Week 1 | Dubai

I am writing from my seat on the plane, destined for Bali. It’s 8AM in Italy, 10 AM in Dubai, 2PM in Indonesia and I have no clue anymore what time it is in my body. The 9 hours on this night flight have almost gone by, in a flash.

We only left Europe a few days ago and it feels like a lifetime already.

Since the day we decided to make the world our home, we never considered Dubai as the first step of this trip. We decided to stay in Dubai for a short stay because of the transfer offered by the airline. We took advantage of this to get used to the jetlag and to take some time to realize that “we’re really doing this”. But this short stay in Dubai has been so much more. Let’s start from the beginning.

We left on September 5th at 11:30 AM after (in a chronological order):

  • bumping into three car incidents on the highway,

  • taking the wrong direction,

  • risking to miss the flight because we didn’t have our tickets out of Indonesia

Finally, we managed to get on the plane while Frank Sinatra’s music was playing in the cabin. He has been our background travel buddy for a long time. In such an emotional moment, (while starting our trip around the world) he reassured us - even though we were not hesitant at all, just slightly moved. This was the right choice. Thank you Frank, and thank you Fly Emirates too.

The flight with the kids has been easy as a walk: six hours passed by without even realizing it. When we touched down in Dubai it was dark already. The city has a great visual impact because of the sheer amount of buildings in an infinite desert. Incredible.

It wasn’t our first stay in Dubai. We’ve been here before exactly for the same reason (a flight transfer) when we were heading to Vietnam while I was pregnant with Teo. Dubai is a unique destination where you wouldn’t necessarily spend a whole holiday, but it is here where you can understand clearly how the world turns nowadays and how it’ll turn in the future, which is extremely interesting.

Can a metropolis be entirely built in a desert? It most certainly can. Dubai is a dreamy skyline, where streets are super wide and where not only cars run fast. Dubai hosts the highest skyscraper in the world, huge malls where anything is clean, white and perfect. A hot wind is blowing through it. A wind that dries you in a second. Fluttery white tunics, black veils and deep eyes. Dubai is burning sand and glass buildings. In Dubai, as in all the Emirates, you can find the Ministry of Happiness. This institution makes sure that all 3 million citizens are satisfied and happy, both in private life and in the workplace. This is a great motivation for people to stay (residents in Dubai are mostly expats, people who decided to live here).

We have been guests at the Grosvenor House Hotel, without any doubt one of the most beautiful properties where we’ve ever stayed in. They offer an excellent hospitality. We were supposed to stay in a Standard Double Room and they assigned us a Deluxe Suite on the 40th floor. What can we say: a flying start. Wonderful! Nothing could beat this experience while starting this trip. We put the kids to bed and popped the champagne bottle that was waiting for us on our room’s table. Boom! Let the journey begin.

We spent the first day in tranquillity, swimming in the hotel’s pool and exploring the supermarkets: something we like to do every time we are in a new place since we are obsessed by the beauty of the grocery stores. The second day we discovered the old neighbourhood Al Fahidi, walking among its souks, spices, fabrics and gold. A real experience that had such a strong impact on us not only because of the intense heat, but also because of the impression that the people in the markets left on us. If you are not a local, it’s hardly possible to not be noticed and it’s also very difficult to entail an interaction with those who are rooted in the community. I had a very hard time keeping myself from chitchatting with the girls in the queue for a Starbucks’ coffee. I had so many questions. We took a wooden boat to cross the canal side to side. People always have a smile on their face in the city where everything is developed to make you feel like a pasha.

We met Giulia e Michele (aka @theitalians_spaghettiairways on Instagram). They are two incredible italian expats living in Dubai. They told us many stories about living in a metropolis in the middle of the desert, among skyscrapers and travels. We also shared memories of the old but gold italian walks on a Sunday afternoon. Everything in Dubai is studied and built to make you live like a king and to make you feel surprised every step of the way. There are no sidewalks in Dubai, tourists only move by taxi. In the evenings, Burj Khalifa fountains surprise you every half an hour with the water shows. The biggest mall in the world, Dubai Mall, hosts an immense aquarium: you can see sea life so close that you can almost say you kissed a shark through the glass. And then there’s the beach with the camels and once again we’re back to the pool from which you can stare at a dreamlike skyline. All of this before going back to the hotel, packing the suitcases again (those suitcases that are now our only tie with something that’s familiar) and then flying one more time. Dubai, see you soon!
Indonesia, here we come! And we literally cannot wait!

With a Lot of Love. #miljiansgotodubai

Thank you Grosvenor House Hotel for hosting us perfectly.

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