Dubai for New Year 2021

Dubai has always been very special to me. I mean, the entire UAE is beautiful. My favourite is Abu Dhabi and then Ajman as I like quiet pedantic places. Dubai also has bestowed me with nice moments of love and joy, especially in those quiet evenings spent at the Jumeirah beach. At one point, we find massive towers throughout the skyline of Dubai, and another side is the peaceful side of real Dubai – the Jumeirah beach and desert, the cute camels. I went swimming at Le Mer, Jumeirah beach, but honestly the private beach hardly feels like Dubai; it’s so Paris there. I mean, everything has such European vibes! It is so international that it hardly feels Arab at all.

January 2021, Dubai-Jumeriah beach

My favourite is the virgin Jumeriah beach which is away from all the glitz where I can sit after a nice swim with my buddy and watch the romantic sunset or the beautiful stars in the clear sky of Dubai, Wallah! The waves of the Jumeirah is peaceful and it transports you to the real Dubai with beautiful Arab song coming from far away. Jumeirah has changed so much, Dubai has changed so much since 2015. A place filled with so many memories, and mostly beautifully charming ones Habibi! ❤ Dubai is lovely.

1st of Jan 2022, Abu Dhabi with Adnan

All my photos got deleted as the Brit staff at the Apple store Dubai mall had to format my phone to change the battery. So, these are the very few memories/photos I have of my Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ajman trip. Mohammad Adnan was my hostel-mate, and we bumped into each other at the Corniche beach on 1st Jan before the first sunrise. I still remember how we sat there, holding each other’s hand – watching the silent waves and the first sunrise of 2021 together. It was the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen in my entire life. The light of the day promised us a whole new year, a whole new life ahead. Unfortunately, Adnan had to leave that day for Al Ain, where he was living/visiting his friends.

We barely spoke, and when we did, we just spoke about our lives back home in India and Pakistan – Calcutta and Lahore. I really didn’t miss home that time and wished time would stop at the beautiful moment. We both were experiencing a new hope with the sunrise of 2021. Finally, we can let go of the super-frustrating year-2020 and move ahead in our lives. The skyline of Abu Dhabi looked so beautiful, and Adnan hugged me for the last time, and I had to bid him goodbye. Here, I was the traveller, and I felt the same way other travellers have said bye to me before. I had tears in my eyes, I never met Adnan after that, but that night was very special. 2021’s new year was very special in our lives; it felt like a new journey, stepping into a new year that gave us renewed hope.

Corniche Ajman-2021 Jan… ❤

My blog will remain unfinished if I don’t mention the beautiful Ajman’s coastline and the Corniche. I spent a week and a half in Ajman, which was lovely. The city is so tiny that it feels like a village compared to busy Dubai. Most of my local Emirati friends are from Ajman. The city is so Arab, truly. After spending the night with Marwan and Ali at a boutique hotel in Al Hamriyah, we headed straight towards Corniche beach, where we swam and listened to Arab music. A few guys from Alexandria played and danced.

We also watched a wrestling match between some Arab and Afghani boys. Watching a wrestling match on a steamy hot day in Ajman Corniche was a lot of fun. Then Marwan and I walked by the beach pebbles and stood in a quiet place, watching the waves of the ocean. It’s the same Arabian gulf which gave us stories of Sindbad, the sailor and Arabian nights. We spent a quiet evening talking about our lives back in Calcutta and Tehran. Marwan barely remembers much about Tehran as their family moved to Ajman when he was just a child. We embraced each other, knowing that it is not the days that matter but the memories we create by spreading love and compassion wherever we go.

Marwan and me in our room in Dubai

We spent a week together in Ajman and then came back to Dubai. The Airbnb/hostel we stayed in was so noisy that we barely could sleep our nights coz some other guests would come late at night after partying and continue their after-party in our common balcony. But we slept late until noon on Fridays, only to be woken up by bright sunlight or the mesmerising azaan/adhan of Jummah.

We always ate breakfast in our bed in Jummah. That way, we could share our humus and bread in a truly Arabic way. After that, we used to roam around the city, sometimes visiting malls and Etihsalat stores multiple times since one of the most annoying things about UAE is getting a SIM card there, which is not as easy as in Europe or Hong Kong. The government asks you for 100 documents for just a sim card in Dubai which is ridiculous considering we live in the 21st century and not the days when people rode camels to their work. That’s one drawback of travelling in Dubai!

Jumeirah III – near Majlis Ghorfat Umm-Al Sheif

The beautiful long drives with Marwan and the romantic 🎵s by Mohsen Yeganeh compensate for that hassle. Plus, the lady at the store was from Casablanca, and her sweetness indemnified Etisilat’s awful customer service. Anyways, our last evening together was in Jumeirah beach again. This time Jumeriah III, which is close to Majlis Ghorfat Umm-Al Sheif, a bit away from the maddening crowd of Le Mer.

Dubai is a beautiful city; I have lovely memories of covering my first Dubai fashion week when I was in university and writing for the Deccan Chronicle. The first abra ride in Bur Dubai with Shafi, the first visit to the Shiekh Zayed Mosque, my 25th birthday at Martin’s in Dubai Marina and my first desert safari. Dubai is a charming city with lots of unforgettable memory. But it’s time to visit new shores and explore new places. So, this new year I will be spending in Madrid and Lisbon in a genuinely Spanish way. A Bientot cher ami, bisous bisous bisous.