Dubai – New & Old

**This post was “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress.com on August 9th, 2012. Thank you WordPress for including me among the great bloggers at Freshly Pressed ! Please give me your comments below and thank you for reading!”**

I’ve been told that I have “horseshoes up my a*%”. I have had the uncanny ability to win more than a few door prizes and other draws over the years (more so than my unlucky friends). I haven’t won the lottery but I have won a couple of trips. My best trip win to date – Dubai. 2 Business Class tickets on Emirates Airlines to Dubai from Toronto; and 3 nights at the Burj Al Arab Hotel (including breakfast). The trip is a grand prize draw at an evening hosted by Jumeirah Hotels. I have 2 ladies offer to be my travelling companion before I have left the building (never mind that my wife was with me- she cast evil eyes in their direction).

The flight from Toronto is long- 14 hours. With the late evening flight, and comfort of Emirates Business Class flat seats, we both manage to rest and sleep very well. When we arrive in Dubai, it’s night time- again. We arrive at the Burj Al Arab and are awe struck by this iconic Dubai hotel. The lobby hotel person escorts us to our floor where our butler checks us in. He has great news- we’ve been upgraded to a 2 bedroom 3,600 sq. ft. suite. The butler takes us on a tour of our bi-level “room” . The butler is there to make drinks, draw a bath in your jacuzzi, clean your room every time you leave, press the elevator button for you, etc. A short time after we are settled in the lap of luxury, we both feel exhausted. Jet lag knocks us out and we sleep for 12 hours (and miss our $200 USD breakfast). In the following days, we enjoy the Burj and explore the “new” Dubai. The Burj Kalifa (the world’s tallest building), the Mall of the Emirates (with the indoor ski hill), and a desert safari.

After you have seen “new” Dubai, you need to get over to the Dubai Creek area and see “old” Dubai- simple local restaurants, markets, and local people. My wife, the travel agent of the family, had suggested that we stay another 3 days at another hotel. Dubai is a long way to go for 3 days. We transfer over to the Holiday Inn Dubai Creek. Normal accommodations. We take a city tour, explore the souks, shops and enjoy some local food. Dubai Creek and area is the original Dubai. The earliest settlement of Dubai dates back to 1799 when the area became a trading hub and later an important port. Oil was discovered in Dubai and Qatar in 1966 and then the oil industry took over. The “new” Dubai (construction, financial services, tourism, real estate) comes from the emirate’s desire to diversify the economy (and the fact that oil will run out within the next 20 years). “Old” Dubai is authentic and rich in culture.

Still, Dubai and the Burj al Arab are both worthy of any travel bucket list. Do spend time in both “old” and “new” Dubai or you will not have a full and complete view of this fascinating destination. Dubai is different. Definitely worth the trip and out of the ordinary.