After spending a cold and wet month in London, my partner and I jetted off to Dubai for some sunshine, sandy beaches and the unique Arabic culture.
As Namibians, we require a visa to enter the United Arab Emirates which is an easy 48-hour online process that will set you back US$165 (N$2 075) for a 14-day visa, US$180 (N$2 750) for a 30-day visa or US$475 (N$7 290) for a 90-day visa.
I went for the 30-day visa because my travel plans are like my hair – untamed, disorderly and I never really know what’s going on.
Another thing one is required to have before the visa is issued, is valid travel and medical insurance.
Most of which don’t cover the costs for anything Covid-related – ridiculous, I know.
I’ve always been told that holidaying in Dubai is an expensive exercise, but the perks that come with travelling in the middle of a pandemic are spectacular.
Everything tourism related (with the exception of airfare) is sold at a ridiculously lower rate.
We flew to Dubai from London with Emirates, and we received free Covid travel insurance, free Covid testing upon arrival at Dubai International Airport and a free hygiene kit aboard containing two masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes.
So if I were to get sickened with Covid-19 in Dubai, all my medical and quarantine costs are covered by the airline which is a pretty sweet deal considering those costs would amount to way more than my airfare.
There are several things one must consider when visiting any Arabic country, especially as a woman.
Many travellers (myself included before my arrival) imagine that visiting Dubai as a woman is much more difficult, complicated and stressful than it actually is.
Dubai ranks high on the list of the world’s safest cities, despite its location in a region that often makes headlines for conflict.
Even though women travelling in the United Arab Emirates are not expected to cover their heads or don traditional Muslim attire, both men and women are encouraged to dress modestly whenever going out.
Brushing up on local customs and norms before your trip will always help you avoid awkward or potentially risky situations.
Dubai is hot, Ovamboland-like hot but the Arctic-like air conditioning in most malls and public spaces will have you lugging around something warmer to wear.
Plainly put, the air conditioning everywhere in Dubai is freezing. Like uit die blou van onse hemel freezing.
I am super excited to spend three weeks discovering this extraordinary place, the home of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, palm-shaped island archipelagos, indoor ski-slopes and aquariums.
Nonetheless, while my good-looking Norwegian man and I await the results of our Covid tests (my 7th, and counting), we find ourselves quarantined.
This is no ordinary quarantine though, we find ourselves quarantined with the leading brand of premium Scandinavian vodka, in honour of my vanilla gorilla.
This delicious collaboration, between Pernod Ricard Namibia and me, has been long in the making.
And I am delighted to travel to my second far-flung country with Pernod Ricard Namibia and their unique portfolio of international wines and spirits.
I’m going to enjoy my day of quarantine with Absolut Passionfruit, powered by Pernod Ricard Namibia.
Until next week.