The best word to describe Dubai would be flamboyant.
As you walk from the beach to inland, the two-storey villas turn into 50+ storey skyscrapers, palm trees turn into dazzling facade lighting decorations and the chill attitude turns into swagger.
They basically decorated the desert with skyscrapers, including the world's tallest building, and adorned them with led lights. The lighting show of the Burj Khalifa and the adjacent dancing fountain are lovely tourist attractions. After a long shopping day at the Dubai Mall, having dinner at one of the restaurants by the pool while watching these shows is the very definition of 'touristing in Dubai'. Though I have to admit, the blinding lights of the city are probably bad for the environment and a squandering of resources. But, no one feels bad about their lavish lifestyle in this region. They had too much too quickly so they just don't care. Sigh..petrol money..sigh.
Ohh the captivating murals!
JBR is much like Santa Monica's oceanfront walk. Slightly shorter beach walk accompanied by various restaurants, shops, kids' play areas and a small pop up market, all of which over headed by colorful murals. It's very lively and busy at all times.
D for Dubai
A little bit obvious and maybe a little too ostentatious but they know how to carve the letter D. The word 'man-made' is taken to a whole another level. Man-made island in the shape of a palm tree or a man-made Venice-like canal city..You name it, they made it.
They have 24-lane wide highways whereas in Turkey we still have max 4 lanes in major highways. Nevertheless, the traffic is hectic at peak hour.
They have built way too many entertainment complexes and tourist attractions. You gotta give credit where credit is due. They had a vision and the money to implement it so they turned a piece of barren land into a commercial hub.
They brought the whole world to the desert. There is an indoor botanical garden. There is a mall with a ski slope inside. - How intriguing! People'd pay just to say "I skied and saw penguins in the middle of the desert." - There is a giant aquarium in another mall, right around the corner from the giant waterfall with cool sculptures. The variety of the fish and underwater plants in this aquarium is stunning. A visit to the mall turns into watching NatGeo.
There is a game center which is like a sci-fi movie came true. The experience lives up to the tagline; "Live the game". The virtual reality glasses provide an immersive experience which is the dream of every gamer. From the design of the floor stickers to the graffiti on the walls, from the zombie-themed male and female icons on the restroom doors to the fastrack access named "hackers entrance" everything was well thought out, impeccable.
Last but not least, all service personnel, from the waiter at the Buddha Bar to the attendant at the IMG Worlds of Adventure park, had a big smile on their faces and genuinely wanted to help. They turned every interaction into a heartwarming memory. They have been trained well on how to serve and they didn't hate their jobs (unlike most people in Qatar) so it was positively reflected in their work as well as the tips they got.
Overall, Dubai was like a hidden gem or an oasis in the Arabian desert. I've already started planning my next trip!