Friday, September 18, 2015

Carib Gyal in the UAE


If you follow me on FB or IG you’ve probably seen me post random flight deals now and then, well a random flight deal is how I ended up in the UAE (United Arab Emirates).  Came across a flight from JFK to Abu Dhabi for the crazy low low.  The flight from ATL to JFK was actually more than that, but I remedied that by acquiring an Alaska Air credit card, using the 25K miles sign up bonus to book a roundtrip flight from ATL to JFK on Delta and then cancelled the card.  I’ve heard people complain that there are never flight deals out of their city SMH book out of city you can easily get to.

So my flight to the UAE left out of JFK on a Wed evening at 10pm, but I didn’t want to chance any issues such as flight delays or luggage arriving late so I arrived at JFK at 10am, put my luggage in an airport locker and spent the day being a tourist in Manhattan. Oh how I love corny tourist ish! 

Took the train from JFK to Manhattan (saved lots of $$$ by not using a taxi or Uber).  Hit up a liquor store of course, went to see Lady Liberty, & went shopping in the garment district.  Fun filled day which exhausted me for my long flight later.

That night linked up with a few homies  at JFK and headed to Abu Dhabi via Etihad airlines.  I was really scared about taking a 12 hour flight, but the video on the Etihad website, made it seem bearable, especially since they had international WIFI.  I could get sooooooooo much work done during that timeframe.  Sadly our flight was on their partner airline Jet airways and the plane was very Soul Plane ish.  No Wi-Fi and nonfunctional outlets, so no charging your gadgets... the free alcohol helped tho.  I was lucky enough to have an empty middle seat on my row so I stretched out and rested up so I could get it CRACKIN upon arrival in the UAE. 

Upon arrival in the UAE Thursday evening I utilized a $27 Etihad service called FAST TRACK where an Etihad staff member is standing at the arriving gate with a sign with your name on it, they take your bags, golf cart you to immigration, you skip the immigration line, then they get your checked bags for you and escort you to your mode of transportation.  To me the service was well worth the $27 even though the immigration line wasn’t that long (cause I'm lazy). 




Etihad offers free daily shuttles from Abu Dhabi to Dubai so we hopped on the shuttle to Dubai, checked into the hotel (*side note* Dubai and Abu Dhabi have a trillion hotels for every budget, even the 2 star hotels are mega nice) and then headed to the reggae club with the homies.  YES I said the reggae club!  Who woulda thunk (yes I said thunk) that Dubai had a Caribbean scene? Almost all the clubs are located inside hotels, something about it being very hard to obtain a liquor license. Also all the clubs shut down promptly at 3am, stay open 1 min longer and receive a hefty fine.  We were still extra hype so we kept partyn at the hotel, we paid the price the next day.


Friday we were supposed to wake up early and get started on Day 1 of our 2 day Big Bus tour bus, but were dragging like mofos and one of us didn’t even make it out.  Yup yup we were riding around town on a double decker bus like some dorks.  It was awesome, I saw tons of cool places and learned interesting facts that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  We only got a couple hours in on the Big Bus cause we had to get changed for the Bacchanal Boat ride.  If you are into the Caribbean scene you know that Bacchanal = Soca and Soca = Life!  There was a crazy wicked sandstorm that day (like a scene from the movie The Mummy), but it really didn’t affect us once we headed out on the Persian Gulf. 
 I was on a Soca boat ride on the Persian Gulf.  Never in my life did I think anything like that would be remotely possible, WHOI!  The boat ride pure EPICNESS, upper deck for those who “No Fraid” to fete in the heat, lower A/C deck for those that don’t want to sweat, they even had Caribbean food on board.  Bacchanal hosts a monthly boat ride and a weekly party so if you ever find yourself in UAE, be sure to fete, fete, fete with them. 
DJ DSA




Friday evening vybz were rather low key.  We found a lil rooftop lounge walking distance from our hotel, the peeps smoked shisha (hookah) and I of course drank drank drank.  This allowed us to be functional human beings the next morning. 


Saturday the homies went to the beach, but I rode the Big Bus and was in full tourist mode. I visited the Palm Jumeirah (the manmade island that looks like a palm and can be seen from space), Atlantis Aquarium, Jumeirah Mosque (only mosque in Dubai that allows entry to non-Muslims), the Heritage Village, the Mall of the Emirates (exhausting ginormous mall), and much more.

Saturday night I linked up with the Nomadness Travel tribe who had a ton of members that also scooped up the awesome deal.  Started with an 8pm happy hour on the amazing rooftop of the Four Points Sheraton, then a few of us relocated to a club inside the Waffi hotel and partied till 3am.



