There are many reasons to remember our Dubai trip. However , I feel a dedicated post on its food and restaurants would be a good idea.Therefore ,I am sharing few of my experiences here.
Reem Al Bawadi – Dubai Marina
Deepak took us to a famous restaurant Reem Al Bawadi for lebanese and Arabian food. We got seat towards its waterside, with nice view. We primarily ordered vegetarian options as initially I was vegetarian. They were all delicious. But highlight for me was turkish coffee and desert that included bakalava. I loved the coffee so much that I never miss the chance to have it wherever I can.
Here are few moments from the restaurant.
Times of Arabia Gold- Souk Madinat Jumeriah
We were wandering around in souk of Madinat Jumeriah. I found this fine restaurant . By that time, I have converted myself to a non-vegetarian to have complete food experience. This is a beautiful restaurant near waterside .Its menu had good range of delicacies. I loved Moutabal, Falafal and Fattoush. I ended our experience with my favorite coffee.
Food and Restaurant Good times
A Lebanese Restaurant – Ibn Batuta Mall
Jyoti was on a shopping spree .She bought few dresses for herself . Over the time, I became fan of middle eastern food. So, I was actively looking for Arabic food and restaurants . Once Jyoti was finished with her shopping cravings. Subsequently, I found ourselves a fine lebanese restaurant.There we tried fish which was pleasing both to eyes and tastebuds . Later, instead of turkish coffee , I tried a delicious turkish tea.
Few family moments at this place
Hookah Evening at Madinat’s Klounge
At Souk Madinat Jumeriah, we spent evening in at Klounge. I sampled one of the finest hookah’s here. Its ambience is remarkable.
In conclusion , food and restaurants in and around Dubai were really excellent . Most of them served authentic mouthwatering cuisines.As a result , I added few new items in my favorites list. Furthermore, I had to eliminate few places to keep this post shorter. Otherwise there are so many to talk about.
Please also check my other posts on dubai series here
During initial days, my perspective of Dubai was similar to that of any US city. But when we visited Dubai mall ,I had chance to witness the beauty of Burj khalifa , my outlook about the city changed a little, as it is more then just a building, it appears like a huge piece of art , made with love of beauty.
On our second day , we went to Dubai mall which was not too far from our residence. I booked a taxi to reach the mall, it was around 25 minutes drive. Driver was from Pakistan , we had brief chat on the way , he recommended not to buy things from mall as everything was expensive . I have met people from Pakistan before , most of the time its a sweet experience , Urdu is a sweet language, there is always a warmth, Its hard to believe that our countries are always at war .
The shopping experience
In my perspective of Dubai, particularly Dubai mall ,everything is extravagant and obviously expensive. Omnipresent pleasant fragrance of variety of local and international perfumes is remarkable. Overall ambience is very excitingly pleasing. I bought blue tooth enabled selfie stick there and few dresses for Roy. Afterwards, to complete shopping experience, obviously we had food at its food court, which has huge variety of cuisines.
Later, we went to its famous aquarium, Aryaman loves it, he had great time there.
later by evening, we knew there will be fountain show, so we went to exit where fountain show happens. This show starts around 6pm and goes on till 9pm . I captured one of them in my camera. Its definitely a delight to watch. It just built on my perspective of Dubai, I loved the overall experience there and decided to visit it more then once again as we had to leave as Deepak and Bharti had come to pick us .
A typical day plan
I was there for two weeks, so I had ample amount of time to explore it. As much as I love to explore , I try not to rush and maximize the opportunity, ensuring quality experience , otherwise it ruins the vacation due to unnecessary stress. Usually, I would wake up early in the day , go for long walk near our residence, which was in Bur Dubai . I would pick a direction , use maps on my phone for easy navigation. It served two purposes . One, I would get my fitness numbers on my fitbit watch . Second, find more places of interest , where we can visit later. Typically , we would spend afternoons either in a mall or at our hosts home. In evenings, we would roam around nearby Jumeirah beach road, or other planned places of interest. Dubai mall fountain area became our favorite hang out point, due to variety of eateries around it and overall beautiful ambience.
During my morning walks, I discovered multiple shopping malls near by like Burjuman, grocery stores like spinneys ,smaller shops and coffee houses. Like any other big city one can find people rushing to their work place in the morning, which was kind of expected. I saw something similar in Singapore. Interestingly, crowd that I observed was primarily expats from various countries.
Furthermore, in such a hot weather, I observed non-AC shabby buses full of people from south eastern countries including India. reaching to under construction sites. I thought, in India, people are so fascinated by Idea of working in middle east that they put everything on stake to work here . Finally this is what they end up doing . Unfortunately, when these people visit their countries, they hide facts about their work, misleading others about their successful lives here. I really wondered why laborers were neglected when everything else appears so perfect. However , it left mark in my perspective of Dubai
I also remember an evening, when we were going for a dinner in Dubai marina, at car parking a young boy in early 20s came to me . He was from Pakistan. He lost his work , he had no money for food and wanted help. I told him I was there just for visit and gave him some money for food. He gave his blessings. I felt and hoped things will get better for him but thought is it really worth it , leaving your home for a imperfect dream.
