Call me weird, but I seem to believe that odd years have been the most fruitful for me oppose to even years. Since I entered the world in 1991, your girl has thrived in every odd year since lol. Aunty Lorna (my mum) says that it is down to the seasons of life but I just believe it is down to the year. To have a better understanding of my trip to Dubai, I need to give you insight into where I was in my life during that time.
It was the year 2015 and my mindset was so focused on experiencing a turnaround. After a turbulent end to 2014, I was keen to see things do a swift 360 and they did. I landed my first graduate job as a Research Assistant at Kings College London University. Following a sudden illness, I made some lifestyle changes that resulted in me overcoming some major health challenges. Blessings were flowing and everyone was receiving something. I played in the Notting Hill carnival that year and I was so high on life. Things were finally looking up after being upside down for so long. So a trip to Dubai at the end of the summer (September 2015) was literally the cherry on top of all the goodness that I was experiencing.
I had been fascinated with Dubai for many years and I always wanted to go. I am not sure why, but Dubai was the place on everybody’s lips. If you had been to Dubai, you were saying a lot. When I uploaded my first batch of Dubai pics, I was sure to drop my location and let everybody know that your girl was in town. However, going to Dubai for me was much more than just showing off on the socials with bigger than life captions.
A year before my trip to Dubai, I was in a place of turmoil. I was drowning in Postgraduate depression, something that is so common but sadly not spoken about enough. In addition to this I recovering from an unexpected illness and questioning whether God was real or fake. Now those are just some of the things that I was going through that I am now willing to open up and talk about. To the outsiders looking in, me flying to Dubai and posting all over the gram, I just looked like an over the top show off. However, that was far from the case. If you have ever been through a storm in life and you make it out on the other side, alive, you just shine differently.
My trip to Dubai will always remind me of how God miraculously made a way for me. I don’t know how but he did it. My Dubai trip felt like a gift that I received after passing all of those obstacles and challenges. Have you ever had so many doors close in your face, that when the right door finally opens it makes sense why the others didn’t? Yeah, that’s just how I feel about that whole experience.
Dubai was so long ago, so with what I can remember I broke my trip down in different categories, enjoy.
I stayed in the 5-star hotel chain the Sofitelon Jumeirah beach on a half board basis. One thing I didn’t know prior to checking in was the 20 dirham a day tourist tax. I was young in the travel game back then, so things like that didn’t even cross my mind to check before travelling. If you plan to visit Dubai, spend some time doing some travel planning and research, visitdubai.com is a great place to start, so do check it out.
The Sofitel did not disappoint, as you know I am such a sucker for a luxurious, nice, clean hotel with all of the trimmings and it served me just that. The location of my hotel was so ideal and I couldn’t have been happier. It had absolutely everything within walking distance. I would highly recommend staying by Jumeirah Beach as it closely connected to most things.
I ate a lot of junk food in Dubai, it wasn’t intentional but fast food was very convenient. On my first night, I had KFC and it was nothing to write home about because we all know that Jamaica has the best KFC in the world. People have told me that Trinidad KFC could give Jamaica a run for its money, but I am yet to try it, so Jamaica still stands at number one, lol.
Panda Express was my go-to for lunch because the food was tasty and cheap lol. Chinese food is always a good idea and I rinsed this place out on a daily basis. However, for me, The Cheesecake Factory was hands down the best food that I had in Dubai on my trip. From the main meals right down to the desserts, The Cheesecake Factory was truly about that life. Please, please please it is not possible to visit Dubai without giving this place a try.
The Dubai mall felt like an adventure playground, with lots to see and even much more to do. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any major shopping. I was more focused on booking activities and making sure that I had money to eat and pay my share for taxi trips. I loved the mall, but I was super conscious about what I wore and how I conducted myself. I was not interested in getting arrested abroad for my family to be making sad appeals on Good morning Britain. I was on my best behaviour because I really didn’t want any problems. I am not sure how much things have changed now, but whenever I go away I make it my duty to adhere to the customs of that particular culture.
