The last time I went offline (as in no email, SOS calls only) was when I went on my honeymoon ten years ago. For our tenth wedding anniversary I decided to do it again. This time offline meant no email, no Twitter, no Facebook, no Instagram and SOS calls only. I took my wife and boys for a week to Dubai. where we stayed at the Burj Al Arab hotel, notoriously known as the world’s most luxurious hotel.
It was quite an experience. The view from my hotel room was absolutely breathtaking. Every morning we woke up to this.
The Burj Khalifa, the world tallest building, shone like a lighthouse on the horizon as we went to sleep every night.
The Burj Al Arab is the pinnacle of luxury. To give you an idea the suite we stayed in was 170 square meters large. That’s about 1,830 square feet. And it was the smallest suite in the hotel.
Staying offline was a bit of a challenge. Especially when the suite came with a fully equipped business center complete with an iMac and a print/copy/scan/fax unit.
My wife and I celebrated our tenth anniversary at the Skyview Bar of the Burj Al Arab hotel suspended 200 meters above sea level over looking the Dubai skyline. I had a their signature cocktail aptly called Burj Royale.
They say one of the best ways to see Dubai is from the air. So we went for a helicopter ride over the city. The boys enjoyed it. My wife and I had never been in a helicopter before. So it was quite an experience for us as well. Here is a picture of the Palm Jumeirah as seen from above.
The Palm Jumeirah is the world’s largest man made island. Its so large that it is visible from space with the naked eye.
Another tourist attraction in Dubai is the desert safari where people take Toyota Land cruisers and go dune bashing. I had a Hummer for the week and we went dune bashing with it. It was great.
We cross a patch of the desert to arrive at the desert camp where we had traditional Arabic food and enjoyed some belly dancing.
We drove the Hummer down to Abu Dhabi to spend the day at Ferrari World, a Ferrari themed amusement park which is home to Formula Rossa, the world’s fastest roller coaster that touches 240 kmph (150 mph).
Its a launched roller coaster, which means that you are literally flung out at the start of the ride. You end up doing a 0 to 240 kmph in 4.9 seconds. The launch system used is a hydraulic one similar to the one they use to launch planes off aircraft carriers. The ride lasts for only 90 seconds and covers 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles). The roller coaster track is similar to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza race track, the point of which is to let riders experience the same G forces that Formula 1 race drivers experience.
I love riding roller coasters. But I tell you, the Formula Rossa is plain and simple insane. I was literally clinging on to dear life waiting for it to end. Those were the longest 90 seconds of my life. We had to wear protective gear to cover our eyes to prevent damage from stuff like airborne particles and insects.
I spent some time at the Ferrari Museum which had some exquisite cars from back in the day.
I tried my hand at changing the tyre of a Formula 1 race car. I took 19.5 seconds to do it single handed, which I’m told is not too bad. 😉
Dubai is known as the City of Gold and a visit to the Dubai Gold Souk is a must. Souk means market in Arabic. It is said that at any given time there are around ten tons of gold in the Dubai Gold Souk. Its quite easy to believe that number when the shops look like this.
I also took some time out to pet the motorcycles at the Dubai Harley Davidson dealership.
This vacation was truly a memorable one. What made it even more enjoyable was the fact that I was completely offline. Being physically present in an amazing place with the people you love isn’t enough. You need to mentally present one hundred percent as well. This is what I learned from this awesome vacation in Dubai.