I’m falling fast. I can feel myself accelerating as my equipment rides up into uncomfortable areas. But, I don’t care. I glance upwards to see the aircraft I was on just seconds before, rapidly decreasing in size. Turning around, I can easily make out the incredible palm tree-shaped island underneath me. In one of the most thrilling moments of my life, I realize that it is time to deploy the parachute. I pull the string and…
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I am now in a fancy restaurant. I take a bite of mouthwatering Foie Gras baked in Brioche. I look up and am astounded by the floor-to-ceiling aquarium surrounding everything. Enjoying the rich, sumptuous flavors as colorful sea life darts through gorgeous coral reefs is an unbelievable experience. I close my eyes momentarily, just appreciating the taste of the dish and…
I feel wind in my hair as sand blows past my goggles. The instructor starts picking up speed as he guides me around a natural trail of dunes in the desert. I accelerate the dune buggy to keep up as we navigate through a difficult stretch of dunes. I get a moment of exhilarating airtime and the engine roars in approval. Just as the tires land on the soft sand…
I wake up. Rolling out of my bed in Maryland, I let out a deep sigh. I smile faintly as I remember my dreams. Whether it’s skydiving over the manmade Palm Jumeirah island, dining luxuriously in the Al Mahara restaurant, or driving a dune buggy in the Arabian Desert , the city of Dubai in northeast United Arab Emirates has much to offer travelers.
I have been dreaming of visiting this city for years. Ever since I spent the day in Dubai on a 14-hour layover on my way to India, I have wanted to return. I wandered through the world’s largest mall and walked through the spectacular shark tunnel in the Dubai Underwater Zoo. I then visited the world’s tallest building, the sleek blue Burj Khalifa, which stands at 830 meters. That evening, I watched the dazzling light and water show at the Dubai Fountain in the downtown complex. Listening to Arabic music while water rises up 150 meters in the air over a 30-acre lake is an unforgettable experience.
After returning home, I researched more about Dubai in preparation for a future visit there. The former fishing settlement evolved into a vibrant trading port and then a global metropolis. The city’s economy is dependent on tourism so it has invested billions of dollars into ambitious projects to attract tourists. It’s home to some of the most extravagant hotels in the world, from the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab to the picturesque (and more affordable) Atlantis Resort.
There’s a limitless array of activities in Dubai. Swim with dolphins at Dolphin Bay and then slide down transparent tunnels through shark-infested waters at Aquaventure, the world’s largest water park. Want to cool off? Ski down slopes at the world’s largest indoor ski resort. Looking for something less action-packed? Visit the popular Dubai Museum, which depicts Dubai’s historical transformation, or stop at the Ayyam Gallery and admire contemporary art from Middle Eastern artists. Barter with local artisans in souks, study Muslim Culture in the Jumeirah Mosque, or relax on the beach.
Regardless of your interests, Dubai will amaze. That is why it is the premier tourist destination in the world.
And no, I am not talking about “The World,” the collection of 300 islands in the shape of a world map off the coast of Dubai.
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