In the mysterious land of Dubai
It has been a couple of weeks since we returned from our great journey to the magical place called Dubai, and our emotions and memories are still incredibly vivid.
This is the last trimester of my pregnancy, so on one hand, it was a bit scary for us to take up such an adventure with little Aveline. On the other hand, this also stimulated us to use this last chance for a far away vacation before our second baby arrived. I consulted with my midwife, collected all the necessary papers for the plane, and we packed our bags to start our trip with the 6-hours flight to the yet unknown land.
It probably sounds tiring for some people to go to such a far away destination being pregnant and with a baby in our arms. That was actually what we expected too, however the city proved us wrong. Everything was so well-organized by MyDubai and the itinerary was so exciting and well-planned for children that by the end of the trip we wished we could stay longer.
It all started with the most family-friendly hotel we stayed at, Atlantis the Palm. After the long, yet comfortable flight with Emirates, we were picked up by our polite taxi driver, were quickly helped at the reception desk and could finally land onto our so deeply desired bed.
The Atlantis Hotel, or I must rather say, that gigantic family resort has everything you could wish for, including the biggest aqua park in the world, a huge aquarium that Aveline loved so much, professional spa, shopping center, restaurant district and even the royal suite at the top floor overlooking the whole city of Dubai.
Here I have to mention that one of the moments I was looking forward for most in this trip was meeting up with an amazing family that we met through Instagram. You probably know Masha (@masha_theone), her Italian husband and adorable children Riccardo and Veronica. So the pleasant meeting with them awaited us on the first morning of our stay in Atlantis.
All together we started exploring the city with the visit to the vertical tropical forest, the Green Planet. The children were under an impression by the exotic flora and fauna around them, by the closeness of all those wild animals, by the colours, smells and sounds of this realistic experience.
Our next stop was the famous Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world, where we could observe the whole Dubai from its 124th floor. Well, to be precise, Midas and I were enjoying the view when we suddenly realized that Aveline was out of sight. It didn’t take us long to find out that the big crowd of Indian and Chinese tourists at the other side of the floor gathered around our attention-loving daughter, who felt completely comfortable posing in front of their cameras and phones. After all the hugs, kisses, pictures and kind wishes of those friendly people, we could finally take off to tame our hunger after that long day full of experiences.
Watching the famous singing fountains of Dubai, with the sunset on one side and the Burj Khalifa above our heads, we enjoyed our dinner at the Rooftop Burj Club restaurant. Indeed, I used the word “enjoy” because it was us, parents, who were dining comfortably in silence while the staff of the restaurant was literally babysitting our children. Don’t get me wrong, that is not some special service that you get there. It was purely their free will to look after our kids. The amazing thing is, I have never in my life met people that loved babies as much as people of Dubai. Whenever we looked away for a minute, our communicative Aveline always appeared in someone’s arms. A group of students would stop us in the street to ask for the permission to take pictures holding her. And of course, her every desire was fulfilled in a blink of an eye even before we had a chance to politely refuse it (imagine how hard it was for her to adjust to the reality when we got back home!).
In the next two days we got to experience more of what Dubai had to offer: the divine beaches, the spa relaxation while Aveline was taken care of in the children club, the best restaurants, the water attractions. However the most impressive of all was our desert safari. I know it sounds quite extreme to go on a safari when you are 8 months pregnant. However it is a completely different story when you choose for the Platinum Heritage tour in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve.
As a start, we had an hour-long drive with a surprisingly well-educated guide, who entertained us with incredible facts about Dubai. Did you know that one could get a life-long ban to enter the emirate for showing any national discrimination towards another person? Or that the government provides each citizen with a house when they get married? Or that there is an ER point at every 5 km in the whole emirate?
We didn’t notice how the time passed when we arrived to the desert. And before we arrived to the Bedouin camp to enjoy the traditional meals, dances and camel rides, we got to evidence probably one of the most breathtaking experiences I had ever had in life.
You stand among the dunes and all you see around yourself are the waves of sand, golden, purple and red in the evening light, and the huge burning disc of the descending sun in front of you. You see your hair flapping in front of your eyes, you taste grains of sand on your lips, you feel two warm palms in yours, one of your baby, one of your love. And you realize that such a moment is greater than the whole world. It is always too short to enjoy and you will remember it for years to come…
Dubai impresses the visitor basically at every step. You expect a more old-fashioned, or at least a very traditional, Eastern culture but what you see is a fascinating mixture of the East and the West. You observe the impossible: starting from a highly developed, clean and blooming oasis in the middle of the desert and ending with the mentality of the multicultural and multireligious community. Its members truly respect for each other. The Dubai government cares for its inhabitants, and the people talk about their emirate with the love and passion that I hadn’t come across in any other nation before. On one hand, women in the streets wear a burqa and there are bidding rooms next to each bathroom. On the other hand, camels in the popular camel races are being ridden by automated robot jockeys, and all the drinking water of the emirate is obtained by the most modern desalination plants.
I guess it would be correct to say that Dubai is a true miracle. It is a dream we would love to visit again some day.