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I like to feel the destination, not only to visit it. I will try again with Dubai

15 November 2012 United Arab Emirates 1 comment

Sights of Dubai

Many times, when I reach a certain place, a city, I like to walk around on the streets, sometimes aimless, to use the public means of transportation, to look at people, sometimes get into a conversion with God knows who. I don’t know, I feel the need to measure the town’s pulse, to feel that “vibe”. Obviously, it is purely subjective. It depends on the emotional state I am in that moment, on the weather, on the period of the year when I go. There are cities that you fall in love with instantly, and there are cities that you have to digest.

One example is Cairo. I like Cairo. I like it a lot. You will tell me it is dirty, that traffic is a chaos, that all vendors jump on you, that you have to negotiate. Yes, I agree. But, in Cairo, I always felt an energy that isn’t to be found in any other part of the world, an appetite for life, a city that attracted me not necessarily through its museums and monuments, but with its street life. I have been to Cairo ten days before the Egypt Revolution began. I stayed there about 8 hours, between the plane that brought me from Addis Abeba and the one that was going to carry me to Larnaca in order to catch the flight back home. And I immediately felt a hesitant, sad and depressed Cairo. I was shocked to catch the placidity of the “Babyrus” vendors (Egyptians cannot pronounce “p”, they rather pronounce “b”), with an unimaginable uncaring attitude. Where were the hordes that used to chase you with their papyrus in their hands and a smile on their lips? I was with someone that has never been to Egypt before and I thought of giving her  a short “Egypt” sample, so to say … what can you see in a few hours? The Pyramids and the Citadel of Mohammed Ali. And I told her that this is not the Cairo I know. Ten days later, the Egyptian Revolution erupted that led to the overthrowing of the Mubarak regime.

In Peru, I was marked by the sadness of the descendents of the great Inca people. I thought it is because of the harsh life at 4000 meters above sea level, obviously, combined with centuries of colonial oppression that continues even today (Peru is independent starting almost 200 years ago, but the heirs of the Spanish colonists are still in power). So, I was convinced that geography plays a primordial role. A few years later, I arrived in Tibet, another country located at 4000 meters altitude, with people that are under foreign occupation. But the Tibetans are some cheerful spirits, they laugh out of anything… they laugh from all of their hearts, showing their lacking teeth. Their culture has been trashed, the Dalai Lama gods have been banished and the bodies of the holly Dalai Lama dead, burned. And, although you feel the tension in the air, it is somehow sweetened by the cheerful Tibetans.

Sometimes, I love some cities that appear decrepit at first sight. Let’s take Porto. Besides the huge bridges over Douro, I cannot name any wow monument… but the old, pretty ruined neighborhoods though, pulsating with life, the river that makes sense here and why not, the Porto wine made it all very likeable to me.

On the other hand, Johannesburg seemed to me from the start to have a “bad karma”. The fortress-like walls, the electric wires around each house, the lack of sidewalks and of people on the streets suggested a fierce city, a city dominated by evil, malefic spirits…it is still a city built on many human sufferings although is isn’t but 150 years old. Despite the incredible wealth for Africa especially in the northern suburbs of Sandton, I feel it as a city bringing evil, a city had more endings in it than beginnings.

I think I could go on for a very long while. But I would like to talk about Dubai. I do not enjoy it that much, Dubai. I was in 2007, I stayed there five days. It seemed artificial, a building-site – city of a never ending building site. There was no public transportation which only enforced my feeling of artificiality. And I made a resolution to return after 5 or 10 years to see what else happened and how it changed. The American advertisements for Head & Shoulders shampoo used to proclaim “there is no second chance for a first impression”. But I think even the first impressions can change.

A few days ago, Romanian travel agency J’Info Tours  invited me to Dubai. After a moment’s hesitation, I said yes! Let’s go! It has been five years from my previous visit, I met a lot of people who were excited by Dubai, I should give a second chance to the metropolis of the Emirates :) so today, I will embark on a Fly Pegasus flight (a premiere!) along with other 17 J’Info Tours tourists.  As there are not many fixed things to do in the schedule, I will have the possibility of rediscovering Dubai as I wish to. I can attend the optional trips or not. What’s certain is that I will take it step by step, I will also head down to the Old Dubai, the one that is across the Creek, but also see the new buildings – including Burj Khalifa. I will absolutely have to take a subway ride and I will try to feel Dubai… maybe I will feel it differently. And moreover, how else, I will report you back about what I’ve seen during the trip and, especially, how I have felt Dubai…! Feel the destination :).

By the way, if there’s anyone in Dubai leave a sign here, maybe we go out for a shisha :).

Până acum există "1 comentariu" la acest articol:

  1. Dubai is a beautiful city, but somehow it manages to daunt me a lot. I have tried the aimless walking, trying to just feel the beauty. But after some time, I just get self-conscious somehow. The people are polite, though, and when they speak in Arabic it is not harsh sounding at all as many writings lead us to believe; it actually sounds musical. Thanks for this post!

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