Myths of the Middle East

Minarets

If I had a dime for every negative comment I received after purchasing my trip to Dubai, U.A.E, I could build an empire. “Girllll, uh uh thats too far,” “Isn’t that in the Middle East ?,” “You can’t do anything over there, you have to be completely covered to go outside,” “Where is that? That’s too long of a plane ride for me, but you enjoy.” Enjoy is an understatement. Patiently wanting to visit the U.A.E. for the past three years, became a reality in 2014 when 3 girls agreed to join me for this birthday excursion. How lucky was I, to have 4+ months to research and prepare for the trip of a lifetime? So many questions swirling in my head about what to wear, the weather, things to see and do, how do I communicate overseas, and most importantly how to enjoy my vacation but be safe as well. I literally dreamt what it would be like to step off the plane and breathe the air. My birthday was going to occur on the trip and being so far away, how was I going to make it memorable? 

Lengthy Flights

With a 15-hour flight from JFK ahead, I was’t sure how I would get through this. But I must say flying with the Emirates Airlines definitely made it comfortable. My advice to you would be to not sleep prior to boarding. It was much easier to travel and fall asleep after take off. But you won’t be sleep long, the beautiful stewardesses will be waking you soon for a great meal! “Chicken or Lamb Madam?” with her delightful English accent. The meals were actually great, full courses and included the dessert. Did I forget to mention the open bar? Yes, a bottle of red wine please! The movie selections were great! I got to catch up some new releases and relax. Paradise was almost tangible. So far the negativity about flying for a long duration wasn’t so bad after all.

Location

Yes, I know! When you look at the location of the United Arab Emirates on a map it can be somewhat intimidating. I understood everyone’s concern for my safety BUT I didn’t let everyone else’s fears outweigh my dream. Visiting during the month of January was considered the winter. Being a native of Chicago I definitely get a chuckle out of this. With temps in the high 70’s, low 80’s and sunshine all day, Dubai made me feel like I forgot winter existed. A birthday extravaganza without snow? Yes, I was winning! The air was so crisp. Have you ever been somewhere and it didn’t feel real? I was lost in the moment and wanted someone to press pause on the “my life” button so I could just take it in and never let it go. I was so happy that I didn’t let anyone deter me from my Middle Eastern dream.

Attire

For months I researched how I should dress and what was acceptable. I found, for the most part, Dubai was considered pretty untraditional for tourists in tourist areas. I packed maxi dresses and maxi skirts for my daytime look. Contrary to belief, I was able to walk around freely throughout the city with bare arms and nothing covering my head. Now when visiting religious temples and sites, do be mindful to respect the culture. Traveling to Abu Dhabi, was something out of a movie; breathtakingly beautiful. The architecture of the Grand Mosque, left me hypnotized. But soon I snapped out of it once standing in front. The security quickly does a visual check to see if you meet the mosque attire requirements. However, I had bought my beautiful Abaya from a local market in the Dubai “Gold Souks” and brought it with me for the tour. It felt amazing to be a part of this culture and embrace something different. With this long beautiful material covering my body, I felt more beautiful than I ever had. Now ladies, if you choose to not wear traditional garments then that’s fine. As long as the body is completely covered, cover your head with a scarf of your own or from the markets. Fellas aren’t required to dress in traditional attire. Instead of nay sayers making me feel I would be an outcast, I felt a sense of connection.

Bright Lights & Night Life

 A lounge with a good DJ and cute bartender is right up my alley. If you’re looking for a 3-in-1 night club and sushi bar then N’dulge NightClub is for you! Bright lights, catwalks and roofless terrace, located at the Atlantis Hotel. Admission :  FREE. The DJ played great music and California rolls were scrumptious. Travelers you are free to dress how you want, 4-inch heels, crop top and skirt was my choice of outfit. The night skies were cool and clear and I danced with beautiful people from around the world.

