I wanted to fly above Dubai by any means possible. It was definitely going to be the highlight of my trip. So, two weeks before my visit, I surfed the web to find out where I could get tickets. Sky diving was a no-no for now. Paragliding would be nice but I thought ‘let me try the safest voyage first’ – and that’s the balloon. It was expensive- over £200, nevertheless, I bought it. If it was the only thing I experienced in Dubai, it was worth it.
Like I said in my previous post, I got ready by 4am to be picked up and taken to fly over the deserts of Dubai. There were about six other passengers in the van. We got to know each other as the bus journeyed through the narrow road that cut between the desert.
We got to the ballon-station by 5:30. A brief safety announcement ensued, then we watched the pilots pump hot-air into the balloons – through the gas cylinders. An opportunity for quick Snaps and Instagraming as the balloons came to life. This was my first time in one but it felt like I had done it several times. There were three balloons and my group was second to go airborne.
Up we went. Ascending, gradually. The Pilot announced that we will be going up to four thousand feet before we hit the sands again. ‘We might see the sun rise if we are lucky’ he added. It was morning but the sun hadn’t risen yet. Wow, is that unusual or it’s just me?
‘Four thousand feet?…..oh that high, very high’ I thought.
Soon I didn’t know where we boarded. The 4x4s had gone and the ground beneath us looked like curry powder.
The sun appeared from behind her cloudy curtains as we were reaching four thousand feet. It was delightful. A spectacle of some sort as the clouds were parted and out came this big giant ball of energy, just like the balloons. The sun too, was floating in the sky with us.
The Falcon was released! Oh yeah we had a falcon on board too. And it was time for the ‘Queen of the Skies’ take flight. It flew high into the sky, circled the ballon and then dived swiftly toward its keeper’s hand. Each passenger was able to get up close to this majestic bird. It was my first time being this close to one. Who would have thought this feared predator was calmly standing on my hand – good thing there was no pigeon around.
After all the razzmatazz, it was time for a quick landing procedure. You know, so everyone is safe. The pilots communicated on where the plain was smooth enough for landing. This added another twenty minutes flight time, which was greatly appreciated. We landed! Yay! Another item on the bucket-list ticked off.
I had another date with the skies of Dubai. This time, in the tallest building on planet Earth. I was to be on the 148th floor. I can still smell the fine perfume that oozed once I walked through the corridors of the ground floors. I savoured every display of elegance as if it was a taste of red wine.
Our Tour guide gave us a brief history about the Burj Khalifa. This manmade wonder was named after the UAE President, who plays a consequential role in a continuous unification of the Emirate cities. The Burj Khalifa is the symbol of Dubai. It is a symbol of what Dubai and the UAE wants to become in global civilisation. A nod to Islamic history, the architecture of Burj Khalifa was inspired by the Great Mosque of Samarra. I’m pointing this out because people tend to forget that Dubai is a muslim city.
On the wall of the corridors that lead to the elevator are pictures of the workers that made it possible. The people who put their blood, sweat and life on the line to make this magnificent structure a reality. I pay my respects to those workers from all over the world.
We went into the lift and straight up we elevated to the 148th floor. In under 60 seconds, I repeat, under 60 seconds, we got to the 148th floor. The sun had long closed her eyes and little stars shone far beneath me.
With a cup of wine and biscuit, I sat and listened as this refined city eloquently ministered to me.
‘Anything is possible, believe and work hard towards it…..administer your funds wisely and treasures can be found anywhere’ Dubai said.
My mind was blown. That in a short time, all these developments were achieved.
We could stay as long as we wanted but as those little stars began to put me to sleep, I left. I took the train back to my hotel, a mode of transportation frequently used by those who make Dubai functional.
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You can read the previous post here: https://olawaleokunrinboye.com/2017/04/13/arabian-nights/
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