Dubai, Here we Come!

by: xtian001

In: Abu Dhabi | Dubai | Dubai | Middle East | Travel | UAE

8 Dec 2012

I’ve been in the Middle East for 12 years and have been to Saudi, Bahrain and currently in Qatar. To think that Dubai is only a stone throw away from Qatar, it is surprising to most of our friends that we haven’t made a short trip to Dubai after all these years. In fact, if a bit adventurous, you can drive your car from Qatar all the way to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. I’m not the type who’d drive more than 8 hours. We’ve been planning, well, talking about going to Dubai and held off for so long so this time, I pulled the trigger and booked ourselves a flight to Dubai on the start of the Eid break, October 26, 2012.

Technically, we flew to Abu Dhabi then took an hour trip to Dubai as I used my accumulated Etihad Airmiles for the trip. I redeemed business class tickets for Mavis and Xiane as there are limited business class (J) seats available for airmiles redemption. I settled for the Economy (Y) but wasn’t too bothered as it was a short 45 minute trip. The reason why I actually booked J class seats for Mavis and Xiane is that Etihad provides their business class passengers a dedicated chauffeur to drive them from Abu Dhabi to Dubai instead of using the free bus provided. While one has to wait for the bus schedule to leave, the personal chauffeur leaves as soon as you’ve arrived. I was to hitch a ride with Mavis and Xiane since I was flying Y. So with our bags, tickets, and booked chauffeur, we were at the Doha Airport Friday morning.

Aside from being upgraded to Business Class, the flight was short and uneventful. As for our Visas, we were able to easily get On-arrival visas in Abu Dhabi as I was a GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) resident (which includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE) plus my work position (i.e. Systems Engineer) belongs to a list that entitled me to get a visa at the airport. After passing Immigrations and claiming our bags, we were whisked off to Dubai by our BMW-7 Sedan.

The one hour car trip to Dubai from Abu Dhabi gave us time to sleep since we were already up at 4:30. Nearing Dubai, one can see how much of a progressive city it is in comparison to Al Khobar in Saudi, Bahrain or even Qatar. It is littered with high-rise, residential apartments, and commercial buildings which provide office spaces for international companies. The Qatar business area in West Bay seems like a clump of buildings in comparison to this. You get to see the long Dubai Metro and its Japanese-made trains gliding along Skeikh Zayed Road which makes you think how much planning and money they spent building the system and each and every station that you pass every minute or so. Then you get to see Burj Khalifa miles away as it towers over all other buildings. Who wouldn’t get awed by the sheer height of the 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories World’s Tallest Building? You get to realize that Dubai has indeed made itself one of the top destinations in the world by adapting and making something out of their tiny city.
Though Qatar is touted as the next big thing in the Middle East, it is going to take at least 10 years before it reaches the commercial and cultural maturity of Dubai.

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It's been 10 years since the San Juan Family started their blog documenting their lives in this little spot called Qatar. Follow Chris, Mavis and Xianelle as they share what Doha has to offer.

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