A Travellerspoint blog

United Arab Emirates

Dubai

first day

sunny 35 °C

well first 24 hours here, and our first good night's sleep! What an amazing place, 35 degrees, hot and hazy(sand).Tracey and Mark and his Mum Alison looked after us brilliantly, driving around to see the major and marks.L1060732.jpgL1060779.jpg
It is all about wealth and status here. Car number plates signify your status i.e.the lower the number the higher your rank. At the Palms resort a mercedes with 1,meant royalty present. Car dealerships for Lamborghini, Ferrari Bently all feature.To stay a night there in a room with aquarium wall is $16k, and lots families with children around.Such obvious wealth.L1060769.jpgDSCF2344.jpg
The aquarium at the Dubai Mall was amazing.Asbsolutely huge. As it was Friday (their'Sunday) it got incredibly busy by about 4pm.We had a lovely Lebanese meal for lunch. The size and number of shops is overwhelming. We have seent he very expensive parts so far so just looking! not even tempted tho as it is outrageous. Lots of young women walking around with arms laden with bags and bags of these labels.Yes Steph - Gucci for babies!!!L1060769.jpgDSCF2378.jpg
Sal's photos show much more graphically the dichotomy here. Camels on the outskirts in the desert with shepherds in shacks tending them.L1060731.jpglarge_DSCF2385.jpgDSCF2368.jpgDSCF2354.jpg

Posted by Sallyj66 20:04 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (4)

Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi 31.3.18

Tracey, Alison and I drove on the open road (speed limit 140kph) through the desert to visit both the Grand Mosque and for Sal to revisit her old haunts when living here some 30 years ago.Both were incredible.large_L1060810.jpg

Driving here is an experience in itself. Trucks use only the RH lane. The highway is 6 lanes wide in each direction, and cars just fly and weave in a and out of lanes with the deftness of a gadfly. One just has to trust the process!!

The Grand Mosque has left me out of superlatives, it is serenely beautiful and breathtaking in its datail. DSCF2449.jpgThe photos show it more eloquently than words.The chandeliers are swarofski crystal.DSCF2414.jpgThe carpet had 80 women make it by hand and was made in one piece.DSCF2423.jpg I forget how many tons of gold are used on the building. As you will see we needed to be suitably attired.DSCF2439.jpgDSCF2388.jpg The heat is difficult and so pleased we went at this time the year. The crowds are something else. As we were leaving there was a call to prayer and that was very special.

Sal’s hunt for the places she used to teach swimming and tennis was challenging as everything is so different. The buildings look tired now but it was nice to reconnect with memories of happy family times.L1060853.jpg

In the evening we decided to make our own way back into the city to watch the fountain display outside the Dubai Mall. OMG the crowds and traffic.L1060910.jpgL1060908.jpglarge_L1060901.jpg It was gorgeous. Despite being pushed and shoved in the throng we have never felt unsafe, rules are definitely NOT made to be broken here.

Posted by Sallyj66 22:12 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (2)

Souks

a day of contrasts

overcast 34 °C

Today Sal and Tracey started the day with a swim in the sea,L1060929.jpg it seemed a great idea until I realised later that they were 'breaking a rule'! L1060931.jpgHowever they both enjoyed it immensely (maybe partly because of).

We then drove to Sharjah (another emirates) to the Blue Souk (market).L1060962.jpgL1060957.jpgL1060954.jpg Sharjah is more closely aligned with Saudi and therefore more strict with their adherence to religious protocols. It is also cheaper to live there and many people commute between the cities.There was a definite different feel in the two areas - more glitz and glamour in Dubai. large_DSCF2508.jpg

Once back in Dubai we went to Dubai Creek. DSCF2527.jpglarge_DSCF2525.jpgWhat an attack on the senses!! The dhow are just incredible in their sheer numbers, dilapidated states and crammed in right next to shiny, blingy buildings. Need to see to believe. We went to an old souk there which was full on.DSCF2496.jpglarge_DSCF2484.jpg Had lunch there, didnt spend too long in the souk as it was pretty crazy.DSCF2489.jpg We then had a lovely ride on the creek in a dhow to get some great different angles of the city. Even the contras from one bank of the river to the other.

Posted by Sallyj66 16:38 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (3)

Last day in Dubai

semi-overcast

We were on our own today as Tracey and Mark were working. Sal had made contact with an old water ski-ing friend, so we met up in the Emirates Mall for a coffee. That was certainly more manageable than the Dubai Mall. Had photos outside the snow planet ( ridiculous)!DSCF2558.jpg

We wanted to visit the Jumierah Mosque that Sal had done a school project about many years ago.DSCF2564.jpgL1070005.jpg Our taxi driver from Bangladesh became very agitated when he thought it so unfair that the ladies were out holidaying when he was spending everything on his wife and family back home! Only gets to see them once a year. We were too late for the tour but were allowed to go inside for a look. Very different from our Abu Dhabi visit.

From there we went up to the Meena Bazaar to look at fabrics..L1070012.jpgDSCF2586.jpgDidn't find the particular shop the was recommended, but there were huge numbers of others . Haggling is one of my least favourite things, but thank goodness for Sal who likes the challenge! We at long last found a genuine samosa place.DSCF2571.jpg

Also visited the Dubai Museum which was very interesting. DSCF2576.jpgDSCF2573.jpgGave me lots of ideas for things and places that we hadn't explored yet.

A swim in the hotel pool, joined by lots of boisterous little boys from Uganda here for soccer.59B50509915AECB077EE22C694D1ECA0.jpg

Our last evening with Tracey, Mark and Alison was just special. All the other went up to the observation lounge at the Marriott - i.e.52floors up,L1070065.jpg to see Dubai at night and also get the landmarks in perspective.The photos are awesome and just fine by me. I stayed down in the bar and had a lovely G & T and watched the night lights transform the city.L1070078.jpg

L1070090.jpgFollowing that we went to a Bedouin style restaurant by the beach. large_L1070097.jpgL1070104.jpgGosh it was great.

Thoughts on Dubai on leaving - it is jaw droppingly awesome. However I have some disconcerting thoughts about the slave labour that supports it, whether it be from the Pakistani dhow driver who spoke of his family back home, the Bangladeshi taxi driver who sends all his money to his wife and family, the big white buses carrying all the construction workers that are only allowed on the roads at certain times, for the lovely security man at the hotel from Malawi. Would I want to live here? I don't think so, am I pleased we came - 110%!!!

Now the next leg of our adventure starts.

Posted by Sallyj66 16:45 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (2)

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