The gifts of Dubai

dubai museum of the future

My feet are throbbing, I can feel a blister forming. I’m determined to not let it slow me down though as we continue our way through the Dubai Expo 2020.  The expo is a neighborhood size event full of pavilions from countries all over the world. It features a celebration of one another’s cultures, foods, arts, technology, people, and ideas. It is everything I hoped it would be.

Let me remind, we had been planning our trip to Dubai for months. It originally was going to be a follow up to Japan, however Japan’s covid closures prevented us from being able to see Japan. So we changed our flights around and after 28 hours of travel… we finally arrived in Dubai from the US.

Dubai is exceptionally clean, modern, and masterfully built as a city. Its newer sections have been planned out and are easy to get around. Our hotel was in Internet city, a 10 minute walk from the metro.

We gave ourselves the first day to sleep in, get adjusted to the 9 hour time difference and walk to the nearby grocery store and get some water and snacks for the hotel. The grocery store was clean, laid out well and we had no problem paying with our credit card. Later than night we walked 20 minutes to a cash exchange area to convert a few hundred dollars into aed’s. (Arab Emirate Dirhams).

Dubai Expo 2020

Tuesday we woke up, had a good breakfast and hopped on the metro, ready for a full day at the Expo. From the minute we arrived, I savored every moment. The variety of people – colors, ages, styles of dress, languages. Everyone with a common goal.  At the center of the Expo is the Al Wasl dome. Peaceful music played from the speakers throughout the day. At night it was transformed by lights.

We visited dozens of different countries’ pavilions, learned, talked, got stamps in our expo passport. We tried a variety of foods, talked with the artisans when possible. One of my favorite moments was while watching a trio of musicians from around the world. While listening to them, all around us kids got up and danced. Each dancing in a style true to their own heritage. It was so beautiful to watch these uninhibited kids joyfully move to the music.


Dubai – Museum of the Future

We fell in love with this new museum. Only open a few weeks, it is state of the art. They museum starts out sharing what life could be like in 2071. Technology, ways to save the planet from climate change, new ideas for energy.. it also address the mind and body with grounding stations, hand massage machines, aromatherapy, and meditation rooms.

The Library was the most visually stunning room I’ve ever seen. Rows  representing dna blueprints save from all animals and plants, to help sustain and innovate life.

the museum of the future

The next area shows new invention ideas. Including this suit that includes a built in seat.

built in seat

The interior is clean and stunning, the building itself is so unique in it’s shape and style.

The messaging on the building is based on words from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, “The secret to the renewal of life, the evolution of civilizations, and the development of humanity is simple; innovation.”

“The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It isn’t something you await; but rather create.”

“We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity leave a legacy long after we’re gone.”


In one of my bravest moments, I walked across the clear glass floor, 40 stories up in the Dubai Frame. It was exhilarating. Bruce and Aspen also walked it.


We visited the Palm islands, a set of man-made islands built in the shape of a giant palm. At the end is the Atlantis hotel. We visited at sunset and it was perfect.  Their is a monorail that runs the length of the islands making it super easy.


Overall, we loved Dubai. The skyline, the innovation and possibilities the city represents, the people. It was lovely.

The metro easy to use, clean, and very affordable. The prices in general were the same or slightly more than the US for food and shopping. Everything was written in both English and Arabic. Most places also accepted US dollars.

The Burj Khalifa was a standout amongst the skyline. I loved the architectural details, seeing the traffic below ground, the malls. We even loved seeing our Minnesota based coffee chain, Caribou here in Dubai. Every inch was clean and welcoming.


The lessons I will take from Dubai:

Build for the future. Think big. Innovate.


noelle rollins art