Travel Bonus: Dubai (the warm up/pre-season friendly), 15th to 18th November 2013

Starting to update some more of my travel blogs from Tumblr onto here, and hadn’t added this entry about my stop in Dubai before heading to Australia for the 2013/2014 Ashes…

So, here we go again – another big trip away, two and a half years since my last successful expedition to the USA. However, before the ultimate destination of Australia, it was a good chance to stop off in Dubai; primarily to visit my friend Ruggiero who lives there at present, but also I’ve always thought it would be an intriguing place to visit, but maybe not for too long. In summary, I’d say a lot of what I maybe expected was true, with a few surprises.

I was only there 3 days, but Ruggiero did a great job in showing me the sights – that said, before I went, my main request was to see loads of big/stupid buildings and he does live opposite the Burj Khalifa (the spaceship/tower that is now the world’s tallest building). That was where we started, with lunch and cocktails at the bar that’s about halfway up the Burj Khalifa, but still higher than the Empire State Building. A great start and it could have been downwards from there (b’dum tish), but no, a great weekend and it was really good to see some of Ruggiero’s varied haunts and meet one of his mates out there.

Dubai 2013 BK

In Dubai, with a massive spaceship growing out the top of my head

As this is only a warm-up to the main event, I shall try to keep it brief and mention 3 random musical type highlights that I can remember and would like to do in the future:
1. Venturing into what I thought would be a poky back room after decreeing that our party needed to “go dancing” and finding out it was actually about 3 clubs with a beach party attached (obviously Ibiza inspired).
2. Seeing a 9 piece Phillipinos covers band playing “C’mon feel the noize” (and my Italian colleague having no idea who Slade are).
3. Oddly hearing nearly the whole of the latest Kurt Vile album playing in a burger place at the airport when leaving (just plain unlikely and odd).

Those were some of my surprises then, but as I said, I did also have some expectations confirmed or amplified. My shorthand definition of Dubai would be a cross between Las Vegas and Milton Keynes. The scale of the development in a desert is of course hugely impressive but a place that grows so quickly can’t help but feel a little soulless. Also, it really is a city built for the car which does make exploring on foot a little tiresome, which I do like to do in a new city – even if taxis are plentiful and cheap, as they indeed are in Dubai. Also, their class system is extremely visible and it’s easier to ascertain where you stand, much more so than in Britain for example. In Dubai, I am very much in their middle class by dint of being a European, and it does seem that it’s not such a great place for their lower classes there, although much better than other countries in the region I hear.

Anyway, that was Dubai – a great warm up to a long holiday and many thanks to Ruggiero for his hospitality. I’m currently writing this the afternoon before the First Test and it’s fair to say I’m a little excited. Picked up my match tickets earlier and the lady that handed them over said – “Oh, Jim Clear – you’re going to all 5 Tests, aren’t you?” Glad to see my reputation proceeding me anyway – hardcore stuff.

One thought on “Travel Bonus: Dubai (the warm up/pre-season friendly), 15th to 18th November 2013

  1. Pingback: My Ashes diaries from Australia: 2013/14 | No Longer Teenage Fan Club

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