Dubai has come of age and Time Out was there to witness it. At 8.30 last night 600 lucky Golden Ticket holders gathered at Nakheel Harbour & Tower station for the maiden voyage of the Dubai Metro.
As Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum led the opening ceremony down the road at Mall of the Emirates station, we waited patiently to 'check in' for our historic train ride. (Read our review of that VIP trip here).
It began as a shambles, but a charming one nonetheless, with smiles all round. Officials with clipboards ticked off names. Certificates were distributed – ‘A Journey To Remember’ – along with commemorative wristbands, T-shirts and other little souvenirs for posterity. Photographs were taken and canapés nibbled. A full 90 minutes of loitering followed, before we were led onto the platform, via the cool blue shades of the station concourse. Ticket holders of all nationalities filed onto the train for the short journey to Finance Centre and back. From then on it was plain sailing.
These trains have a surprising turn of speed, and as we took off there was a round of excited yelps. Passengers exchanged pleasantries, took photos of one another and wandered the length of the train, testing the leather chairs of the Gold carriage and peering out of the wraparound windows at the front and rear of the train.
It was a pleasure to be up above the mayhem of Sheikh Zayed Road, moving smoothly and quietly at a steady speed. This felt like metropolitan living at last.