Every 28 days, I have to leave Bahrain since I’m only here on a visitor’s visa. As my 28 days were up, this past weekend, we decided to head to Dubai for four days and three nights. It turned into a four days and three nights I could’ve done without.
To start out, both Josh and I were fighting a stomach virus the week before we left Bahrain and were still recovering from the tail end of the bug during the trip to Dubai. Our flight was early, leaving Bahrain at 7:15, but was only an hour long. It was the most turbulent flight I have ever been on and, of course, I got pretty air sick. Not a great start to the day.
After we landed, we took a car down to Abu Dhabi to Ferrari World, the world’s largest indoor theme park. They have the world’s fastest roller coaster there and, of course, Josh and I both LOVE roller coasters. Thankfully I slept a bit in the car and was feeling better after arriving at the park and having a bite to eat.
Unfortunately, not only was the park SUPER lame, but the fastest roller coaster in the in the world that for which we specifically went to Ferrari World was closed. And not just closed for an hour or so, but for the entire day. Basically we paid a lot of money for a really small car show (there were Ferrari’s strategically placed throughout the park).
During our drive back to Dubai, we hit the worst traffic I have ever sat in. Worse than SoCal, worse than Atlanta, worse than NYC, Boston or DC. An hour and a half drive took five hours. The traffic started during the last half hour of the drive, so I guess it is more accurate to say a half an hour drive took four hours. I ended up fighting a second wind of motion sickness during the drive. Fantastic.
The best part of the trip: the hotel. When we FINALLY arrived at the hotel, we were blessed with a pleasant man checking us in. He took pity on us an upgraded us to a suite. We crashed after a very long, very stressful, very disappointing day.
Day two started well. Woke up, had breakfast, and headed to the metro station so we could go to the Mall of the Emirates for the day. Well, on Fridays the Metro doesn’t open until 1:00 pm, so we had to take a cab instead. We spent some time at the mall, walked around in awe of the size of the place, and then headed back towards the hotel. I had booked a desert safari for Friday night with SUV rides through the desert at sunset, camel rides, henna tattoos, belly dancing show and a traditional Arabian dinner in the desert, pick up and drop off at our hotel included. The company, Arabian Adventures, that I had booked with was rated the highest onTripadvisor. We received an email confirmation and I double checked with a phone call to confirm the pick up location. I’m sure that if we had actually gotten to go on the tour it would’ve been great, but they never showed up to pick us up. After waiting for them for an hour, sitting on hold with the Arabian Adventures representative and then arguing with them that yes, it was their fault that they didn’t come pick us up (apparently the car had gone to a completely different hotel that was only a mile from where we were staying and didn’t bother to call our cell phone when we weren’t in the lobby waiting for them) and insisted on a refund.
We returned to our hotel room while I pouted, cried, and threw a mild temper tantrum. Josh went to work finding something else for us to do for the evening and decided on heading to the Dubai Mall at the base of the Burj Khalifa, the World’s Tallest Building, to visit the World’s Largest Aquarium. We took lots of pictures of lots of fish.
After standing in line for a taxi, we headed back to the hotel. The icing on the cake: our cab driver tried to take us for a ride. I told him we weren’t going to pay the entire fare because he wasn’t taking us where we told him to take us despite my directions. He yelled at me. I yelled at him. He yelled back. Josh yelled at him and told him either we weren’t going to pay the entire fare, or he could take us to the police station. He said he was headed to the police station. Well, he didn’t know where the police station was either (how he got a job as a taxi driver, I’ll never know) and we drove past our hotel “on the way.” When he realized he had passed our hotel, he tried to reconcile with us. We told him to stop the car, paid him a portion of the fair, and got out. We flagged down another cab and finally made it back to our hotel.
The next morning we decided to sleep in after the roller coaster of the day before. Unfortunately, we slept in a little too late and had to make a decision: day at the water park or dinner at the top of the Burj. We chose the water park. Big mistake. The organization of the park was very poor. Their locker system didn’t work. It was a zoo. And as soon as the sun started to go down, it was too cold for any of the big slides- standing up at the top of the towers was torture. We left the park and went to the movies. We say Olympus Has Fallen. God Bless America. After this trip, I have never been more grateful for the USA…
In addition to the misfortune we occurred while in Dubai, I did not have good experiences with the people. I was constantly ogled, pushed around (literally), and disrespected. I’ve never experienced a place where the people living there are so rude. If all of our plans had fallen apart but the people had been nice, I would probably give Dubai another chance.
Thankfully the next day we flew back to Bahrain. I will say it is much easier for me to get through customs when I’m with Josh and his handy dandy government passport and visa. They almost forgot to charge me BD5 for my visitor’s visa.
All in all, I will not be returning any time soon unless I have a REALLY good reason.