same for 72hrJetsetterGirl.

EK's A380 Onboard Lounge

EK’s A380 Onboard Lounge

The onboard lounge is very sleek in design with bronze and wood grain accents with a 180 degree cocktail bar which creates an imitate environment that enhances your flying enjoyment. Certainly a very elegant and sophisticated gathering area to mingle with other Jetsetters.  The calming LED mood lighting and the social seating arrangements provides the ideal setting to sip a cocktail, sample a range of sweet and savory nibbles whilst watching live events on the 55 inch LCD TV with surround sound.

EK's A380 Onboard Lounge

EK’s A380 Onboard Lounge

EK's A380 Onboard Lounge

EK’s A380 Onboard Lounge

The well trained Cabin Crew members are on hand to mix your favorite cocktail and to take your photo whilst enjoying the Emirates’ experience.  In a former life 72hrJetsetterGirl worked in the aviation industry and was interested to know what it is like to work for the airline that has been recently crowned “the best”.  It became very evident during the conversations that the crew were very proud to work for Emirates and they enjoyed the benefits of working for airline that has over 151 international destinations.  Of course the Dubai lifestyle is certainly one of a kind.

EK's A380 Onboard Lounge

EK’s A380 Onboard Lounge

All good things must come to an end

During the 14 hour flight,  72hrJetsetterGirl had an opportunity to catch up on some work, watched a movie, enjoyed the inflight meals and managed to get some sleep to arrive refreshed into Dubai the next morning. In addition to the Bulgari amenity kits, the onboard restrooms were well supplied with the lovely scented eVOY products and other personal amenities. When disembarking, 72hrJetsetterGirl had an opportunity to have a quick peek at the First Class Suites…maybe next time, we can all dream!

As 72hrJetsetterGirl was traveling business class, she transited through the UAE’s priority immigration lines, collected her luggage from the carousel and made her way through customs all with in 15 minutes of touchdown! Sweet.

#Fun facts

  • The Emirates Airlines A380 plane is the length of 2 blue whales; the height of 5 giraffes and weight of 165 elephants.

Verdict

The business side of the trip did not turn out as well as 72hrJetsetterGirl had hoped for, but hey it was a great learning experience.  However the flight experience is one that 72hrJetsetterGirl will certainly look back on fondly and very grateful for the business opportunity that allowed it.

Yes, traveling business class with Emirates Airlines is certainly a very different experience to the majority of the other major airline carriers and for the most of us it is out of reach for regular pleasure travel.  However, treat yourself at least once, for that special occasion,  to experience the luxury of first class service and the other extra touches that Emirates Airlines has to offer to make a truly enjoyable flying experience.

During this adventure 72hrJetsetterGirl felt like a Princess and certainly enjoyed the ambience of flying at 40,000 feet.   Indulge yourself – you deserve it, you will not regret it!

When have you had an outstanding flying adventure that you will always remember?