Life | When Time Stands Still

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When Time Stands Still
Text by Sitanshi Talati-Parikh
Published: Volume 21, Issue 11, November, 2013

Dubai is a non-stop happening destination, but it can also mean curling your toes on the beach, discovers Sitanshi Talati-Parikh

Water isnít something you naturally associate with Dubai. Not in the way you would sand dunes, for instance. But just having sand dunes by azure waters and pristine pale beaches on one side, and a European-style walkway on the other side. The JBR Walk feels like you have been transplanted into the south of France without the long flight. Cafťs jostle for attention, street artists pick a spot, a serene breeze wafts from the waterfront, and you are spoilt for choice from international chains to Indian chaat corners all lined up looking pretty. On one side, our sprawling resort flows onto the gorgeous expanse of beach, and on the other it opens onto The Walk with a line of jostling cafes and restaurants, where people-watching is a favourite pastime and where you can casually pick up a 2000$ dress or two off Boutique 1 with their personalised shopping service.

In a place that has so much happening all the time, itís amazing to be able to sit back and experience the city as a laid-back purveyor of time. There was nowhere we had to go, nothing we had to buy, no one we had to meet, nothing we had to see. Suddenly, time stood still and we celebrated breakfast, served up European-style on plush couches with the soft tinkle of muted conversation. We sank our toes into the pristine sand and I watched my daughter take in the rays in the outdoor play area. We played catch across the expanse of beach and were breathless when we reached the foaming water and the hills of sand dunes. We floated in the lazy pool that wound, in dizzying circles, around the property. We watched the live kebab counters throw up Mediterranean flatbreads that made perfect roti substitutes.

Dubai is such a polarising city. Itís like the movies, Lootera or Dev D Ė either you love it or you donít love it. Life manages to come to a materialistic stop in Dubai Ė where you end up shopping and losing yourself in the mecca of commercialism. We rushed off to the usual routes Ė and realised once again how much of the world this city offers. It has commercialised its Arabic culture into sheesha and kebab restaurants, and also invited a host of cultures into the fray. There is a taste of India, of Shakespeare, of a London pub, of a tiki lounge and you can source pretty much anything from any part of the world. And yet, itís most important possession is that it also knows how to relax. Watching the water fountains in the Marina area throw up a riot of colours, you look at the fascination in the eyes of the little children gathered around and you actually wonder at how time could mean anything more than just moments that catch your breath.

5 THINGS TO DO IN DUBAI THAT DONíT INCLUDE A MALL:
1. International Film Festival - A week-long film festival showcasing a wide selection of features, shorts and documentaries from around the world held every December.
2. International Jazz Festival - Jazz bands and artists from around the world, held every February at Dubai Media City.
3. International Boat Show - The largest and longest established boat show in the Middle East held every first week of March at Dubai International Marine Club.
4. Camel Racing - A traditional sport, the sight of these ungainly animals ridden by artificial jockeys (robotic) is an extraordinary spectacle. From October to April, free admission.
5. Stay at The Ritz Carlton Dubai, Jebel Ali, Jumeirah: The perfect hideout, for a Dubai beach vacation turns out to be right here.

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