All White Night on the Palm

My birthday would be the last evening on the Palm, how was I to conclude this amazing experience? With a little research, I stumbled upon “The One & Only Palm – 101 Dining Lounge and Bar”. Absolutely hands down the most amazing lounge ever built. This lounge is located behind the One & Only Hotel. The caddy drivers meet you at the front door and drive you onto this path which highlights the skyline and takes you onto the water. You are met by the hostess who escorts you to a reserved area for pre-dinner drinks. The ambiance is surreal. Surrounded by all creme decor and lavish views on the water of The Atlantis Hotel just across the way made you feel as if you have experienced heaven on Earth. Great food and service is a part of the dining experience at the restaurant. You can also step inside for a lounge menu which serves tapas. The relaxing sound of the water and light chatter left me feeling as if I had struck gold. The moment was so beautiful, I don’t think my pictures or words can truly do this any justice. All white dinner party at 101 Lounge had me feeling like I turned 28 in the most special way. Despite the nay sayers, I created memories and experienced the misbeliefs of the Middle East and found them to be FALSE!

 

Barea Victoria

Chicago gal blogging and traveling the world ! Determined to see what the world offers after dealing with maximum security offenders in my career that never made good choices. I've made a vow to myself to LIVE & EXPERIENCE life beyond what I ever thought could imagine. Nothing like packing a bag and awaiting a adventure. Instagram @VictoriasXcape

17 Comments

  • Reply March 28, 2014

    Alicia

    Awesome read! I love it. I look forward to reading ALL your blogs. Love ya.

    • Reply March 29, 2014

      Amber Nickson

      I loved this article! It was so interesting and informative. I can’t wait to see your next one.

      • Reply March 30, 2014

        ToriAmor

        Thanks Amber ! I can’t wait to write more 🙂

    • Reply March 30, 2014

      ToriAmor

      Thank you Alicia ! I’m glad you enjoyed !

    • Reply November 8, 2015

      Djuana

      Great article! I too share some of those same memories that you experienced. My trip to Abu Dhabi and Dubai was breathtaking. Unfortunately, so many people have negative comments and views that they shared with me about the Middle East. None of them were true. Glad you ignored them like I did.

  • Reply March 29, 2014

    Sheherazade

    great article!
    You truly look fabulous in that beautiful cobalt traditional wear.

    • Reply March 30, 2014

      ToriAmor

      Thank you Sheherazade ! I felt so blessed to find that beautiful Abaya.

  • Brittany Walters
    Reply March 31, 2014

    Brittany Walters

    This was a great post! I enjoyed reading about your experience and it makes me want to go to Dubai! I will be sharing this with my mother and hopefully planning a trip soon! Thank you for sharing!

    • Reply April 2, 2014

      ToriAmor

      Thanks Brittany .. you will love it .. it honestly changed my life and I’m so grateful for the experience ..If you need tips hit me up !

  • Reply April 2, 2014

    mike

    Next time, visit Doha, Qatar as well. 5 star hotels, great food, nightlife, shopping, and amazing sights.

    • Reply April 2, 2014

      ToriAmor

      Thanks Mike !! Will do 🙂

  • Reply April 2, 2014

    Gladys

    Loved your piece. A girl after my heart. The world is made for exploration. You definitely snazzed up their dress code.

    • Reply April 2, 2014

      ToriAmor

      Thanks Gladys !! I wish i had bought more traditional pieces !

  • Reply April 14, 2014

    Karen

    I just read your article and I must say that from what penned about your trip, Dubai sounds like a beautiful place to visit. Can’t wait to read about where your next adventure will be.

  • Reply May 13, 2014

    Anissa

    I really enjoyed this article on Dubai! I’ve definitely put this trip on my to do list. I might even bring my 10 and 14 year old boys. I think it’s important for our black children to see other cultures. Thank you!

  • Reply August 18, 2014

    Charee

    Awesome article. I am planning a Dubai trip in Oct and just curious… how much did your trip cost altogether (plane tickets, hotel, etc..). Any tips on staying as inexpensive as possible?

  • Reply December 24, 2014

    dubai dames

    Looks so nice, Middle east culture has really great impact.

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