I've been in Dubai for almost 3 years now and I had yet to attend a World Cup...but this year, a few of us decided to check it out...I had only heard good things about the event so I was really looking forward to it.
So we headed there at around 5PM, and got stuck in traffic before the roundabout leading to Nad el Sheba. The reason? Cops directing cars to head into one direction or another. 45 minutes later, we find parking in a sandpit, then we start walking. And we walked. And walked. And walked (in heels). We finally arrive at gate 7, only to find lineup that was so long and so deep, I was about to turn around and just walk away.
We sneaked in. Yes, I'm ashamed of it, especially as people had been waiting there for ages, but it really was ridiculous!
Anyway, so we're in, and by now it's past 6PM (so over an hour after we left my house).
We find our friend in the Bubble Lounge, hang around for a bit, get pushed around by people left, right and center...we mingle with a few friends then decided to grab a bite to eat. We wait in line for a pizza (but it moved pretty quickly thankfully), look around for a place to sit, can't find one, so we sit on the grass to eat (semi)-comfortably.
Back to the bubble lounge where we find friends that have a table, so we can finally rest our tired feet. A couple more drinks, then we decide to head out because a) we wanted to beat the crowd, b) we were tired after a long weekend of celebrating a friend's birthday and c) some of my friends had to still drive back to Abu Dhabi.
The friend that drove us to Nad el Sheba was staying a while longer, so we decided to take a cab...which meant having us walk on a sandy and rocky path (in heels!), which lead to a 20-minute lineup which was growing by the second. At one point, the cabs became scarce and we were worried we were going to spend our night waiting in line, but mercifully, a cab showed up and we were finally on our way home, black shoes turned dusty white, 3 hours and 20 minutes after we had gotten there.
All in all, I'd rate this as a pretty average experience for me (if not disappointing). Some people have told me that the event has increased in size compared to previous years...Regardless, I was slightly appalled by the organization (or lack thereof!), but again, it seems that previous years were much better on that front.
Oh, and I did see the back of a horse!