Tip: If you have special needs or could use help getting around, there's a special desk for you between rows A and B in the Departure Hall. There are also electric carts to assist in getting from one concourse to another.
I call it Arab easy. The Dubai airport is beautiful and efficient, the city is flat and residents - only 15 percent of whom are Emiratees - are more tolerant of Western-style dress and behavior than in other parts of the Middle East. Not that you want to be an ugly American - or Brit, Canadian, German, etc. Dress modestly and no smooching in public.
If flying from the U. S. or Canada, you will arrive in Dubai at night, just time for a look-around, a dip in the pool, a light bite and a good night's sleep. Wake the next morning refreshed, breakfast, tour, shop and enjoy one more night's sleep before catching an early morning flight eastward.
Ride the Big Bus and tour the city - the red route takes you through the city, the blue route to the beaches and Mall of the Emirates.
Tip: Probably due to heat as well as cultural influences, there is no walking culture in Dubai. Everyone expects to ride in an air-conditioned vehicle to an air-conditioned destination whenever possible.
Expect the exceptional and prepare for the superlatives - world's biggest, fanciest, best, newest, most luxurious. Although always a stop for traders, Dubai is modern; the buildings you see weren't begun until after 1971 when the UAE was formed. And what buildings - curved, twisted, sail-like, taller than tall and sprouting like weeds.
Better for an unforgettable overview and panorama, make reservations for lunch, high tea or dinner at the Burj Al Arab, Jumeirah's flagship and the world's first seven-star hotel. Try to arrange a tour of its all two-story suite accommodations and spectacular restaurants. You won't be able to just walk in; advance reservations are required.
Hit the water - the beach to relax, the creek for its hustle and bustle, the Gulf for a cruise around The Palm Jumeirah.
Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Theirs is an open doors, open minds policy. All questions are answered in a non-threatening environment; I found it fascinating.
Bastakya, a new complex of traditional Arab style architecture with museums and galleries. Don't miss XVA Gallery, http://www.xvagallery.com/, its thought-provoking exhibits and its lovely courtyard cafe.
This will keep you going for a day and then some and I haven't mentioned sports and festivals, two other Dubai specialties. Next visit, my plans are to take in the horse and camel racing, indulge in a desert safari complete with dune-bashing and camel riding, savor Art Dubai and catch the International Horse Fair.
Where to stay.
Dubai's 352 hotels are modern, high-tech and beautifully decorated. Whether three-, four-, five- or seven-star, you can count on a hospitable welcome. Yes, it would be lovely to stay at Jumeirah's Burj Al Arab if the $2500 per night price were no object. I've seen the suites - living, dining room downstairs, palacial bedroom and bath up - and talked to those who have stayed there and they rave on and on and on.
Tip: Levelers, there are suites with elevators if you'd rather not bother with a grand staircase.
The Westin Mina Seyahi overlooking the gulf was exceedingly comfortable and you can find every hotel chain in Dubai, from Holiday Inn to boutique hotels to where else, the Burj.
Like Las Vegas, another made from scratch city in the desert, Dubai was designed for tourists and I can't wait to be one there again, testing more of Dubai's hotels and tours before traveling through the rest of the Arab Emirates.