I will end this post by sharing my own contrasting life where I and Jyoti try to have best time together while dealing with autism of our son. This was our biggest pain when Roy was in his early infancy. Reason I was in Dubai was to drop Jyoti to her sisters , as it was becoming very difficult for us to handle autistic kid along with an infant. Thats how life is , like roses are found with thorns.
Deepak and Bharti our hosts in Dubai had made all the arrangements for our comfortable stay, for background context please read first post on this series. As they had to leave for work, Jyoti and I had all the time with kids to relax. But a little voice in me was telling me to explore the place , instead of just sitting at home. Following its lead , I took out my laptop ,searched the web to find best options for a desert safari that I heard about a lot , from many friends. After searching for a while, I found few options, read their online reviews, I called couple of them, finally got a good deal, our hosts were unavailable for the evening, so we asked Jyoti’s elder sister who also lives in Dubai to join us, she agreed. I started to anticipate a great evening in desert.
Drive to the desert
At 4 pm that day, driver from the event hosting company reached our residence. We were accompanied by few other guests, they were a couple from Zimbabwe. On our way to the desert, I had conversations about various subjects ranging from politics, education, languages and business both from their country and India’s perspective, obviously we discussed cricket which was strongest common factor between us. I came to know lot of new things about their country which we usually do not hear on news or in movies, the usual life of a common man.
We had a tea break on the way, where I found a souvenir shop, I found keffiyeh and asked the person who was selling it, to help me in putting it on my head. I loved it.
We arrived at the location where the event was organized , it was pleasantly different from what I imagined. In above picture, you can see there is sitting space with roof cover for sun protection, then there is sitting place in the middle , for people to sit and enjoy the dance and other shows in the evening. I was with kids who could not bear direct sun, so I picked a seat with roof cover, with extra charges.
The attendant at the entrance was in the traditional Arabic attire, he served Arabic coffee which looked similar to kahwa. It tasted different , attendant after seeing my first reaction suggested to have it with dates. It took a while but I started to like it after few attempts. Later at our seats, we were served with drinks, coffee and snacks.
Twilight in sand dunes ,views , SUVs adventures
After enjoying hookah , drinks and few family pictures by a local cameraman, I walked towards sand dunes, hoping to get picturesque sunset in the desert.
At distance, I saw a group of guys was driving their 4×4 SUVs in sand dunes, apparently it was adventure drive. In fact our event organizer asked me about it but I did not opt for it as I was with kids.
On other side , I found another group of young sheikhs having good time with friends ,attempting to capture the beautiful evening in their cameras.
Finally, after I could not get good sunset view, due to dust in the air, I retuned to Jyoti . She and her sister were engaged in some other activities arranged by event organizers. Aryaman my elder son loves sand, he also had fun playing in it.
Mesmerizing evening in desert
In the evening, we enjoyed dinner with great performances by belly dancers, fire dancers and middle eastern dancers. I had seen belly dancers on TV before but not live, it was great experience. There was sizeable crowd of guests present who enjoyed these performances.
Evening was pleasant, overall experience of drive from city to the desert was memorable , we spent some time talking about it, while local cameramen finished our photographs and delivered in albums. Jyoti bought few souvenirs as well , that is her typical way to make an outing unforgettable .
We were driven back by same driver back to our residence, we were accompanied by same guest couple. They enjoyed adventure drives in the sand. They seem to have a very delightful experience as well. Although all of us were tired after long drive but we finished the day with coffee and telling day’s stories to our hosts about an evening in desert that I still keep reliving.
In this post about few days in Dubai, I am starting a series about my stay in the city . I will share my experiences of this trip. It was year 2018, my family and I were in emirates flight from Hyderabad to Dubai . My original plan was to drop my wife and kids to her sisters place for three months and then return to India. Without getting into details about the reasoning, however , I can mention ,it was more to do with my elder sons autism then vacation time. My visa was for a month, with two weeks leave .The buffer leave time was to observe adaptation of my son into new place . In case he does not adapt well then I planned to bring whole family back.
Flight take offs due to its sound, can be painful for my son due to his condition , so I chose emirate , hoping for better service. Obviously tickets were expensive compared to other options. I was happy that family enjoyed the flight, especially my son did not feel uncomfortable with sound of take off . He had pleasant experience overall.
Although, I had been to Dubai airport many times before during my office visits to Redmond, Seattle . But transit areas of the airport that lead to terminal for Seattle are not that exciting . On the contrary, I found exiting areas of airport better. Unforgettable experience of sweet sound of adhan, in the airport is beyond words. I have special admiration for Arabic and middle eastern cultures, their clothes, lifestyle , perfumes and obviously cuisine.
My sister-in-law Bharti was waiting for us at airport. She picked us up . My wife and her began to catchup on the lost time . Meanwhile , I got into my observation and admiration mode for the city I wanted to visit for such a long time. I could not help but notice this tallest building shared below, on the way to Bharti’s home. My first impression of the city was similar to looking at a sports car, mesmerizingly beautiful.
I am going to write small pieces going forward , including the rest of story on Dubai trip ,as many of my friends shared their feedback that due to longer posts they were not able to read them.