For awhile now there has been a lot of buzz surrounding Dubai. So due to a mistake by me (forgot to redeem a ticket with a lot of value) and UA's excellent customer service, I found myself with a ticket to Dubai in my hands. In the January 2009 edition of United Airlines Hemispheres magazine, there was an article stating “Three Perfect Days in Dubai” United Arab Emirates Day One: Check into Mirage Hotel Visit the following: Al Seef Road Park Bastakiya neighborhood Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding Dubai Museum Bar Dubai Souq Shindagha Heritage & Diving Village Eat/Drink at the following: Basta Art Café Kan Zaman – juices & sheesha Tangine – “Dubai’s finest Moroccan restaurant” Day Two: Visit the following: Jumeirah Mosque Open Beach Jumeirah Emirates Towers Wafi City Creekside Park Boat ride to Dhow Wharves Deira Souks Eat/Drink at the following: Al Nafoorah – “Dubai’s best casual Lebanese restaurant” Drinks at The Terrace in the Park Hyatt Dinner at Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire in the IC Festival City Day Three: Visit the following: Mall of the Emirates (& Ski Dubai) The Third Line – gallery Souk Madinat Jumeirah Eat/Drink at the following: Emporio Armani Café – pasta Almaz by Momo – Turkish coffee or Moraccan mint tea & pastries Drinks at Bahri Bar in the Mina A’Salam Hotel More drinks at the Grosvenor House Dine @ Mezzanine in theGrosvenor House More drinks at the Buddha Bar in the Grosvenor House -- There were three highlights during my trip to Dubai for me: a boat ride, Jumeirah Mosque tour, and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, everything else was meh. Don't get me wrong, it was fun to hang out with the FT'er who came along with me on this trip but after I saw the buildings, the ski slope, blah blah blah blah, Dubai just wasn't that interesting. The boat ride was really only pleasurable because it felt refreshing to be out on the water, the scenery is really nothing beautiful nor contains any wow factor. The Jumeirah Mosque tour was very educational, the mosque itself is very boring in an architectural sense, very small, very simple and because it was built in 1978, the workman & materials used were not the same quality at all of some of the earlier built mosques I had the good fortune to visit in Istanbul (another person I was speaking with on the tour made the same remark). The speaker (Emiratee male named Nasif (sp?)) was fantastic and gave great insights into the aspects of Mosque prayer and behavior. Details of the tour: http://www.cultures.ae I also enjoyed the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding http://www.cultures.ae which is located in the VERY boring/contrived Bastakiya area. The centre had a luncheon I went to (on certain days they offer lunch, other days breakfast). The speaker for my lunch was an American woman who converted to Islam & married an Emiratee. She was very fun and also upfront about what life is like as an Emiratee woman of Islamic faith. Her mother-in-law actually cooked the 7 dishes we enjoyed for lunch, so this was true Emiratee food, most "middle eastern" food in Dubai is Persian/Lebanese. I would state that if one is a leisure traveler, Dubai really wasn't that interesting (with the exception of the educational items I did). I thought my trips to Egypt and Israel were far more interesting.