Listen, I learned my mistakes early on this trip. I didn’t have the best time for a portion of my stay, but I must admit, I was misguided to begin with. Morocco is my first and only African experience to date, and it quickly groomed me. With much reflection, I can calmly (and I … Continue reading Moroccan Madness
The running joke on this trip was my naming Koreans “The Black people of Asia”. LOL They know how to season some chicken and make a good cocktail. Like a kid on the first day of his favorite class, I raised my hand and yelled “present” for allll of this greatness. Some trips you return … Continue reading Booze, Bird, and My Seoul …The Chicken Joint
Many of you have been to Los Angeles, and if you haven’t, you should go. I’ve been a few times and it’s been epic each stay. It’s always a plus when you know someone where you’re going, and in the “City of Angels” I know a few really good people. L.A. is different from the … Continue reading Turned Loose in L.A. … The Cupcake Scenario
The route I took to Montevideo isn’t the standard. I did it this way to pinch some pennies, but only ended up pinching my nerves. I traveled every bit of a full day to get to Montevideo…a plane ride with a stop in Santiago, Chile for starters. Once in Chile, I had an almost two … Continue reading Moonlightin’ Montevideo
I was afforded a do-over for Paris and I couldn’t have been happier. I felt I missed out on so much the first time, and I was nowhere near as experienced of a traveler as I am now. I still have a lot to learn, but I’ve come along way from my first transatlantic trip … Continue reading Parisian Persuasion…Paris Revisited
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.
The pavement in the city almost landed me on my behind a few times…talking about ancient…lol. 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
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.
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.
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:
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)
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 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!
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.
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.