How the other half lives

I needed to visit Jumeirah the other day, so thought I would do what I do whenever I visit a new city – go for a wander. Sadly, Dubai is not much of a city for wandering. It’s hot and poorly laid out, and the footpath often ends randomly and you are stuck in a construction site. But I like a challenge, and I was pretty bored – so I went anyway. The first thing I noticed were the gates.

To keep plebs like me out. Obviously.


Lots of big, ostentatious gates, with what I can only presume were flashy villas behind them. I had a look on Dubizzle at what was for rent in the area. Interestingly, some of them aren’t as expensive as I thought – given that the location is pretty good, and you’re nestled between the sea and the city. On the other hand, I did walk past a few properties like this, and this, so someone is clearly bringing home the dirhams.

Ample on-road parking, too.

I suppose its the same anywhere else in the world in a wealthy neighbourhood, but there were very few people around. Probably due to the 33 degree heat. Apart from workers, I only saw three people during my walk through the streets. A woman and her child, and an Arab man on a bike. I must have stood out (a white woman not in an SUV!), because the Arab man on a bike – who I must say, was wearing a magnificent hat – gave me the heartiest (and only) wave I have received since I arrived in Dubai.

When I told Matt I was going to go for a walk through a nice neighborhood, he joked that someone might leave something fancy out on the sidewalk for me to drag home. I did actually come across some abandoned roadside fare.

Oh, these old golf clubs? Rubbish.

I headed from Jumeirah towards the beach, expecting it to be a buzzing little coastline like in New Zealand. Instead, I found a near-impossible to cross four highway and a crappy mall. Unperturbed, I found a safe(ish) place to scuttle across, and wandered down to where I thought the water was. Obviously very few others could be bothered doing the same, because it was near deserted.


I’m not really a beachy person, but even I’ll admit it was a nice break from the rest of Dubai. I managed to locate the one beach kiosk and purchase myself a delicious BBQ beef sub and iced teach, and had my lunch on the beach. After that, I wandered a few kms along the beach running track. On one side, there were people in bikinis, but a sign made it clear you were expected to wear modest dress the moment you were off the sand.

I enjoyed wandering along and intended to walk all the way to the end of the beach, until my walk was stopped – in true Dubai fashion – by a construction site. So I aimlessly circled for about twenty minutes trying to find a way to cross Dubai Water Canal, until finally giving up and calling for a Careem.

I asked the driver to take me to CityWalk – you guessed it, another mall. But, actually, this one wasn’t too bad. It is a mixed use development, which includes a range of cafes, restaurants and shops, a movie theatre, and my favorite – the Green Planet Biosphere.

Apparently, it contains a sloth. I’m not entirely stoked at the idea of a sloth being stuck in there, but I’m sure he is living a life of relative luxury. Plus, sloths don’t exactly have huge territories. He is probably pleased.

Visiting the Green Planet is one of the few things I’ve wanted to do since we moved into the apartment and I spied it out the window – so hopefully Matt and I will get a chance to check it out soon.



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