Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bur Dubai

I have my mamaji and family AND mausiji and family settled 15 minutes away from each other in Dubai. Mamaji, who is unreasonably warm and unconditionally hospitable! My mainji, the coolest. Charmingly sweet and very friendly. Nanaji and naniji, who are sweethearts! And 2 very spontaneous, young, smart and excitingly interesting cousins.  As if this wasn't enough, my mausaji is cheerful and extremely pleasant, mausiji just the way I would have imagined her and the most adorable cousin sister i could have asked for!

Now that I have described about the people who took real good care of me in Dubai, let me come back to my blog. Like few new borns are unleashed into this world with names already thought of by their parents, I unleash this post into my blog world. As soon as I got to know that the new Dubai beyond the creek is called bur Dubai, I knew it would be what I name my next blog.

Lets start with a few interesting facts:
- There is no 'P' in the Arabic script. So, Pepsi is pronounced Bebsi and Par Dubai meaning the Dubai nadiya ke paar, becomes Bur Dubai.
- There are 7 emirates which form the UAE and the sand from each emirate is of different colour! 
- Everything beautiful, except for the Arab ladies, in Dubai, is man made.
- The tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, is 80% unoccupied.
- Driving in India seems tough because no one really follows rules, but honestly, driving in Dubai where all rules are being followed is equally tough if not any less.
- All cars in Dubai are automatic, unless you are Dune Bashing.
- DPS expands to Delhi PRIVATE School. Because you cannot own property in UAE unless you are an Arab.
- The TV we watch here and in Dubai are the same for any channel (eg. Sony) but the ads there are sourced in Dubai and are different. 
- I didnt know of the relatives I visited in Dubai a year back.

Thanks to Neha, my cousin who added me on FB a year back and explained to me how I was her 2nd cousin. To my pleasant ignorance I realised I hadnt known of my nanaji's part of the family tree till last year. He passed away when I was really young and most of the part of the tree has its branches abroad. But inexcusable because those were the branches ladden with the juiciest of fruits!

Dubai is known for its shopping festival. And why not, the only thing the King has done, apart from ruining Dubai's economy, is build huge, magnificent structures in the form of malls, offices and even residential complexes. The prices are not very different from what we have in India but it just feels better to shop there...

I, for the first time in my life, had a speed boat ride. 80 miles per hour in the open sea with an ear to ear smile out of excitement and occasional weird sounds from my stomach. It was one of the most enjoyable rides I've ever had, dune bashing being a quick second. When you sit in a 99.7 lakhs worth SUV by toyota and the driver makes the car jump in open desert, with you in it, its called Dune Bashing. I also rode a ATV for around 30 minutes. It took me aprox. 3 laps to figure the vehicle out and then there was no stopping me! Inspired by the Dune Bashing, I rode it with its accelerator twisted as much as it could have been. After the 6th lap I wouldnt slow down even at the turns... One of a kind experience!

Fast mechanics wasnt the only exciting thing there, the desert safari offers a very charming arabian dance. They promise you a belly dance but trust me it wasnt the belly dance I was expecting. I even have doubts if the girl was really arabic. She looked more Russian! Anyhow, she was worth watching!

Of all the amazing days I spent in Dubai there was this one day which was supposed to be the Gold Shopping day. If you didnt know, Dubai has a whole market (known as sukh in arabic) dedicated to Gold called 'The Gold Sukh'. And I swear on the heaviest Gold Necklace in that market that it had not even a single shop selling anything apart from Gold. The closest object apart from Gold jewellery which the market could offer was Gold Watches. I got to know that for me, 5th April born baby, diamonds and aquamarine are the lucky stones. I always knew I was high maintenance. Anyways, I passed time clicking pictures, while mum shopped and dad sweated.

The most important factor of any new place you visit is its local cuisine. I am talking about the Arabic food. They believe in starting their meal with a Roti which they call bread with which they have various kinds of chutneys. They turn any random vegetable into a chutney and have it with the bread. Not very impressive. It looked like a deep routed conspiracy as I found that after that course of the meal, came the real treasures of tikkas and roasted delicacies.

Every tourist wishes to take back memories from the place he/she visits, gifts for the near and dear ones... For this, tourist locations have souvenir shops! Dubai had a Souvenir mall! The 7 sands captured in a frame, key chains with the Burj Khalifa, decorative plates with images, apparels, pens, bookmarks, mouse pads and what not! We brought back quiet a few for our friends and family.

Talking of friends, I got to meet a lot of wonderful people at a restaurant called Cactus Jack. It was a mexican place where Neha arranged for her B'day treat. Neha is a passout of IMT Dubai and has friends  for there. I was so impressed to see how random and lively the group was! And they let me gel in as smoothly as a knife slides in butter. Not to mention, 2 drinks down, every guy says to every other guy, 'Arey! Tu to mera bhaaai hai re!!'  But really, would never forget the night!

Overall it was a very nice trip... We all came back very happy and satisfied. Its a very nice place to visit but I have my apprehensions about staying there. If you want to settle in Dubai you should know that you would never be a citizen there, you would always be on visa, to be renewed every 6 months. The day you loose your job, you are kicked out of the country. Secondly, because you are always in A/C your kids become very delicate. Even mosquito bites look like tumours on their skin. Thirdly, healthcare is very expensive there. Finally, you are deprived of natural beauty, of green, of the birds and the animals. But yes, if you like to live in amazing houses, work in lavish offices, drive expensive cars and eat delicious roast and tikkas! Dubai is definitely the place to be!