United Arab Emirates
Dubai was a good place to relax and warm up again after South Africa. We cashed in another free hotel night to stay at the Grand Hyatt for my birthday. It was completely over the top, but gorgeous, and seemed to epitomize what we saw and experienced in the Emirates: people from all over the world and lots of gold leaf. This was a fairly short stopover so we didn’t do much sightseeing, but still managed to check out the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) and the Dubai mall (largest mall in the world). Also both completely over-the-top and pretty much what we’d expected. We also scouted out and tried some camel milk chocolate (bar and milkshake). Seriously you should look this up. I'm jumping on the "it's the next superfood bandwagon" (ok, maybe not when it's combined with chocolate, but very tasty)! Everything else we did and saw felt a lot like spending time in a big western city (ok, except maybe the indoor ski slope, the giant in-mall aquarium, and most of the local attire…hmm). A great place for a few days and maybe longer if on a corporate travel budget.