About a month ago I was lucky enough to travel to the United Arab Emirates, both to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, for work. We did have to spend a day in meetings but the majority of the week was spent experiencing everything the UAE has to offer. I was only in Abu Dhabi for a night and naturally managed to take zero pictures with my big camera as I was still in recovery from the 24 hours of traveling it took to get there. But let me tell you, our five star hotel was a-maz-ing.
The daytime heat rivaled the heat I experienced on the Amazon in Peru with highs around 106 degrees and overnight lows in the mid 90s. I can only be thankful that it was September and not July when your typical day hovers around 115! The city is under constant construction, always trying to outdo itself with something bigger and better. We went up to the top of the Burj Khalifa, better known as the tallest building in the world, which had spectacular views at the top of the 60 second elevator ride to the 124th floor. After that we hit up the local spice and gold market where you could get saffron at a fraction of the price that you'd see in the US (though the gold was priced as you'd expect it to be). We followed that up with a walk down to the beach to swim in the Persian Gulf, by far the hottest body of water I've ever been in.
We spent one evening at the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve where we went dune driving followed by camel rides and a cookout in the middle of no where. A few of us risked getting the super fine sand into our cameras and played with some long exposures from the top of a nearby dune after dark - definitely could have done that for hours! The entire night was one of those times that you couldn't quite believe where you were, like something you only see in the movies; a total bucket list item if there ever was one.
If there was a city to compare Dubai to, I'd say its Vegas. You don't really need more than a few days there but experiencing excess of the city is totally worth it. It was so fun to go somewhere totally unlike anywhere else I'd been. Below are a few of my favorites from the trip, as always I wish I had taken more!