Discovering all that is possible - Dubai

Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures said Lovelle Drachman and I could not agree more with it. After all the sheer need to know a destination better pushed me to look at Dubai a little closer. My love story with this city began with the adventures of understanding both the old and the new. 

A google search of Dubai will give you a Wikipedia page followed by information on discovering all that is possible in the city of Emirates and Skyscrapers but a lot more (much, much more) happens in this place. This side of Dubai, you get to know only when you explore.

My nearly insane trip to Dubai began with the visit to the iconic Burj Khalifa. Trust me, if you are afraid of heights, it is still a safe place to go. The feeling of being on top of the world feels really good. Standing at an impressive 829.8 m, the ride to the 148th floor takes just around 3 minutes at the speed of 36 km/h. The spectacular setting sun and the horizon are worth the sight from the top. The icing on the cake was the fountain show right next to the Khalifa with its mesmerising lights and pattern under the night sky.

My main intention of this trip was to learn scuba diving. After sitting with books and learning all the basics from my patient trainer for two full days, the 2 one hour dives opened my eyes to the world of underwater. The dive was in Dubai Mall Aquarium and Underwater Zoo (which is no tiny aquarium whatsoever). If you are faint of heart, please do stop here. If you want to be amazed, then dive in with the sharks. As scary as it sounds, the dive blew my mind with fishes, sharks, rays literally at my fingertips. The beauty is divine.

If sunset is spectacular from a height, then viewing the sunrise in the sky is glorious. Getting up 3 in the morning with the cold desert wind is no fun but nature’s brilliance is best seen with your own eyes in the morning. The sunrise hot air ballooning is hands down an incredible experience to live through. To be in level with the rising sun, almost touching the clouds – no painting or photograph can match nature’s magic. As we ride over the deserts, gazelles hop, skip and run in search of their morning meals. I was extremely lucky to have a rare sighting of a desert fox. The ride was even more exciting as I also had balcony view to a hot air balloon race which was conducted as a part of the World Air Games.

From the air to the ground and from fins to wings – my next stop on my itinerary was Falconry. Capturing migratory falcons for hunting has been in practice in the deserts of United Arab Emirates since 2000 years. Fascinated by this, I prepared myself to meet these majestic birds in person. The surprise was on me when I opened the door of the SUV to find a falcon staring at me from between the seats. The drive to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve was peaceful and refreshing in the crisp air along with some constant chatting with my new friend falcon. The trainers answered all my who, what, why, when,where and how of falcons with the traditional and modern methods of raising them. I felt a teeny bit afraid when the falcon flew and sat on my arm the first time but slowly I began to marvel its grace in flight. I was introduced to Khaimah and Xbox (such charmers you see). Watching them was watching pure fluidity in motion.

My endless bucket list for Dubai is just beginning as I hope to go there again in search of new and exciting adventures for unforgettable memories.

-Athmika Ramachandra

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