From Greece to Dubai – Here is My Story
Passion for Dubai caught up with Eleni Paraskevopoulou, a Marketing professional who is currently living in Dubai. Eleni came to Dubai 2 years ago and holds more than 16 years of experience in the luxury hotels industry. Prior to her move to Dubai, she had her own PR & Marketing consulting agency and has worked for luxury hotel chains.
PFD: How many years have you been living in Dubai and was it difficult for you to adjust moving here from Greece?
EP: I moved to Dubai exactly two years ago and yes the decision to move was a difficult one. I had to leave my comfort zone, the things, places, people and professionally speaking the market that I knew and to settle in brand new environment. It is one thing being a visitor in a city or travelling around the world and then return home and quite another to move to another city and create a life from the beginning. I have to say though that I was fortunate enough from the very beginning to have Greek friends here in Dubai that helped me a lot to find my ways around and settle in comfortably. Now, after two years, I can tell you that Dubai is a very exciting city to live in!
PFD: If someone is visiting Dubai for the first time, what do you recommend them to see and do?
EP: There are a lot of things to do while you are in Dubai. The city practically re-invents itself every few years and there are more things to do and see.
You can visit Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Center for Cultural Understanding where you can learn all about Dubai, its culture, the way people lived in the past and more. You can visit the Heritage Village which was built in 1997, at the Al Shindagha historic neighbourhood. The reason behind establishing it was to display the traditional life style in the emirate of Dubai, as well as a form of an introduction to the traditional customs, traditions, professions and local craftsmanship.
On more modern note about Dubai, you can go At The Top of Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and a truly impressive architectural wonder. You can literally see all around Dubai!
Continue by enjoying lunch or dinner in one of the hotels by The Palm and visit Jumeirah Beach to take a dive in the warm waters and grab a snack.
Feel like enjoying the nightlife? There are trendy bars and clubs all around the city. Around DIFC (Dubai International Financial Center) you will definitely find the trendiest ones.
Fancy shopping? Visit Dubai Mall, the world’s largest mall and if you come during the Dubai Shopping Festival (happening every year in January for a whole month) you will find amazing discounts and offers. While there see the dancing fountains, a truly beautiful spectacle combining music and lights with the water features going really high!
To end do not miss having a dessert safari which includes dining under the stars. The dessert is simply a breathtaking place to be!
Finally if you have the time, drive to Abu Dhabi to visit the Grand Mosque it is a beautiful mosque with amazing decorations and fine details.
PFD: Where is the best view in Dubai and why?
EP: I would say from the beach of Al Mamzar Park as you can see the Dubai skyline. Also a truly beautiful place for relaxation. Also you can go to Burj Al Arab and enjoy the sunset. Truly beautiful…
Where would you get the best local experience and what would that be?
In Deira. This is the old Dubai, where everything started. Visit the Creek side, take a ride on the boat, enjoy the views. Visit the Spice Souk and the Gold Souk to get the feeling of the “market”.
PFD: Name your three favorite restaurants?
EP: Fume in Pier 7, Dubai Marina. A very cozy place with very nice service, amazing drinks and good food.
Wakame, Downtown Dubai. Amazing, amazing Asian cuisine. Friendly service, creative drinks. Did I mention that the food is amazing?
PFD: Are there any similarities between Greece and Dubai?
EP: If you focus on the human element there are similarities in the perspective that Emiratis and Arabs in general are family oriented, they are proud people and they want to live life to the fullest. But if we compare the two cities in structure, lifestyle, working environment Dubai is very different from Greece. Everything evolving around your everyday life here is easy and accessible. Technology is used to the fullest and there are very good business opportunities.
PFD: What’s Dubai’s best kept secret?
EP: I don’t think Dubai has one to be honest. The city lays in front of you, ready to be discovered. You can discover things to do according to your lifestyle. From quiet time in the beach, to yoga. From big nightclubs to cozy little restaurants.