Sunday I obliged my homie Selam’s request to join her back on Jumeirah Beach.  Sadly I had memory card issues later in the day and failed to back up the footage after returning to the hotel so I can’t show you the kick ass (excuse me, profanity is illegal in the UAE) public beach they have. 
After the beach we linked with some other homies and headed to a safari in the desert.  I had said that 1 thing I absolutely wanted to do was ride 4 wheelers in the desert, but before arriving at our safari campsite we went dune bashing & that messed me up.   Dune bashing is where you hop into a heavily reinforced Land Cruiser or similar and your driver drives around the sand like a maniac.  My stomach was NOT feeling dune bashing and I couldn’t even handle 4 wheelers anymore *le sigh* At the camp site there was camel riding, henna painting, shisha, a buffet style dinner and 2 dinner shows & I was eventually able to get my life together.
Trying not to blow chunks





After the Desert Safari we headed to an African club.  This was the swankiest African Club I have even been to, I was quite impressed with the venue:  free entry, yummy food, video DJ ( I didn’t even know a lot of these chunes had videos), and the awesome playlist which included Caribbean chunes cause you know Africans & Caribbeans are like cool azz cousins.  When the lights came on at 3am, nobody wanted to leave.  Good time indeed!!!   https://www.facebook.com/ynotbarandrestaurant
Lights on, nobody ready to go
Monday morning was spent shopping, 1st stop was the Old Souk. These shopkeepers are like used car salesmen on crack.  My chica came ready for war and haggled her way to some awesome deals.  We bought so much stuff we were literally unsure how we were going to get everything home. I left home with only 3 lbs to spare in my luggage, but I decided to dump my toiletries.  If you ever find yourself in Dubai get yuh rass to the Old Souk and shop your life away.  One of the shop keepers even took us in this secret room behind a false wall that had tons of fake Gucci, LV, Prada, Dior, MK, Fendi, etc etc etc  Purses, belts, glasses, whatever you want, they got it.  I bought my daughter a fake pair of Ray Bans for basically free.  Lololol  I told her they were fake, she knows her momma is cheap so if I tried to pass them off as real she would SIDE EYE me. 

Next we headed to Dubai Mall, another huge over the top mall big for no dayym reason(I think it might be one of the 10 largest malls in the world). There wasn’t much energy left for Dubai Mall so we were in and out in about an hour.  Then our homie that lives in UAE (DJ DSA, you probably remember him from the boat ride) came to pick up us and we relocated to Abu Dhabi.  We didn’t go out that night, we just drank on the rooftop of our hotel and then took our hungry azzes to the mall next door for dinner in the food court, cause apparently the malls don’t close till the AM hours.  It was a long day and we were in bed at a reasonable hour like some good girls. 





Woke up early Tuesday and tried to find some souks in Abu Dhabi, we didn’t find anything like the Dubai Old Souk, but we did get a few hours of shopping in.  The blazing sun kicked our azz and we headed back to the hotel for a nap.  *Sidenote about the sun* The sun in the UAE has no mercy, takes no prisoners, I’m sure it laughed at my SPF 100 sunblock.  I have never drank so much water in my life #StayThirstyMyFriends.   Tuesday afternoon I wandered around Abu Dhabi and indulged in a photoshoot on the beach in the beautiful kaftan I purchased from the Old Souk in Dubai.  Later I met my homie at the legendary Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque for an evening visit. 






That night we link with the homie DJ DSA again and we ended up at some random club called Asia de Cuba.  We had a blast, but sadly this club closed at 2am.  Of course the party continued at the hotel we were kept drinking and playing chunes till 4am. 



Wednesday morning was pretty basic, market run for spices and trying to cram all the shopping into our luggage, then weighing the luggage over and over to get under 50lbs.  I usually buy a local bottle of booze from every country I visit, but you can’t buy duty free booze on the way out of Abu Dhabi when you are flying to the US.  Why?  because you go through customs in the AUH airport and you can’t take liquid over 3oz even if that liquid was purchased in the airport and is tamper proof *dry cry*.



The flight back to the US was no bueno. Once again with the Soul Plane/Jet Airways plane, this time it was a full flight and I didn't have the middle seat to stretch out, I was cramped wishing I had $1K to upgrade... the free booze helped. I popped a few sleeping pills and was able to sleep 7 of the 14 hours, that’s good for me because I usually can’t sleep on planes. 


I must say that this trip was one for the record books.  I travel a lot, but this trip I was completely outside of my element and engulfed in a new culture.  I’m going to be honest with you, my preferred destination when traveling is usually anywhere in the Caribbean (traumatized from my childhood when I said I would never fly across the Atlantic Ocean again), but because of this trip I will now include a few more non Caribbean locations in my planning.





lil yellow Camaro - I'm not the only one with a lil yellow homie








And of course a recap video!



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