Dubai Day 5: Meena Bazaar, Burj Khalifa & a Scrumptious Dinner at Dubai Fountain

Welcome to the last chapter of my trip to India and the Middle East! My parents and I are finally back in Toronto after a long and stressful journey home (more on that later). I’ve had a delightful sleep in my big, comfy bed for the last couple of nights, but keep waking up missing Dubai and the excitement of attending the Jubilee Games. When we left the house yesterday, Toronto felt boring compared to Delhi’s constant honking and insane driving!

We wanted to make the most of this past Sunday because, sadly, it was our final day in Dubai! We had the whole day to explore the city, so our first stop was Meena Bazaar, a famous shopping area in Bur Dubai. Contrary to popular belief, the Bazaar isn’t actually a souk (outdoor market); it’s a few streets filled with little shops selling clothes, jewellery, textiles, and souvenirs. After passing some empty streets lined with modern-looking buildings, we turned a corner and I immediately felt like we had stepped into a city in India. The streets were dirty with garbage and had puddles of something that did not look like just water, many of the buildings and stores appeared to be falling apart, and Indian men with thick accents harangued us to come inside their stores or buy knockoff designer handbags. I realized we were probably seeing the poorer parts of Dubai that people usually don’t talk about because they either forget about them or want to concentrate on the opulence within the newer parts of the city. While I understand that impulse – after all, rich sheikhs, magnificent buildings and over-the-top attractions are what Dubai is known for – it was a jarring reality check to see those few crowded streets, which were just a few minutes away from swanky hotels and shopping centres. If I ever go back to Dubai, I’ll take a river boat into the older parts of the city, where you can gain a better understanding of the authentic, day-to-day lives of the locals. I think that would be more interesting to see than Meena Bazaar, which felt like a tourist trap.  Continue reading

My Ultimate Travel Bucket List!

In my opinion, there are few things more exciting than exploring a new place. Everything is totally new, from the people you meet and the sights you see to the foods you eat. Of course, not all travel experiences are worth repeating, but hopefully we can learn from any unpleasant situations we may encounter in other countries. Your experiences while travelling are totally your own and you’ll never forget what you saw, heard or did that made a certain place so special. Here’s the bottom line: if you get an opportunity to travel, take it! Thanks to my parents, I’ve been able to travel to 23 countries in my 23 years. Whether it’s a cruise around the Galápagos Islands, a sunrise hike up to Machu Picchu or dinner on a Dhow in Zanzibar, those two are always up for an adventure and I’m so lucky to have accompanied them on some of their jaunts around the world. We’re hoping to visit Dubai and India this summer, which should be a real treat – as you can see below, those are two of the places on my current travel bucket list.

Here are another 23 places I’d absolutely love to visit, in no particular order. Feel free to comment on which ones you’ve been to and which ones you think I should include! Continue reading