When in Rome

An eight-hour flight from Toronto to Rome landed me centuries back in history. Rome is a wonderful mix of architecture as far back to biblical days with a modern mesh of liberalism and old world charm. It’s as ancient as it is modern, and proved itself to be worth the trip. I’ll give you a few recommendations and the usual do’s and don’ts while in Rome.


Lets start with the currency. North America spoils us with the convenience of not having to carry cash, only using our debit and credit cards for purchases. Not the case in most, if not all of Europe. Western Europe is better but Rome is included with the majority. Definitely have some Euros on hand for restaurants and transportation purposes. American Express is almost never a favorite at all if you’re using credit.

Rome opening.jpg
Rome is busy in these streets 😉

The pavement in the city almost landed me on my behind a few times…talking about ancientlol. Make sure you’re careful when walking these age-old streets! I almost busted my face up a few times because of the uneven side walks and loose pavement. I was convinced for a minute that Rome was trying to keep me down. LOL


Orange Hotel

While in Rome, I stayed at the Orange Hotel. The good people at this lovely yet quant hotel reconfirmed why I love and recommend boutique hotels whenever possible. Boutique hotels have fewer rooms and have personalized services that are missed with the larger hotel chains. The décor is intimate in feel, and the hotel bar is stacked and not as expensive. Orange is minimalist and sleek with pops of orange that is it’s signature…oh… and the bar is slamming. A major perk is that it’s within walking distance of the Vatican.


Vatican exterior
Art made from the finest marble in the world
Vatican art from the walls to the ceiling
St. Peter’s Basilica
A few of the many marbled statues of the Vatican

By now, you know what I detest the most on a vacation, you guessed it…long tours. The Vatican Museum tour was a long one, but the Vatican is massive so that’s to be expected. But I do highly suggest the Vatican tour, and let me tell you why. The tour places you in the front of the line (Vatican tour lines are extremely long) and include an informative guide. I’m warning you now, it’s a ton of walking but the art and history knowledge that you gain is worth it.


Impressive interior of history
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Dude In Dubai

I was given a few travel warnings like, “Don’t wear shorts unless they’re past your knees”, “Make sure to only be in ear shot of one person if your conversation is remotely off color”, “Tank tops are NOT to be worn.” This was all before heading to Dubai for my birthday trip. I wanted to know all of them, because I didn’t want this blog becoming my journal of Locked Up.


After traveling 14 hours from Toronto non-stop, I arrived in Dubai around 7:00 P.M. (8 hours ahead of eastern standard time) to a scorching 90 degrees Fahrenheit. It was a sure reminder that I was in the desert.


Dubai is apart of the United Arab Emirates, making it a Muslim destination.  Although Dubai is very liberal in comparison to other cities and nations in the region, there are some cultural etiquettes and exchanges one should know.


When traveling, make sure you’re conscious of the train car you enter on. In Dubai they’re divided by men, women, and mixed.

• Always have their currency, the Emirati Dirham, on hand. Some merchants and most cabs will not take credit cards. ATM’s are readily available.

• Dubai is liberal with foreigners as far as their wardrobe, however be mindful to not offend by revealing too much. I was fine with tank tops and shorts.


I loathe long tours with short stops because they limit the time I have to explore sections of the destination. Long speeches about history while your sitting on a hot bus and not being able to wander and learn for yourself is a NO GO for me. Hell, I think my words here are starting to become lengthy..LOL. 

Here is the must see attractions I was able to get to:

Burq Khalifa
Just so you can understand how massive the Burq Khalifa is in size


The Burq Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world and an impressive structure to see. If you want, there’s a tour that will take you to the top floor and give you a certificate for doing so. Seeing it from the outside was good enough for me. (LOL)


Jumeirah Mosque
Dubai Museum, A great stop with the Dubai City Tour.
Dubai Museum, Traditional Middle Eastern Costumes
Jumeirah Beach

Remember, don’t give me long tours! (LOL) The Dubai City Tour was perfect. It didn’t monopolize my entire day and I was transported through out the city to see Dubai’s finest architecture, the Dubai Museum, Palm Island, the residential areas, and the beach.



Dubai Mall


Dubai Aquarium inside the mall, One of the largest suspended aquariums in the world
Myself, standing in front of one of the many waterfalls in Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall Ice Skating Rink
This photo is hilarious because it captures exactly how many stared at me in Dubai. I guess tall black men with long dreadlocks are rare.

Dubai has the largest mall in the world by total area. I can’t even begin to tell you everything in it, but I’ll share some. There’s an aquarium, ice skating rink, massive waterfalls, and more food than you can think of.  The shopping caters to the super wealthy and the aspiring ones like myself.  (LOL) You have variety for sure!

Apple Strudel, Coconut Ice-cream, and champagne at Asia Asia
View of the Marina from Asia Asia

Thanks to a special couple living there, one of the highlights of my trip to Dubai was dining on the marina. The beef brisket at Fume’ has to be the best I’ve ever had. I’m coming back for it!

For dessert and cocktails, we headed up to Asia Asia. It was my birthday, so you know I had to have some sweets and throw a couple back! The view of the marina and the ambiance ….BEAUTIFUL! I’m personally not big on Apple Strudel but this one was a winner with the coconut ice-cream on the side. Between the dessert, champagne, and the scotch…Asia Asia was the night cap my birthday needed.

Desert Safari
Camel ride..paired up LOL
Food, bar, and belly dancers in the desert


Another tour that was worth the time and money was the Oasis Tour. It was 180 AED, which exchanges to $50.00USD and $65.00CAD. This excursion includes an SUV ride in the desert, a short camel ride, and a meal with belly dancer entertainment. Although this tour took a huge chunk of our day (which under normal circumstances would be a problem), the food was good and the entertainment matched. The camel ride was short, and after riding one, that worked for me as well. I didn’t care for having to partner up with someone for a single camel ride. It wasn’t the picture I wanted for this blog. You know, me riding off into the sunset on a camel with someone else behind me. LOL  Still worth the time and money for those who want a true desert experience.


Now I’m asked, would I visit Dubai again? Not only would I, but I have another trip planned already to return. (However), Dubai is a destination to unwind, shop, and check out some cool yet odd things, such an ice skating rink in a mall that’s in the desert. Dubai is in its infancy as a city in comparison to most cities, so if you’re looking for history and loads of culture, Dubai isn’t your destination. When you think of Dubai, think of Las Vegas minus the gambling and sometimes rogue behavior. It’s a fun adult playground in a Middle Eastern desert.

Awesome time in the desert

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