21 Hours in Dubai

I should use this time in yet another airport Starbucks to write my thesis, but Nursel reminded me that I have a travel blog and a lot of upcoming travel, and maybe I should return to that.

I’m on my way to Italy for a few months, and its impossible for me to fly across the world and not stop in Dubai for just a little while. I went to high school here, and my best friend’s family still live here, so I love to come say hi and break up a 24 hour flight at the same time.

This time, I was literally here for 21 hours, and its Ramadan and 43 degrees. But when you know Dubai as well as me and my bestie do, you know how to make the most of it.

I arrived at 1pm, so Nursel and I spent out first few hours hiding away from the midday heat and letting me recover from the flight in bed watching Friends. Then, we made our way into the world.

First stop, always: Dubai Mall. This is the biggest shopping mall in the world, and used to be my local. Honestly, one of the main reasons Dubai is known for its shopping is just because the air-conditioned buildings are the only way to escape the heat. As a bonus, the malls are gorgeous and ridiculous and somehow renovated and different every time I’m here. The best new addition is the Apple Store in Dubai Mall, which has literally the best location in all of Dubai. Its a two story store, with floor to ceiling glass windows and a balcony overlooking the Dubai Fountains and the Burj Khalifa. It is gorgeous, and even if you have no plans to buy a new iPhone it is basically the best view in Dubai.

Ramadan in Dubai is slightly different now than when I lived here. Previously, only a very select few eateries had permits to open during the day, and even then they had to seriously hide away and keep it behind closed doors. This year, it felt like everyone had the permit and the doors were propped open. Regardless, you still cannot eat or drink in the open until sunset. So slightly before iftar, as Nursel’s energy began to fade, we sought out somewhere fun to eat.

We really wanted to sit outside along the fountains, but none of the restaurants had anything that interests us. Instead we ended up inside the mall at Wagamama, where the iftar specials left us with way more incredible food than we could have planned for. I haven’t had duck pancakes in so long, and they’re better than I remember.

Because time isn’t real, especially when you’re travelling and/or its Ramadan, 9pm seemed like the perfect time for a caffeine boost. We ended up at %Arabica, which has the best insta-aesthetic and a famed Spanish Latte that is strong and sweet like a Vietnamese coffee.

A trip to Dubai is not complete without watching the fountains. They are the largest choreographed dancing fountains in the world, and a different show plays every half an hour. They’re entirely ridiculous, and absolutely amazing. The newer addition is the full light show that lights up the Burj Khalifa, which is also an incredibly ridiculous and impressive feat.

After standing in the middle of the night heat for a while, we needed to return to the air-conditioned house and relax. But I couldn’t leave without going to beach, even if it was the middle of the night.

Dubai has so much awesome beach, and so many awesome restaurants, but it often struggles to combine those two things. SALT is the exception, a wagyu beef burger place on the beach, where the tables are literally in the sand. Its the best of Dubai – the great food, the beautiful beaches, and the trendy aesthetics. So at midnight, we sat in the sand and ate fries and struggled to eat the ice cream before it melted in the 35 degree heat.

I have a lot to say about Dubai, but this flying stop was truly all of my favourite Dubai absurdities. I love the glamour, I love the good food, I love the absurdities, and I love seeing my best friend when we manage to be in the same country for a few hours. Thanks for the trip babe xo


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