Updated: Jul 26, 2021
Since we are currently unable to travel, I thought about delving into my most recent trip. The three-day expedition to the land of luxury I took in January 2020 before the world seemingly came to an end. As I boarded the first row of the lavish Emirates 777, the excitement came over, and my 12-hour journey to Dubai was filled with eagerness and desire to tour a new part of the world I'd never seen before. Leaving the airport, I was absolutely exhausted but ready to embark on an adventure. Portraying my inner Carrie Bradshaw, I was entirely dressed from head to toe in what I thought was appropriate for the Middle East.
A scenic desert ride packed our first day in the city. As I stood into the hot sand with my brand new classic tweed and leather Chanel cap-toe flats, I realized that my fabulous selection of footwear was a severe misjudgment. I was embarrassingly overdressed for a desert journey, and I had no idea what kind of fashion statement I was trying to make in the middle of the desert, miles from any familiar faces. Our tour guide giggled at my extravagant outfit; he absolutely knew I was dressed for the wrong occasion. With the bright sunshine glistening over the vibrant orange desert mountains, we were treated to a serene escapade through the Arabian desert, preceded by a three-course meal in a private candle-lit sanctuary in the middle of the hot desert. The entire day definitely made up for my sand-stained ruined shoes!
We traveled from Dubai to Abu Dhabi on our second day and toured the majestic Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque constructed with white marble and semi-precious stones, gold, and multitudes of crystals. The stone was so pure white, my eyes teared, and the floral tapestry in the courtyard allowed me to respect and admire the elaborate display of tireless work that took a decade to build. After observing the mosque, we lunched at the Emirates Palace Hotel. In the elegant dining hall, surrounded with sparkling crystal chandeliers and gold-plated encrusted carvings, we were served a seven-course feast of delectable Middle Eastern cuisine. It felt as if we were kings and queens, being weighted on hand and foot by the humble staff at the royal hotel.
After traveling back to Dubai the hour's drive away, we headed to the region of town known as "old Dubai" that had a feeling way more quaint and authentic to a real Middle Eastern village. We visited the antiquated souk that was exceptionally packed with tourists and natives that sold everything from antiques and meaningful Arabian goods, even real diamonds that I tried (and failed) to bargain for a lower price. While trailing through and taking in all the exorbitant displays of multi-colored spices and the powerful smell of Middle Eastern delicacies, we stopped at the famous shoe stand that sold surprisingly chic footwear for less than $20; I had such a hard time choosing between the embroidered slippers and intricately designed moccasins. If you remember Sex and City's second movie with their famous trip to Abu Dhabi, the scene where Carrie shops for shoes at the market is pretty accurate (as opposed to their other depictions of "the new Middle East" the movie was actually filmed in Morocco!), Well, even though I didn't run into John Corbett nor was I not dolled up in a giant ball skirt and a Dior top, I still treasured the experience of shopping in this genuine Middle Eastern souk.
Day three was dedicated solely to shopping in the famous Dubai Mall. Let me just tell you how much this grand mall made me du-BUY everything (too easy!) I watched in awe of the shoppers carrying luxury goods walking through the halls flooded with the most notable designer labels from Dolce & Gabbana to Hermès to Christian Louboutin. There was not one shop that did not entice my shopaholic nature. Much to my father's dismay, I ended my shopping extravaganza with a precious and supremely classic fuchsia pink Fendi baguette that I had been coveting for years, the first designer purchase that I will always treasure and have yet to wear! Maybe I'm dramatic, but how can I expose this delicate purse coated in all its fine leather glory to COVID-19? Fifth Avenue to Rodeo Drive, there's no possible way for me to compare this mall to anything I've ever seen before.
After leaving the mall, we took a walk along the tranquil Sufouh Beach. Swooning in the utter glamour and blinding opulence surrounding me, I took a moment to digest this UAE city's natural beauty, aside from the materialistic goods that are one of Dubai's main focuses. This city is truly the epicenter of luxury with a capital L, making it somewhat difficult to find time to welcome other interests, though if you look for it, it's there.
The UAE is one of the most exquisite and luxurious destinations on the map. During my time in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, I was privy to some of the most popular fashion and lifestyle norms among Emirati women. Traditionally, the national attire for women of the UAE is an Abaya, and I have seen several women personalize their look with intricate embellishments and unique designs. Every other Abaya seen on the women walking down the famous Sheik Zayed Road held a fancy designer handbag, dazzling jewels, and luminous pumps that peeked out of the long, flowing kaftan. It was incredible to see how these women built a uniquely stunning style out of such a simple black long dress. It certainly made me respect my investment in modest fashion a bit more, given that I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish community, and I was always taught that dressing and carrying myself in a refined manner is essential to becoming an elegant lady.
Dubai was our first stop before heading onto Oman, India, Sri Lanka, and Singapore for the rest of our tiring yet remarkable vacation. I wish we had more time in Dubai and will definitely want to explore this city again, but I was so looking forward to the rest of our quest to visit more countries and legendary cities! Every one of the locations during the rest of our venture was fantastic to see, and I can't wait to enlighten my readers into those great experiences and stories for my next travel piece. Check back next month because I have been to nearly every continent across the globe, and I can't wait to return to flying around the world again!