When booking our dream holiday, my wife and I eventually boiled down our selection of possible hotspot destinations to just two final contenders, Thailand or Dubai, two countries renowned for their decadence and seldom-rivalled opulence. We were determined to optimise our ‘once in a lifetime’ holiday, however, and in a joint effort to realise as many of our dreams as possible, we each agreed that it would be best to proceed uninhabited as we sought out as many cultural treasures as our fortnight abroad could possibly afford us.
But first we had to decide just where were we headed? My first choice was Thailand and then Dubai and conversely, hers were the same but in reverse order. Thailand’s appeal had less seedy powers of persuasion over my former younger self and now, approaching my mid-thirties, I came to realise that I was far more interested in the largely unknown, undiscovered aspects of the country, whatever they were. Nowadays, the glitz and glamorous allure of a hundred city-based bars had long seemingly faded away along with my lust-fuelled youth!
The hedonism of highly publicised places such as Phuket now held little appeal, but I felt certain that there must be more in hiding, just waiting to be discovered. A neighbour had told us about a remote place called Koh Kood, which apparently summed up the true essence of this spiritually significant country. And that’s all we knew; that and the fact that Koh Kood certainly served as no exception to Thailand’s stunning food and scenery, which is what we were both looking forward to more than anything else… that and a distinct lack of tourists!
Then there was Dubai, which in our minds at least, was a country whose over-the-top exhibitionism could only be rivalled by Thailand and the comparable wealth of opportunities it holds for your senses to succumb to the surrounding seductive atmosphere. Neither of us was looking for retail therapy from our holiday and we knew that we were practically being sacrilegious in avoiding the ‘bright lights and big city’ culture, but standing amidst the undeniably impressive multi-billion dollar skyscrapers with a multitude of shiny people didn’t sound like our idea of fun at all.
Being relatively well informed, we were quite intrigued about the oil-based transformation Dubai had undergone in its rich history as a former trade capital, chief oil supplier and onward to today as it becomes one of the world leaders in today’s global construction game. We really wanted to see the flipside to Dubai’s unabashed display of wealth, and my wife was particularly keen to visit a traditional marketplace and to stray from the beaten track in order to find a famous restoration site called Bastakiya in Old Dubai. And yes, we really fancied trying a proper curry, Indian or otherwise!
So, where did we end up you might ask; well as it happens we went ahead and booked our Thai holiday with Hayes & Jarvis, before postponing it until 2013, when we’re also considering booking our Hayes and Jarvis Dubai holiday. Taking a month out of the same year to explore unchartered yet idyllic territory does sound even more enjoyable than two separate holidays in two different years, right?