Jani Jermans – Travel Diaries

December 31, 2023

Dubai Chronicles: A Journey of Unforgettable Experiences

Filed under: International Travel — jani @ 9:25 am

Embarking on my second journey to Dubai this year, the anticipation was heightened as I prepared to attend the HR Leaders conference. Dubai, with its opulence and endless possibilities, never ceases to charm me, making each visit a unique and unforgettable experience.

This time, opting for a single-entry visa for 30 days, I chose Emirates as my airline of choice. With a reputation for unparalleled hospitality, Emirates has consistently exceeded expectations, solidifying its place as my go-to airline for future travels. The additional cost incurred is justified by the exceptional experience they offer, making it a worthwhile investment.

Day 1: Arrival and Hotel Surprises

The anticipation reached its peak as I boarded the afternoon flight to Dubai from Delhi. The seamless four-hour journey concluded with a smooth landing in the vibrant city. It dawned on me that, unlike my previous visits through Etihad which lands in Abu Dhabi, I was now facing Dubai’s immigration process for the first time.

The Dubai immigration experience, in comparison to Abu Dhabi, proved to be a bit time-consuming, involving multiple gates and terminals. Navigating through this labyrinth, I finally cleared immigration, hopped on the metro, and joined the bustling crowd in retrieving my baggage.

Opting for an Uber, my destination was the Tamani Hotel Marina. Upon checking in, I found my initial excitement dampened as the room allocated seemed uncomfortably cramped. A quick call to a friend who recommended the place resulted in valuable advice – ask for a room change. Despite my initial reluctance, I approached the hotel staff, who promptly relocated me to a more spacious and comfortable room.

Grateful for the assistance, I sought dining recommendations from the predominantly Malayali hotel staffs. They enthusiastically pointed me to Marina Kitchen, a Kerala restaurant. I placed an order for soup and chicken shawarma, finding the fare decent. With an early start planned for the next day, I retired for the night, eager to explore more of Dubai’s diverse offerings.

Day 2: Conference Insights and Networking

The day unfolded with a rich tapestry of insights as I immersed myself in a conference hosted at Address Dubai Marina. This gathering proved to be a reunion of sorts, reacquainting me with speakers I had encountered at a Riyadh event a few months prior. The opportunity to reconnect and share perspectives added a layer of familiarity to the vibrant atmosphere.

While the networking experience was noteworthy, my mind drew comparisons to the enthusiastic crowd in Riyadh, finding the camaraderie there to be particularly memorable.

Address Dubai Marina, the chosen venue for the conference, left an indelible mark. The event was masterfully managed in a spacious ballroom, where counters laden with snacks and sandwiches were strategically placed at the rear. This considerate arrangement allowed attendees to partake in refreshments without missing out on the engaging talks.

The organizers displayed an impressive commitment to attendee satisfaction, regularly replenishing the snack counters with an array of tempting items. A substantial lunch further complemented the day’s proceedings.

Post-conference, I returned to the comforting confines of Tamani Hotel Marina, seamlessly transitioning from professional engagements to personal tasks. A productive work session ensued, culminating in a well-deserved night’s rest as I recharged for the adventures that lay ahead in the dynamic city of Dubai.

Day 3: Floral Paradise and Global Exploration

The day unfolded with a leisurely start, waking up late and succumbing to the demands of pending work. In the midst of a productive work session, I decided to indulge in a culinary delight, opting for Malabar dum biryani. While it proved to be a satisfactory choice, the day had more exciting prospects awaiting.

Following a friend’s timely advice, I set out for the renowned Dubai Miracle Garden around 3 PM. The guidance proved invaluable, ensuring a seamless transition to my next destination—the enchanting Miracle Garden.

Dubai Miracle Garden: A Symphony of Blooms

Dubai Miracle Garden, a horticultural masterpiece and the world’s largest natural flower garden, beckoned with its extravagant display. Adorned with over 50 million flowers and 250 million plants, the garden unfolded like a vibrant canvas. Petunias dominated the landscape, creating captivating designs and landscapes that left a lasting impression. As an enthusiast of flower gardens, this was indeed my version of heaven.

Navigating the garden solo allowed me to appreciate the breathtaking blooms at my own pace. The result was a collection of cherished photographs capturing the mesmerizing floral tapestry.

Global Village: A Cultural Extravaganza

Following the floral interlude, I made my way to Global Village, a cultural mosaic that brings together 90 countries under one roof. The attraction seamlessly blends shopping, dining, and entertainment, offering a comprehensive experience without the need to venture elsewhere.

Embarking on a journey through the cultures of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and beyond, I explored various countries, immersing myself in their unique offerings. The experience was a shopper’s paradise, with intriguing finds from Turkey, perfumes from Oman and Morocco, South Korean dresses, African body butter, and Turkish accessories—choices that left me spoiled for alternatives.

As the clock approached midnight, signaling the gradual closure of shops at Global Village, I decided to make a final culinary pit stop before calling it a night. Aiming to satiate my palate with delectable delights, I opted for a delightful duo—milk cake and Kunafa—from a local shop near the main entrance.

However, upon reaching the hotel and eagerly unwrapping my culinary treasures, a surprise awaited. The eagerly anticipated Kunafa was conspicuously absent, a minor hiccup in an otherwise delightful culinary exploration. Despite the oversight, the milk cake managed to steal the show with its deliciousness, offering a sweet note to conclude my day of floral wonders and cultural immersion.

