Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Didn’t Really Want To Go To Dubai - C J Carmichael

Dubai is a long flight of 18 hours from Calgary, and there are lots of other places, a lot of closer other places that were higher on my dream list of vacations--like Ireland and Greece, and hey, I’ve always dreamed of cycling in France.

But I’d promised my youngest daughter, who was only nineteen, that if she went for a 3 month work term, I would come to visit. And so, after she left in the beginning of January, I dutifully booked my tickets and hotel, never dreaming that I was soon to embark on a fascinating, wonderful holiday.

Despite recent financial woes, Dubai still comes across as a fabulously wealthy, modern and cosmopolitan city. There are the one-of-a-kind buildings like the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Dubai ( the tallest building in the world...thankfully not open for visiting when I was there!). There are amazing modern malls filled with world famous fashion designers and more jewelry stores than I have seen in my entire life. And the restaurants provide some of the best food I have ever tasted.

My daughter and I were able to visit a roof-top bar at the Embassy Hotel, where we lounged on a white, slip-covered sun bed, the sweet smell of shisha in the air as we sipped exotic cocktails and had our feet professionally massaged.

But more than all the glamour, I appreciated the glimpses into historic Dubai. The labyrinth of souks selling gold and diamonds, bags of spices and teas, and beautifully fashioned textiles. The real heart of this city seems to be at the creek where we saw old ships piled with merchandise from far-away places...a reminder that most of what is consumed and sold in Dubai, is grown or produced in other countries.

Many people have asked me if I will set one of my future books in Dubai. Much as I’d love to write the trip off as a research cost (just kidding Revenue Canada!) I honestly don’t think I ever could. I feel like I have only scratched the surface of a distant place, a distant culture. But I’m very glad that, thanks to a promise to my daughter, I was at least able to make a visit.

If you’d like to see more pictures of my holiday, please check out my Dubai photo album on Facebook. And if you have any Dubai stories (or any exotic holiday story) please share!

C J Carmichael


Lee Hyat said...

Lucky you, CJ! Sounds like you had a lot of fun. :)

I spent nearly 20 years in Dubai and I really hope I can go back for a visit one day.

Pat Cochran said...

I would really have to think a long
time on whether I would undertake
such a long airline flight. A ten
hour flight to Venice was about as
long as our legs could stand. Our
niece and her family just undertook
a 15-hour flight to Okinawa where
her husband will be stationed. They
arrived just in time for the recent

Pat Cochran

L'Aussie said...

Thanks for a fascinating account of an exotic destination. Great pics too...

Kathleen O'Brien said...

CJ, how exciting! I can understand your reluctance, but I also know how completely irresistible the idea of seeing your daughter must have been. I'm so glad you had a good time and learned such interesting things! I have your new book, and can't wait to read looks wonderful!

C. J. said...

Lee, what an amazing experience living in Dubai must have been. Now YOU are definitely qualified to write a book set there!

Pat, it was the length of the trip that had me concerned, too. But we did have a break in London on the way there, and Frankfurt on the way home.

Pat, I assume your niece and her family were fine? My eldest daughter was in Chile on a school field trip when the 8.8 earthquake struck. Boy was I one worried mama, until I heard they were all safe.

C. J. said...

Hi L'Aussie...I'm glad you enjoyed the pictures. I have lots you can imagine!

Hey Kathleen, how nice of you to pop by! I love the cover (and the title) of your May release-- Texas Trouble. Do you like new "Super" look?

Sue A. said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures! I always forget to have my camera on hand to take vacation pictures.