Dubai Bucket list / by Deborah Clague

I am excitedly counting down the days until I take flight to the playground of the middle east, Dubai. Before any trip, I diligently research and daydream about what I plan to do. For this excursion, there is just SO much that I don't know how to whittle it down (although I'm sure my wallet will decide that for me). Here then is my ultimate Dubai bucket list: 

1. Marvel at the galaxies above from the pitch dark of the desert. The one excursion I booked well in advance was a desert safari. From this seemingly hostile, barren environment arose the great, ultra-modern meccas of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. It will be impressive to observe this stark contrast of nature vs. man's attempts to tame it but I will be truly blown away if my "north of 49" self can survive the day without getting heatstroke. I do not take to the sun well, which should make this entire trip rather interesting. Thankfully there will be plenty to occupy my mind from riding a camel, "snowboarding" down dunes, enjoying a feast under the setting sun, smoking shisha, and learning how to bellydance from a pro. 

2. Haggle at a souq. In Dubai, there is a spice souq, a perfume souq, a textile souq and a gold souq. I plan on visiting them all (even the fish souq!), hopefully returning with items to fill my suitcase with (save for the fish souq!). After visiting so much of Asia, where I mastered the fine art of haggling with a steely, unwavering gaze, I feel quite confident in my ability to negotiate. And if ever in doubt that I'm not about to take home a bottle of pure jasmine oil at a price I can part with, I will use the one tactic sure to garner sympathy: "But I get paid in Canadian dollars".

3. Ski. Despite living in a climate where snow covers the ground for six months of the year, I have never been downhill skiing. Actually, that is a bit of a lie. In junior high, we had the mandatory field trip to the only "mountain" (né slightly elevated hill) within close proximity to my hometown. During my introductory lesson, I witnessed a classmate wipe out and severely hurt themselves. It was at that exact moment I decided sitting in the chalet and sipping hot chocolate was more to my liking. While in Dubai, I do plan on visiting Ski Dubai. Perhaps I will ski. Maybe I will drink gourmet cocoa. For SURE, I will escape the heat. 

4. Photograph the architecture. In another life, one in which I had the focus and drive to sit through many more years of schooling, I would be an architect. Whenever I visit the great cities of the world, this is what captures my imagination; what spurs inspiration for my own, relatively meagre in comparison, art. Architecture is the backdrop of our lives and sets the tone of a city. Dubai is clearly making a statement with theirs; that they are innovative, bold and want to be perceived as one of the world's greatest centres of socio and economic activity. 

5. Drive a Ferrari. It doesn't have to be plated in gold. But if I had a choice in colour, maybe green. Shiny, metallic green. This is my daydream item. Probably not going to happen, but if I really wanted it to, I could make my way over to Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi for an afternoon of racing and riding the world's fastest roller coasters. 

Now back to counting down the days...