No matter how long you live in Dubai, you should never get used to it
Everybody remembers their first time. The nervousness, the anticipation, the excitement. Before my first time, some of my older, more experienced friends gave me advice and told me what to do. They’d done it before – several times, they claimed to my wide-eyed disbelief. But I forgot all that when the event came around. I didn’t even have a clue where to start. Years later and I have to confess my technique isn’t that much better – I still just dive in head first and continue until I’m an exhausted mess. A satisfied mess, but a mess nevertheless.
Yes, the Dubai brunch is an experience to remember. Despite my twin loves of stuffing my face with food and late-afternoon naps, I don’t actually do brunch too often. But I have a house guest staying with me this week so I’ll be doing a lot of things I don’t normally do. Partly because I’ll be on best behaviour (it is my wife’s aunt who’s visiting and I am under strict instructions to be a good husband), and partly because I am going to be the tour guide for the week. So that means seeing Dubai through tourists’ eyes. It’s something I always enjoy doing, because it’s easy to forget that we live in one of the world’s top holiday hotspots. Easy to forget that the Burj Al Arab looks like the most amazing science-fiction skyscraper ever imagined, or that Jumeirah Beach Park is expansive and beautiful. I even forget that not every city in the world has streets lined with brightly coloured porcelain camels and hawks.
To a tourist, these diversions are all worth stopping and staring at. The sort of sites you want to photograph from every possible angle and, literally, write home about. Add an abra journey, a tour of the more impressive malls and, of course, one of Dubai’s famous brunches to the mix and there is plenty in store for a visiting aunt to enjoy.
The more I think about it, the worse my tour guide skills will be. I know I should stand back with an affected air of indifference and let her go first. After all, I’ve seen all these attractions a hundred times before. But put me in front of a multi-coloured camel or the dessert table at a brunch and I’m likely to get vicious if anybody stands in my way. Aunt or no aunt. In fact, at this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes my last time.
What are the best places to take visitors in Dubai? What is your favourite brunch? Write to Time Out to share your tips about living in the city.