With taste buds satisfied and a lingering sweetness in the air, I retired for the night, eagerly anticipating the adventures that awaited me in the vibrant city of Dubai.

With shopping bags and memories in tow, I retired for the night, ready to embrace whatever adventures the next day in Dubai had in store.

Day 4: Work and Friend’s Reunion

Embarking on another day in the bustling city of Dubai, I began with a breakfast order of Idly from Marina Kitchen, a culinary choice that, unfortunately, failed to meet expectations. Undeterred, I delved into a day filled with business engagements and personal connections.

Embarking on the morning with a business meeting at Damac Business Tower, I had the pleasure of meeting Ammar. Upon returning to the hotel, I ordered a rice and fish combo along with fish pollichadhu from Marina Kitchen, which, unfortunately, turned out to be quite disappointing. Undeterred, I delved back into work tasks. The day then transitioned from professional commitments to personal connections as I set out for Aquilla’s place.

Navigating through the city posed an unexpected challenge due to road closures for maintenance, turning what should have been a straightforward journey into a prolonged and unexpectedly expensive Uber ride. Despite the hurdles, reaching Aquilla’s residence brought a wave of warmth as I reunited with Aquilla, Jerry, their kids, and Jerry’s mother. Laughter, shared stories, and genuine connections made the visit memorable. However, the impending early-morning flight dictated a reluctant farewell. By the time I returned to the hotel, the clock had struck 1:30 AM, prompting a quick packing session before catching a few hours of sleep ahead of the next leg of the journey.

Day 5: A Day of Unfortunate Mishap and Resilience

The day dawned with the anticipation of travel to Jeddah, necessitated by a shift in plans and a series of important meetings. However, fate had a different agenda for the day.

In an unfortunate turn of events during the journey, a mishap occurred enroute to airport as a flask of scalding hot water spilled onto my lap. The searing pain of first-degree burns instantly engulfed me, rendering me in shock and discomfort. Upon reaching the airport, the severity of the burns became apparent as I inspected my peeling skin in the restroom. In a state of distress, I reached out to Sur, who recommended applying boroline from the medical kit.

The airport’s counter staff proved to be a source of relief, reassuring me about the availability of extra luggage space for my additional bag. Despite the physical and emotional toll, I managed to check in, finding solace in a comforting chicken puff and cappuccino at a café. The warmth of the food provided the strength needed to endure the pain.

Upon landing, my friend was ready with the necessary medicines. While initially prepared to rush me to the hospital, I assured of my improved condition, thanks to the burn cream and bandage that was already bought. Grateful for the care and support of good friends, I proceeded to rest and attend meetings over calls, forced into an unplanned period of recovery.

Days 6 & 7: Recovery and Local Delights in Jeddah

The next two days in Jeddah unfolded as a period of rest and recovery, prompting the cancellation of all in-person meetings and outdoor explorations. Instead, I found solace in exploring the culinary delights that Jeddah had to offer, turning the focus to food and relaxation.

During this time of recuperation, I ventured into the diverse world of Jeddah’s cuisine, sampling dishes that promised comfort and satisfaction. Some of the notable culinary experiences included savoring Kabuli Biryani, indulging in Bukhari Biryani, enjoying an Egyptian Breakfast, and relishing the sweet treat of Basbosa, a delightful dessert.

Among the delicacies ordered for takeaway was Kunafa, a popular Middle Eastern pastry known for its sweet, syrupy layers. This allowed me to enjoy the flavors of Jeddah from the comfort of my resting space, turning moments of recovery into a gastronomic journey.

These days, though marked by physical recovery, became a culinary exploration of the rich and diverse food culture that Jeddah had to offer, adding a delightful dimension to a period of much-needed rest.

Day 8: Healthy Breakfast and Departure

The concluding chapter of my journey unfolded as I prepared to return home from Dubai. Starting the day with a wholesome breakfast of overnight-soaked oats in almond milk, adorned with chia seeds, almonds, and pecan nuts, set a healthy tone for the day.

Flynas, the chosen airline from Jeddah to Dubai, unfortunately omits the terminal number on the ticket. An online check revealed the crucial detail, steering me toward the appropriate location.

Navigating through the intricacies of airline procedures, an unexpected scenario unfolded as I reached the airline counter. When questioned about my travel destination, I mentioned Bangalore. To my surprise, they offered to transfer my bag to Emirates in Dubai. However, crucial details about an additional cost were withheld, and my consent was assumed, leading to an unforeseen expense.

Undeterred by this surprise, I proceeded to the gate, only to find a dearth of duty-free shops, a consequence of alcohol restrictions. Despite the absence of anticipated items, I seized the opportunity to pick up a thoughtful gift—dates for Sur’s parents. With this unexpected turn of events, I boarded the flight bound for Dubai, marking the final segment of my eventful journey.

As I touched down in Dubai, the challenges persisted, with the bandage causing discomfort against the wound during the transit between airports. Each step required careful consideration, prompting frequent restroom stops for adjustments. Navigating through terminals and a change in transport mode, I encountered an unexpected hurdle at the counter—a hefty $90 charge to retrieve my suitcase from Flynas, a detail undisclosed earlier.

Undeterred, albeit with the bandage in tow, I took a moment to indulge in a quick bite at a café and explore duty-free offerings. Finally, as I landed in Bangalore, my first priority was to remove the bandage, allowing the healing process to commence.

This trip, marked by its share of unexpected twists, has concluded with the assurance that time will gradually fade the marks, leaving behind memories of another eventful adventure. Until the next journey unfolds, farewell!


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