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golden dubai

The Duality of Dubai

Lane A
by Lane Atteridge

June 07, 2019

2 minute read

Go looking for luxury shopping, high-end restaurants, and modern architecture in Dubai, and you’ll find that and more. But look beyond the city limits, and you’ll discover another world.

dubai cityscape 

The Dubai You Know

You’ve seen it depicted in movies — an opulent, hyper-modern city set like a gleaming beacon in the desert. Famous for a record-breaking skyscraper and cutting-edge architecture, the Dubai skyline feels like a city pulled straight from science fiction. It’s hard to believe that in the 1830s, this glitzy metropolis was once just a humble fishing village. Luxury shopping is a favourite pastime here, and each shopping plaza reflects that by being bigger, more elaborate, and more elegant than the next. In fact, Dubai is considered the shopping capital of the Middle East. Rooftop terrace bars, world-class restaurants, and fashionable beach clubs can be found everywhere. Dubai was designed to be a desert oasis, and you can feel it with every step.

bedoin camps 

The Dubai You Don’t

Away from the gleaming glass of this modern-leaning city is a different world. Cross Dubai Creek and find some of the oldest Emirati neighborhoods. As you walk amongst the neighborhood’s narrow sikkas (alleyways) and gaze at the beautiful wind towers that adorn the original residences along Dubai Creek, you’ll get a glimpse into another side of this dynamic country.

If you venture further, you’ll find rolling dunes stretch out towards the horizon, rippled like water by the warm winds of the desert. Out here, you won’t find luxury malls —you’ll find Bedouin camps. Instead of restaurants, you’ll find savoury meats roasted over open flames. Instead of high-end sports cars, you’ll find rugged 4x4 vehicles and even camels. Share a meal with locals, listen to rhythmic Berber drums, and even watch a traditional belly-dancing show. You’ll feel like you’re a thousand miles from the paved roads and skyscrapers of the city.

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