A trip to Dubai wouldn’t be complete without visiting the capital of Abu Dhabi too. While you’ll absolutely still find the same excess as in Dubai, Abu Dhabi at least appears to be a city that isn’t half-constructed. I was in Abu Dhabi to see the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, but since I was there, I stopped in at The Emirates Palace. Now this is a hotel deserving of its moniker; opulent in every sense of the word, it is truly fit for royalty.
Dubai sells itself as a beautiful, somewhat exotic and luxurious destination. Something like the Las Vegas of the UAE, but with less alcohol and more Bentleys. I thought Dubai would be a perfect city escape to marvel at modern architecture, dine well, and finally see all those Dubai superlatives like the tallest building in the world, the largest man-made island, and the largest shopping mall in person. After 4 full days, my Dubai daydreams were dashed and I found myself hating a city I thought I would fall in love with.
In 2009, when I was preparing to move to Spain as an au pair, all I knew about the country were a few random facts stored away in my memory from a report I did in college, and maybe some bits and pieces from a high school Spanish class, like, they use vosotros there. I knew that they spoke more languages than just Spanish in certain parts of the country, but I didn’t know where exactly, or what the languages even were.