IT HAS never been clearer than it was the day I touched down in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, that people fear what they do not understand or know.
For years, I have been operating under the misconception that for a young, single, white female, Dubai was not safe.
I don't know who started the rumour that led to such a massive blunder, but in all honesty, I felt safer walking around this Arabic city than I do walking around any city in Australia.
There is no doubt in my mind the reason for the almost non-existent crime rate in the city is due to the strict monitoring of liquor licences, work visas and alcohol consumption.
The tour guide who took me around the city actually showed me where the jail used to be.
It was abandoned some time ago because there were not enough prisoners to justify having one.
If only Australia could say the same thing.
These tight rules and regulations can be daunting for any traveller, but at the end of the day you just need be mindful of the cultural and religious differences and respect them Co and don't break the law.
The only change I made was to cover up a little more than usual and quite frankly in 36 degree-plus heat, it was a blessing (I didn't get sunburnt at all).
Most of my time in the sandy city was spent in the air-conditioned comfort of my hotel, the mall, restaurants or on the tour bus.
But on the occasions I did step out into the sun, the heat was bearable.
During the day, it is a dry heat and by night it is humid, but the weather does guarantee you will have beautiful blue skies on your vacation.
My trip had so many highlights, but the one that stands out was my visit to the old town.
I took a short boat ride on an abra, a traditional wooden boat, across Dubai Creek.
The body of water, which was more a harbour than a creek, links the old and new town and made for fantastic photo opportunities.
It is incredible to think that in just over three decades, Dubai has gone from a humble fishing village to a modern bustling metropolis.
The old town was unlike anything I had ever seen before Co a bustling market filled with locals and tourists, all out to get the best bargain.
I have to admit I was not a very savvy shopper.
My tour guide said I should barter with the merchants, but it all seemed like a bit too much trouble.
The prices were reasonable and I had no intention of ripping off someone who was just trying to feed his family. …