HER: Dubai

Initially, I only decided to meet Dubai because I’ll be crossing paths with her during my voyage. It is supposed to be a short hang out with Dubai, however, because of her heartwarming hospitality, I was hosted for a good 2 weeks.

Dubai is a very charming lady, and she speaks and walks with confidence. Also, known as the “city girl” amongst the 7 Emirati princesses, she is very different from the rest. She’s wearing a Khalifa designer gown, which went well with her Jumeriah earrings. Inside she wore a Fahidi dress in Neo-traditional hues that send whispers from the sands of Arabia. Her Hatta bracelet dangle as she  raised her hand, waving to me with an elegantly charming smile.

“Hello Dubai”

“Hello, Ronnie! You looked a little tired”

“Yeah, I haven’t exactly slept on the plane, so...”, I said with a shrug and an awkward chuckle. 

“Come come, let’s get you comfortable”

Dubai hosted me in one of her buildings. She’s the daughter of the Burj. The one who’s supposed to be the next in line for the famous international real estate company. 

“66th floor for you, the highest living area from here”, she said as she pulled out her drawer of keys. From here I can tell that Dubai is a very organized person, as I could see her designing books standing neatly, organized by the color spectrum. 

I saw her city building game arsenal at the side, alongside with her work desk. Amongst all, one of them stood out to me, “Atlantis: build your own underwater city.”, I smiled to myself as I love the ocean and the sea. I always enjoy going to the aquarium when I’m young.

“Are you not tired? This late?”

“Well... Dubai never sleeps”, she smiles as she held up a cup of coffee while referring to herself in third person.

We went out to several places over the days, and knowing that I love arts, Dubai recommended me several interesting art places and I had tremendous fun exploring them in the warm fuzzy and not too humid afternoon. We also went to the Capitol, where we visited the tallest man-made building in the world. It looked so different you know, like... it’s so weird to see a building so tall that it made everything else seem so little. Dubai even introduced me to her sister Dhabi, where I went for her art exhibition. 

*

We hung out till late and on one of the days, we found ourselves running for the last train. We were in-between catching our breaths before we decide to get pizza. Having pizza at 2 am at the balcony of the building, I found Dubai starring out into the abyss, peering over at the half-done construction site where they are working 24/7 trying to finish the building ASAP. We were so high up that it felt like we were watching an ant colony trying to build its nest. 

“Y..know, I really like estate planning, but my dad just wants me to be in charge”, She muttered under the breath.

“Uh-huh, listening”, I said while gesturing her to tell me more. 

“And everybody is treating me like a princess just because I’m his daughter. And I don’t really like that...”, she trailed off as if she’s gathering her thoughts or was she hesitating if she should say more. Maybe both. 

“You know, I wish that people could see me for who I am, aside from all the glamour, extravagance, the luxury, and the makeups. Everything inside that makes me, me.”, she finished.

“Y’know, it’s funny how I actually call makeups war paint”, I smiled and said.

“War paint ?! Never heard that one before, now it really does seems like warpaint because I have to don make ups to meet clients”, she said with a laugh.

“But, one day. You’ll meet the ones who would really see you for who you are, and you’ll feel so different. I’m writing back at home, hoping to inspire people to travel more, to connect deeper... it’s tough, but one day! Just keep doing you and don’t forget to be happy”, I said while I awkwardly patted her shoulders.

“We will see okay?! I promise I’ll try to be happy”, she chirped, as if the depressing conversation didn’t happen.

*

And then it’s time for us to part. It is always leaving that makes me really sad. It is as if I’m saying goodbye to all the good memories, even though I know I’m not. I have to head back before I head off again for my next voyage.

We were standing in front of each other, as I thanked her for everything. We smiled and laughed. For the first time, I looked really deeply into her eyes, and I could see a shade of emerald embracing the hazel hues in her pupils. It felt like the emerald city from Oz. And it’s dazzling and beautiful.

“Look, here’s something from me to you okay, it possibly isn’t something, but I’m really happy that you enjoy traveling and I hope you’ll continue doing so. So let me get your next air ticket for you, you can go anywhere, just let me know and I’ll make arrangements for you! Consider this a one time gift”, she said while giving me a golden metallic card with crimson red engraving that reflects the light. I could almost see her eyes from the golden part of the card.

My heart stopped for a bit.

“Not something? It is pretty much something. It is a lot!”

“Just let me get your next trip okay! I really want to thank you for being such a great company for the past 2 weeks”, she said while resting her hands on my shoulders. 

“W..well, I don’t know what to say Dubai..”, I was really caught off guard with this. 

“Just give the number on this card a call, look for Emi, she’ll help you make arrangements when you’d decided where to go”, she said with a wink!

“Thank you! Thank you so so much, Dubai”, I spoke with a mixture of disbelief and happiness.

“One thank you is enough silly! Meanwhile, I’ll look forward to reading your writing about me soon”, she said.

“I will! I’ll mail you when I’m done with it.”

“Until next time then Ronnie.”

“Until next time, Dubai.”


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