Dubai: Then and Now

What changes first: a place or the memories?

Little over six years ago, I left Dubai – the place I was born and raised up in to go off in search of higher education and grand adventures. Since then, I’ve been asked numerous times whether I miss Dubai. My answer has always been the same: I miss the Dubai I remember.

Rapid industrialization and a growing expatriate community have ensured that over the years, Dubai remains in a constant state of improvement as it positions itself as a thriving tourist hub. In the past two decades, landscapes have changed, communities have changed, model towns have sprung up while other residential areas were renovated. While some things were preserved, a lot has changed. The Dubai I grew up in was not the Dubai I left or the Dubai it is now.

dubai-tourist-map-3

Image Credit: Mappery.com

For me, Dubai was nothing more than home. A collection of familiar, well trodden paths and landmarks that defined my childhood. I never saw the tourist attractions or the allure of one of the world’s hottest shopping destinations. For me, Dubai Summer Surprises meant school holidays. Desert safaris were school picnics. Atlantis meant a family picnic by the promenade. The majestic Sheikh Zayed Road with its impressive skyline was the bus route to school. The magnitude of malls, each more impressive than the other, just meant more choices to hang out after school or on the weekends.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t amazing places in Dubai that I miss. They’re just not the ones you’d find on a tourist map. Whenever a friend visiting Dubai asks for a recommendation, I usually point them to the places I’d visit if I ever went back:

Dubai

  1. A drive down Sheikh Zayed Road
  2. The abra (ferry) between Bur Dubai and Deira
  3. St. Mary’s Church
  4. Zabeel Park (Perfect for barbeques)
  5. The Gold Souk – A cobble-stoned boulevard lined with gold shops.
  6. A quaint heritage museum in the heart of Bur Dubai, down the road from Astoria Hotel (Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten the name) The museum shows you how trade began in the Emirates from fishermen to craftsmen to vendors in the souk. Definitely worth a visit 🙂

*This is part of the Writing 101 challenge (Day 16 + 17)

Have you been to Dubai? What would you recommend or are dying to visit?

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One thought on “Dubai: Then and Now

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