With a week to go until I head to Dubai with 20 other bloggers, I’m getting pretty damn excited but I’m also as woefully unprepared as ever. You’d think, after spending six months traveling earlier in the year, I’d be a whizz at packing but no, I have something approaching a phobia when it comes to deciding what to take and fitting it all in the suitcase. I think it stems from the fear of making the wrong choices and arriving only to find I am under/over/impractically dressed for every occasion. This is, of course, a little easier in Dubai, where I believe it is important to be sensitive to the ways and customs of a largely Muslim country and dress respectfully and accordingly. No, not everyone does, but I really think you should. So for me, this means many a maxi dress to keep cool with a light shawl to cover my shoulders. And of course, plenty of statement jewels. Done! And while I know flat sandals would be sensible, I prefer a wedge heel…
Enough of my wardrobe choices! Here’s what I’m looking forward to most. While Dubai is known, more recently, for its amazing, super modern, super tall, super expensive architecture, I’m much more intrigued by The Old Town, the gold souks and the traditional food and crafts. I love spicy food so bring on the Emirati cuisine! I’m dreaming of dishes packed with saffron, turmeric and cardamon and sweets drizzled with date syrup and sprinkled with sesame seeds! On our itinerary is a meal at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.
Of course, my first love being interiors, checking out local examples of these will be top of my list, from the impressive accommodation at the five-star JW Marriott Marquis where I’m very excited to be staying, to the more traditional Arabian and Persian-inspired homes. There’s nothing like getting a little off the tourist track and seeing how locals really live. This fascinates me most about travel so it is always nice to meet and talk with residents, not just fellow tourists. I’ll be meeting up with an old school friend from England who has now lived in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for many years.
Much of this year’s travels with my husband were spent in Europe and the USA and although I loved every minute, I’m ready for a culture shock in Dubai! It’s a place where you really can experience so many different things. We just got our itinerary and it is so varied and exciting, including a Sundown Desert Safari (squeal!), shopping at The Dubai Mall, penguin encounters at Ski Dubai and the Underwater Zoo & Aquarium!
I’m really looking forward to spending so much time with some of Australia’s finest bloggers too. What a unique opportunity to swap ideas, learn from each other and even just discuss the weird and wonderful world (for many of us) of blogging as an actual job! I’m sure to come home full of inspiration from Dubai and my new travel buddies!
If you’ve been to Dubai, I’d love to hear your tips and recommendations. Please share them in the comments below. Thanks!