Dubai is not an easy place to travel around like London. It is filled with too many highways and one way systems that make short journeys 10 x longer. The taxi system was a bump back then. I disliked using the taxis because most drivers were rude and obnoxious. Especially to us Black women. It was just a complete nightmare. Hopefully, they now have Uber, but I wouldn’t even trust that either. The trains ran a much better service. It was efficient, clean and very easy to use. Although men, women and children were required to go into separate carriages or be at risk of getting a fine. I always recommend for travellers to use the local transport systems, as it allows you to get a real feel of the country that you are visiting.
The Nightlife in Dubai was pretty decent. Most of the clubs were situated in fancy hotels. Everything was plush, boujee and proper, just how I like it. Raving in Dubai never gave me that trashy feeling, everything felt expensive, lol. The clubs were strict, Ladies don’t think you can take your heels off and leave them in one corner, security will put you in check.
I found that there were more men than women in the clubs, but I kind of expected that. Men of all ages who made sure their money did all the talking, without any introductions. I received a few offers in Dubai, all of which I nicely declined. I didn’t fancy being pumped out for a few labels as it has never really been my thing, lol. The only downside to the Dubai nightlife is that ravers were allowed to smoke in the clubs. It was the worst thing ever, we had to wash our bundles daily just to get rid of the stench. YUCK.
My best clubbing experience in Dubai was at Cirque Le Soir. A boujee, circus theme nightclub, filled with burlesque dancers, fire eaters, an indoor funfair and multiple DJs. I had never experienced anything like it prior, but I would definitely recommend it if you want an unusual raving experience. The Dubai nightlife was pure fun, I even unexpectedly bumped into my sis @Mybreakingviews. We both went to secondary school together and it is amazing to now see where God is taking us on this Travel & Lifestyle blogging journey. Check out my sis, she has some great content out and even much more to come.
How did I forget to mention that I had a dance-clash with one of the local dancer girls at one Dancehall/Reggae party? I couldn’t believe she actually challenged me, lol the poor thing didn’t stand a chance. I wiped the floor with her but I felt so bad after so we ended up hugging it out. If you have ever seen the film Dancehall queen you will know exactly what I am talking about. If not, click here lol
I did the Dubai Bus tour and I hated it. I felt like we wasted a day driving around getting fried in the sun. It is a great way to learn about the history of Dubai and do some sightseeing, but it just wasn’t for me.
One activity I did enjoy was the Desert safari it was so sick and I am pissed that I lost most of my Dubai footage. The Desert safari package was definitely worth it, I did so many activities in one go. I got a chance to ride a camel again, see belly dancers, try on a burka and hijab and have dinner in the middle of the Desert. This activity comes highly recommended as it was great value for money, which I would like to experience do again.
I am not sure if I had mentioned this before, but I do not know how to swim. The time that I have been worried about being 26 & never been on a Bae-cation… I need to learn how to swim, lol. I will eventually, but whilst I was in Dubai your girl was clueless about swimming. It didn’t stop me from going on the Jet skis though. Sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway and I did just that.
On my last night in town, I went to visit The Burj Khalifa and it was nothing short of amazing. How can you visit Dubai and not go to see one of the world’s largest skyscrapers? Once I got to the top, I watched a lovely firework display and it truly was a sight to remember. What a good way to end such an amazing trip. I felt so proud that I was able to take myself to Dubai and be able to see such a major landmark. Below is my favourite picture from this trip, I was sitting inside of the Burj Khalifa admiring the view. I uploaded this on Instagram with a caption saying “Hello Burj Khalifa, I am just a little black girl coming from Myatt’s field estate, now as a Young Woman, I am exploring different parts of the world”.
One thing for sure, I have stayed true to that statement and I won’t stop travelling. I pray that God will spare my life to allow me to go out into the world and see much more of it.
DUBAI is an amazing place and if you haven’t already book a trip and get out there ASAP. I can’t wait to go back to explore and see all of the new developments since my last visit. Dubai will always be a yes for me and it is one of those places that I will always be up for going back to again and again.
My Next Travel blog post will be about my 2016 trip to Miami and you really don’t want to miss that.
Anyways my Loves, you can find me on all the socials @Jennasworldview
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Lots of love