Dagmar Pelzer has been an IgoUgo member for more than eight years, but we’ve never seen her write as passionately about a trip as she does now. Her stories of financial and cultural excesses in the UAE support her characterization of Dubai as a “crazy place where everything is possible.” Not anything—everything.
“I wanted to see this crazy place where everything is possible, where the local population is almost minute in numbers, and where foreigners don't rule,” she says. “Local customs reign, rules are strict, and experiences are incredible.”
Her experiences in excess included diamond-shopping in suqs and shopping centers; sitting by the fire at desert ski slopes; standing on the world’s largest Persian carpet in Sheikh Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque; and dune-bashing to a Bedouin campsite.
But without a doubt her most luxurious tales come from two of the UAE’s most famous hotels, the Burj Al Arab and the Emirates Palace. The Burj Al Arab “is so exclusive that no one is allowed to enter the gates without a reservation,” says Dagmar. Once that was sorted, she entered a suites-only world boasting the world’s tallest atrium and Hermès perfume in the restrooms. All very nice until the next day, when she visited the Emirates Palace for real grandeur. There, “men and women in candoras and abaias seem to float noiselessly” around “hall after hall of Picasso’s work,” and “11 pounds of edible gold” are used daily to decorate rich desserts.
With fascinating cultural observations added to these tales of over-the-top wealth (our traveler was lucky that it was “women’s day” at the Picasso gallery, for example), Dagmar Pelzer's journal is a wonderful introduction to an “incredible” destination.