For this week’s Stamped, Chidubem Emelumadu, Communications Manager at Binance, takes us through her girls' trip to Dubai. She talks about the trip starting off rocky but ending wonderfully, and how she used Backdrop to explore.
This is her story as told to Chukwunonso Emelumadu, Writer at Backdrop.
I have taken trips before, but my trip to Dubai with my friends is the first trip I've taken as a working-class adult. When I was younger, I travelled with my family from time to time; we visited places like America, England and Ghana. But I’ve always wanted to travel as an adult and explore the world.
I decided to go on a trip to Dubai because I honestly needed the break. I had been working non-stop for some time, and since I finished university and moved back to Lagos, I hadn’t left the country. So it felt like the right time, especially because I could finally afford it. It was also perfect timing because one of my friend’s birthdays was coming up, so we decided to plan the trip around it; Birthday in Dubai just has a nice ring to it.
Unfortunately, our trip didn’t start off great. We arrived in Dubai and didn’t have our suitcases because Egypt Air is the absolute worst. We had to go to Dubai Mall the evening we landed to buy clothes for the next day. We used the airline to try and save a bit of money, but we ended up spending all that money at the mall. I definitely won’t be using Egypt Air again.
In Dubai, we stayed at Millenium Atria Business Bay, a very central hotel that's close to almost everywhere, making it ideal for tourists like us. The next day we went to Desert Safari. We went quad biking, sandboarding and held birds; some of my friends were scared of the birds, but I didn’t flinch like the big girl that I am.
After that, we went to the actual desert and went camel riding. Then we all got hennas on our hands. Next, we had dinner with a belly-dancing performance on display and met a lot of locals. We had so much fun here. We went back to our hotel and ordered Subway; I hadn’t had Subway since I was in uni in England, so that was exciting.
We went back to the mall the next day because our suitcases still hadn't come. It was my friend’s birthday, so we were shopping for things to wear later in the day. We went for her birthday dinner at Rhain Steakhouse. We got the recommendation from a friend who lives in Dubai.
Rhain was amazing, and I’m so happy we went there. The waiters were the most pleasant people ever, and whenever they were bringing food to our table, it was the most elaborate show — this made the experience a hundred times better. The waiters even sang for the birthday girl. Our trip hadn’t started off great, but this dinner really made everything better and put huge smiles on our faces. Our suitcases also arrived that night, so it just capped off an amazing evening.
The next day we went to a waterpark called Aquaventure, and this was my favourite day of the entire trip. It’s one of the biggest waterparks in the world, and we had so much fun there. We went on like five or six rides; some of them looked scary at first but weren’t as scary when I went on them. Altogether, it was the most thrilling experience. I could go back over and over again. Many black people worked there, and they seemed legitimately excited to see us, so that improved our overall experience. When we were done with the rides, we went to get some ice cream. It was the perfect day with my girls.
The day after, we went to Miracle Garden, a really popular garden in Dubai. It’s such a beautiful, colourful place to visit. We got some drinks and took a ton of pictures. Then we went to Nammos; I had the smallest cocktail I’ve ever had here, but it was really nice. Nammos is a restaurant that also has a beachside. On the beachside, we met a group of four white women and mingled with them. I’m always happy when I meet new interesting people.
We went back to the mall because we wanted to buy things for our family and friends back home, and also because we wanted to go to the ice rink. But when we got there, the ice rink was closed, so we just went shopping. We went around the mall, trying out food from different stores and looking for things to buy.
The next morning, I went out by myself. We had been going everywhere together up until this point, and I thought it was the perfect time to explore the city alone. That morning, I used Backdrop to find pretty places that were close to me, and that’s how I found Wings of Mexico, which was like six minutes away from me.
I took a local taxi, and when I got there, I saw people taking pictures by the wings, so I decided to walk around. Right behind the Wings of Mexico, I found this really pretty restaurant called Othmans Lounge. From here, you can see a lot of pretty buildings like the Burj Khalifa, so I just sat down and enjoyed the scenery. I had a strawberry Mojito, and then I took pictures of Othmans Lounge and uploaded them on Backdrop. The waiter also suggested helping me take some pictures there; everyone in Dubai is used to tourists, so they know what’s up. I went back to the Wings of Mexico, and a couple there helped me take pictures. I helped them, too. They were so cute; I love me some romance.
The next place we went to was Skyview Observatory. It’s a tourist hotspot because it’s the perfect place to see Dubai's magnificent skyline. It’s definitely somewhere everyone should go to when they visit Dubai. This was our last day, so we went to the Dubai Fountain Lakeside at night, walked around, took in Dubai for the last time, and had some emotional conversations. Then, we went to our hotels and had really cute bubble baths. The next day, we were off to the airport and on our way back to Nigeria.
Even though the trip didn’t get off to the best start, my friends and I had an amazing time in Dubai. I’m so happy that we decided to go on the trip because now I feel so refreshed and ready to dive back into work. I will definitely be taking more frequent trips in the future because life is too short for you not to see the world.