A lil' trip to Dubai seemed to be an excellent break from the bitter cold and short days in Paris. December is probably the best time to go to the Emirates. The weather is truly spring and the temperatures are perfect, so one can forget for a little while the tiring winter in Europe.
Even if you've heard about Dubai and for sure you know it from TV or magazines, it is quite impossible not to be surprised when you're actually there for the first time. World's tallest building and the largest shopping mall, the biggest indoor theme park and the largest aquarium, not to mention all that gold, literally dropping almost everywhere. Residents of Dubai definitely like to show off their wealth and often in a rather kitschy way.
The city is full of copies of famous New York skyscrapers, such as Chrysler Building for example. You will also be surprised to stumble upon the building looking pretty much like London's Big Ben. All this, and much more, owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the country's Vice-President, Prime Minister and the ruler of Dubai, all in one.
Constructed in no more than fifteen years, the city is impressive in both size and power, but unfortunately it didn't blow my mind with originality or fresh ideas. Dubai might be a proof that not everything can be bought. Good taste, elegance and sophistication - or the lack of them - are independent of wallet stuffed with money...
In hotels and restaurants, the mix of Islam in its very conservative form and some truly unbelievable Christmas decorations, looks totally surreal. Altogether with omnipresent Christmas carols, all this seems to be even more commercially oriented than in Europe.
As you can imagine, I was more than happy to visit the so-called old Dubai as well, with its famous Arab markets, which delighted me with colors, exotic fragrances and unique atmosphere. A jeep safari through the desert and a helicopter flight over the whole city, turned out to be an amazing experience too :)