Until recently, the stories and pictures I had seen and heard about the wonder and beauty of this jewel in the desert left me thinking and imagining what it would be like… So I decided within 2 weeks to take a trip. After work, I boarded the overnight flight to Dubai and arrived in the morning.
As a believer in this art called travel, I was thrilled and excited. I had always wanted an Arabian experience, although Dubai wasn’t the first on my list I was eager to get a taste of it. As we rode into the city, I took in the sights of the tall buildings and wide roads…As we got closer to Al-Bashra where I stayed, I still wanted more, something different. I got into the hotel and immediately went to sleep.
I was awakened by the voices of my mum and aunt chatting, they were planning a trip to ‘Deira‘…I jumped at the prospect and got ready so fast, I wanted more. The trip was filled with them shopping for abayas and I quickly became bored and sleepy. Not giving up, I asked the concierge at the front desk for some Arabian experience and immediately scheduled the ‘desert safari’ which is a must for all tourists to experience.
Hoping this would be it, I was pumped and excited. Once we got to the location, people in the vehicle marveled at the desert, camels and looked forward to the activities ahead. However, my mum was quick to point out that we had camels back home in Northern Nigeria, and deserts. Almost immediately, nothing of this experience felt new to me… I felt defeated, although I had fun, I was yet to get an authentic feel of this place. I gave up! So I took a swim, visited the malls, got a ‘Thai’ massage, had ‘Nigerian’ food, and even attended a church service, hoping to find the culture in these mundane things. I didn’t 🙁 .
This left me thinking, were our cultures too similar for me to appreciate the differences? Was Dubai not cultural enough? did I go to the right places? What happened?
I traveled with an expectation…I never do! My imagination fooled me.