I never realised how odd Dubai is. It was only as we begun our decent into Dubai when I looked out the window and just saw desert and dust that that I realised how strange it was. It is literally built in the middle of the desert along the coast. Keeping in mind that Dubai is built in a desert, I was surprised to see how much water being used around the city for fountains and water features. I suppose since the water is desalinated rather than just collected from rainfall, they are able to be more liberal with their water use. I was surprised with the amount of dust surrounding the city, that the air within the city was pretty clear although the heat and humidity was stifling, thank goodness for air conditioned buses!
A big difference compared to Australia was the apparent lack of traffic rules. An example of this was vehicles not giving way to vehicles already in a roundabout. I felt like I couldn't completely be relaxed in Dubai, as I was very conscious about the differences in the ways of life as compared to Australia. I always felt like I could accidently do or say something that could be offensive or frowned upon.
It was really cool to see the Burj Khalifa and the Burj Al Arab, two iconic buildings in Dubai. The abra ride we took across the Dubai creek was fun, although short. Visiting the Dubai mall and souks was quite an experience. Finding a place to have dinner was a bit of an experience as there was not really many eating places around the hotel we were at. Most of the places across the road were phone shops. We ended up eating at a small restaurant which gave an.... 'interesting' first impression, but the food ended up being enjoyable.- Alice Crellin (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)