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Trip Report Dubai Trip Report

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Was there for two days, one day before going to Oman and one day after. I enjoyed it much more than expected.

The Dubai Mall, however, was awful, even worse than I imagined. Take the metro to the Dubai Mall station and then you still have to walk a good 20 minutes along those moving walkways (eight in total). Get inside and find hoards of people taking pictures of everything. To see the dancing fountain, you wait half an hour for a show that lasts about 30 minutes. Not worth it. Then it took 30 minutes to find the taxi stand, and another 20 minutes waiting in line for a taxi. It was encouraging, though, to find that many American chains that i thought didn't exist anymore are still alive and well, such as Bennigan's and Fudruckers.

The Dubai Museum and Sheik Saeed House are both quite interesting and highly recommended. Pay 3 dirhams to enter one, and the ticket gets you into the other which is about a 10 minute walk away.

Al Mamzer Beach was absolutely beautiful. I don't think this is even listed in the LP guide, which leaves a lot to be desired. No doubt the sand and the palms were brought in from elsewhere, but the beach is clean, there is plenty of shade for everyone, the water's clear and fairly warm and the whole day was wonderfully relaxing. Admission is 5 dirhams, taxis are available outside, and the signs say that Monday is for women and children only.

Despite what everyone says about Dubai being so expensive, I did not find that to be the case. Hotels, yes. But taxis, food, bottles of water and entry fees are all lower than here in the US.

For the first day, I was at the Sheraton Deira, which I highly recommend. It is close to the airport and in a local neighborhood with lots of non-touristy restaurants. There is a great rooftop pool where they played 80's music all day and if you like plane spotting, this is the place to be since they go right overhead. There were a few people up there with binoculars and logbooks.

For the second day, I opted for an Airbnb apartment in International City. This is where the workers live. It is not in any tourist guides or even on the maps, it is not particularly pretty and I wouldn't recommend it for women since the area is almost entirely young single men, but if you want something more authentics, you can't get any better than this. There are all sorts of Indian and Arab restaurants with very low prices and very friendly people. It is convenient to the airport, an easy taxi ride to Deira and Bur Dubai and about 25 minutes to Al Mamzer Beach. Just bring extra cash, since I never found a bank.

So if you are thinking of going, but fear it is too expensive, too touristy and too fake, you may be pleasantly surprised.

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