Dubai Miracle Garden bills itself as “the world’s largest natural flower garden”and the 72,000-square-meter attraction has more than 45 million flowers. By our personal observations 44,999,999 of those flowers are petunias. There may have been a marigold in there somewhere too.
Brunette found out about the Miracle Garden before we left and the pictures on the website were quite compelling. We thought it seemed like a better use of time than going to a shopping center to see a ski slope (a major tourism ‘must do’ in Dubai). Given that we never went to see the ski slope we don’t know if we were right about our choice.
Miracle #1 : This many petunias can be kept alive anywhere, much less the desert.
Miracle #2: Visitors to the garden in the daytime can survive at all. The day we visited the gardens in March the temp was well into the 90s Fahrenheit and there isn’t any shade anywhere.
Dubai likes to have things be neat and orderly which is generally a very positive characteristic for a city. However, the guards in the Miracle Garden are numerous, menacing men with whistles and the corrupting taste of power in their mouths. (We’re not talking the “flower power” of the 60s here – this is active resistance – to visitors.)
We observed several people sitting in front of some of the flowers and having their pictures taken. Deciding to do the same before we melted into completely unrecognizable blobs, Brunette sat demurely in the same photo-opp spot others had been using. No problem. Blonde took Brunette’s picture then switched places.
Major whistle blowing ensued. An angry guard shouted to Blonde that she could not pick the flowers – something she definitely wasn’t doing. Seriously, who wants a wilted petunia? You be the judge if one sister is being good and one being bad.
We began to see that Blonde and Brunette were viewed very differently by the guards. Blonde was glared at by an unending supply of guards who saw her every move as evidence of probable criminal behavior. Brunette picked flowers, mugged a few old ladies and ran nude throughout the gardens without any interference from the guards.
Finally, wilted and exhausted we made our way back to the entrance gate. We’d had a taxi driver take us to the gardens as they are nowhere near public transportation. We asked if one of the young men at the ticket gate would call our taxi driver for us as we didn’t have international service on our phones. He very nicely did so and informed us that it would be about a 20 minute wait.
Although there shouldn’t have been anything surprising about this we were so hot we despaired as if we had a real problem. One of the men brought a chair for Blonde to sit on and he thoughtfully placed it in the shade. No chair for Brunette until her kindly sister indicated that one would be welcome and then one was produced.
Blonde commented that she was thirsty as the refreshment tents on the edge of the property had sold out of water. The same helpful man scurried off and brought Blonde a cup of water. No water for Brunette who was in a coma by this time so it might have been a waste anyway. After all, it’s one thing to irrigate 45 million petunias but why waste 3 ounces of water on a Brunette?
Moments before the taxi’s arrival Blonde’s new BFF asked if he could have his picture taken with Blonde. Sure, why not?
Miracle #3: Brunette found all of this to be amusing and not offensive. She realized that it somewhat balanced the scales after Blonde being treated as Public Enemy #1 while in the actual flower garden.
After our semi-miraculous survival we went to a lovely small shopping center, Medina Jumeirah Mall, that has a lake and Moorish architecture, for some much-needed sustenance.
Afterwards we couldn’t face the prospect of public transportation (even though it’s excellent) so we had another taxi take us back to our hotel. Over the course of the ride our driver told us he was from Pakistan but that he’d had to leave it “after the Taliban fucked it up”. He has a wife and two young children who live there.
He then asked Blonde her age, she actually told the truth, and he announced that he’d thought she was roughly half that old and asked if she would marry him. She (regrettably) declined.
And you wonder why we call this “Blonde Brunette Travel”?