Sun sets on the Burj al ArabWe
are back to Doha after a very eventful trip. By saying eventful I’m referring
to a major occurrence that fortunately left us in one piece. On the second day of
our trip we were involved in a serious car accident, which we escaped miraculously with only
a few bruises.

The accident took place at noon while Dalia was taking us on a Dubai tour. Everything was going well and we were enjoying a pleasant conversation while touring this amazing city when we were forcefully hit by a car from behind causing Dalia’s Honda SUV to swerve to the right. The accident didn’t stop here as we were immediately hit again, this time in the right front door by the same car (a Mini Cooper, if anyone is interested).

The crash was caused by a crazy young driver who was speeding and lost control of his vehicle. Thank God we were unharmed. We were also very thankful that two-month old Sanad was tightly strapped into his car seat and came out of the accident in a good shape. Right after the crash, we went to the hospital to make sure we were all good. Both Jeff and I were given Voltaren shots to ease any expected pain in the future.

Dubai Creek view
Regardless of this disturbance, we managed to enjoy our time in this mini-Manhattan of a city. The day after the big accident we took the Big Bus Tour which introduced us to Dubai’s landmarks and included stops at places such as the Dubai Museum and Merkato Mall among others. I recommend the bus trip for anyone visiting Dubai, especially those in the city for a short period of time. It is a very efficient and entertaining way to get to know the major landmarks.

As for my overall impression of Dubai, well, it is quite impressive with many things to see and places to visit. It was also very fascinating to see how this cosmopolitan place is still expanding at a world-record pace as construction is almost everywhere. For some reason, it seems like the rulers of Dubai are still not content with its highly acclaimed reputation and are working diligently to make sure it has the best of everything: the world’s biggest mall, the world’s tallest building, the world’s best airport, the world’s biggest water park …etc! It’s a bit too much and somehow feels wrong being so out of this world.

Those were my Dubai’s impressions for the day, I think I will write more in the coming days. Meanwhile, I will leave you with a travel log that I started when we first got there. Because of the trip circumstances, I only managed to write a travel log on the first day. I might add to it later. We’ll see. Comments are always welcome.

Day 1 ~ October 11

We arrived in Dubai at around 10:30 am local time after a smooth one-hour trip. After we picked up our rented car from the airport, we hit the road on our own — aided only by a map from Lonely Planet‘s guide to Dubai. With Jeff’s amazing sense of direction, we managed to find our way to the Hotel Intercontinental with no sweat.

CreeksideHowever, we were a bit taken aback with the amount of the traffic that we encountered on the way. The place is just jam-packed and driving in this cosmopolitan city was nerve-wracking.

After we checked in at the hotel, Dalia showed up with Sanad and we spent some time chatting in the room and getting ourselves introduced to her charming little boy. He is so adorable and definitely the ‘mini-me’ of his dad, Duri.

The first place we visited was of course the infamous City Centre. For many, this place is one of Dubai’s must-sees. I have to agree. This mall offers shoppers a wide range of various international brands in addition to a versatile food court. We were primarily interested in Ikea, Radioshack, and Magrudy’s bookstore.

I had an interesting encounter at the bookstore while I was trying to find Thomas Friedman’s latest book. I was surprised to learn that the book was “banned”. Yes you heard me right! Ironically enough, for a city that thrives to be a world business destination, Friedman’s scribbles seem to be a cause of concern.

The sun sets on Burj al ArabWhile we were still at the mall, we had a nice lunch with Dalia and Sanad at a place called Pizzaria Uno. Sanad was a well-behaved baby most of the time except for the occasional “feed me” or “change my diapers” cries.

We headed back to the hotel after maybe a three-hour visit to chill . We rested for a bit and got ourselves ready for the next adventure. Our second adventure of the day was a night dhow cruise of the Creek, which luckily enough we overlooked from our wonderful hotel room. We took a one-hour trip, which was very enjoyable, as we got to see Dubai’s famous towers erected along the creek. What was nice about the trip was the weather and the fact that we had the whole dhow to ourselves.

Before calling it a day we went to Wafi City, which is a complex of restaurants and a trendy shopping mall. The place is very posh and built as a pharanoic temple. Although the place is extremely pleasant to see it is somehow make-believe with desperate efforts to create this Egyptian ambiance. All in all it was a very fine day. The city is exciting with many things to see and many aspects to admire.