Tuesday, January 23, 2018
We arrived in Dubai at about 5:30 this morning. This airport is enormous, sitting on 7,200 acres of land. Our bus ride from the airplane to the arrivals hall must have taken 15 minutes. It’s also the busiest airport in the world for international travel, third busiest for all passengers.
Even though we got a few hours of sleep on the airplane, we were exhausted. We knew that we probably wouldn’t be able to check into our room until 3:00, but we were hoping for the best. Thanks to loyalty programs, we were able to get a room, upgraded as well, right away. It’s so nice to take a shower after traveling all night.
The view from our 44th floor window wasn’t great because the air is pretty hazy, a combination of salt air, dust and pollution.
We had considered going to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building as well as in the world, at 2,722. However, with the haze, we figured we wouldn’t see much anyway. We did see the the structure, though, when we went to the Dubai Mall. The Burj Khalifa is indeed an impressive structure.
Although not the largest mall in the world, the Dubai Mall comes in at 5th place, just ahead of Minnesota’s own Mall of America. The Dubai Mall boasts 3.77 million square feet, with more than 1,200 shops, an indoor waterfall, an ice rink, 22 cinema screens, and one of the largest aquariums in the world. You can find all of your favorite chains, both stores (Banana Republic, Gap, Levi’s, etc.) and restaurants (IHOP, TGI Fridays, Pizza Hut, Subway and more,) as well as Arabic specialty shops.
The mall is part of a larger complex that includes a 5 star luxury hotel, office buildings, and a lake with a fountain show rivaling the one at Las Vegas’ Bellagio. It plays twice in the afternoon plus every half hour from 6pm – 11pm. We might have to go back at night to see it.
There are plans to build an even larger mall here in Dubai, 48 million square feet, to be called the Mall of the World. There’s construction going on all over the city, in preparation for hosting Dubai Expo 2020. It really is excessive.