A Very Merry Dubai Christmas

Dec 25, 2009

Another Christmas has come and gone. All of that excitement, chaos, crowded shopping malls and build-up for that one day, and now it's gone for another year. I always feel a bit sad when it's all said and done. People return to their daily lives and the festive spirit diminishes. Farewell Christmas, until we meet again next year.
Christmas in Dubai was far from ordinary. Here is an average Christmas at home with the family:
I wake up, my brothers drag me to the tree where the family opens presents. The living room is a mess of wrapping paper as we sit in our pajamas eating chocolate. We eat breakfast together, call the Grandparents on the other side of Canada, and then go to shower and get ready. At night we eat dinner, preferably turkey and spend the rest of the evening singing karaoke and having cocktails. Ahh, Christmas.
This year, on the other hand, was far different. I woke up in my apartment, taking a few moments before realizing that it was in fact Christmas morning. My phone rang, and I was thrilled to be able to talk to Ryan for a few minutes. I headed to the living room to turn up the air conditioning and was happy to find a chocolate Santa on my door that my flatmate had left for me before her early morning flight home. I opened it up and bit Santa's head off, keeping up with my chocolate for breakfast tradition. I wandered the apartment, slightly bored. Eventually I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich and headed back to my room. My family called and I talked to my mom and brothers before they headed to bed. Ryan, however, stayed up the entire night. We spent hours talking on both the internet and phone, chatting about anything and everything that we could think of. Finally at 3:00 pm (4:00 am at home), Ryan fell asleep and I proceeded to get ready to meet Fran, Daniel, Naf and Darya (Australia, New Zealand, CALGARY and Russia). We hailed a taxi and headed to Dubai Mall, which is officially the biggest in the world. It seems no bigger than West Ed, until you take into account that it is spread over 4 floors. I was in awe, taking photos of everything. There is a huge aquarium that stretches the height of 2 floors, an Olympic sized skating rink, a Sega theme park, waterfalls, movie theaters, and a fountain show equivalent to Bellagio... however the tallest building in the world as a backdrop to the amazing display made it a bit more exciting than Las Vegas. We went to a very American inspired grill for Christmas dinner, where I dined on a deep dish pizza. I would have preferred turkey, but the pizza was quite delicious. After dinner we went to Baskin Robins for ice cream before rushing to see the fountain show. We were so amazed that we watched it 3 times. We were having a lot of fun, but unfortunately the past 2 weeks of early mornings have taken their toll and around 8:00 pm we were so tired that we could barely walk. We headed to a fancy hotel next to the mall to catch a taxi, rather than wait in the long line at the mall. Everything is so over the top in Dubai. The hotel was beautiful, and we wandered around the lobby trying to act as though we were guests, but we didn't do a great job of concealing our obvious amazement at the beauty of everything from the couches to the lights to the walls. We caught a taxi home, said goodnight, and I headed back to my room to talk to Ryan for a short while before falling asleep. I was of course a bit homesick at various points throughout the day, but keeping busy and being with people who were in the same boat made it a lot more bearable. It was a great day and a great night... despite being thousands of miles away from home.
I was also informed that Boxing Day DOES exist in Dubai, and today I plan to head back to the mall to participate in the shopping madness.


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