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Dubai Diaries: The city of love

Kirstin Bernabe-Santos/Dubai
Filed on May 5, 2021
Photo/Alamy.ae

Dubai is the suitor that knows exactly how to knock you off your feet and get the butterflies flying in your stomach.

They say Paris is the city of love, I say it’s Dubai. Why else would hundreds and thousands of people of over 200 nationalities gravitate to the emirate? Dubai is the suitor that knows exactly how to knock you off your feet and get the butterflies flying in your stomach. Try looking at it through the lens of Gary Chapman and his ultra-famous five languages of love.

It’s easy to start with acts of service. In the emirate, and in the country in general, nearly everything you need is at your fingertips. Visa applications via app? Yep. Encountered a rude driver on the road? Report it online. Buying a movie ticket also comes with the option of getting your popcorn and soda prepared before you arrive at the cinema. And when you hit a snag, trust that Dubai is already halfway through a solution.

When it comes to words of affirmation, I honestly can’t think of any other city that does it as grand as Dubai does. If the Burj Khalifa is not beaming a gigantic note of appreciation, leaders are tweeting or sending out personal letters of thanks. Cops would either take their luxury cars out to spell out words of inspiration on a highway or fly their drones up in the sky to get a message across. Road signs are not only for warnings; they lift spirits, too. Today, they say #StayStrongIndia.

Don’t get me started on gifts — because I just spent half of my weekend walking around the Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates, taking note of things I wish to get the next time the big red sale banners are unfurled. The city also got me closer to things I used to see only on magazines or the vlogs of the elite, from the two-tone Chanel ballerinas and the Hermès Oran sandals to Maison Margiela’s classic Tabi shoes. Not that I’d buy them all, but at least I got to hold and even try them on.

Physical touch is rather tough. But then I remember the December afternoons when the winter breeze would caress my cheek and lull me to sleep as I lay under a tree at Al Barsha Pond Park. Plus, the city is home to some of the most luxurious spas in the world. On my 30th birthday, the Atlantis’ ShuiQi Spa turned me into a butterfly in a 150-minute treatment that included a head-to-toe massage, a scrub, hot stone therapy, and a cool body wrap.

On days when all else fails and you just want to leave its bright lights and skyscrapers behind, the city tucks you into its hidden gems, its pockets of idyllic paradise in the heart of the desert, near a quiet lake, or in the Hatta mountains. Then, under a galaxy of stars, the clock stops ticking, giving you the quality time you need to just breathe. How can you not fall in love?





 
 
 
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