Trip Start Jan 13, 2009
63Trip End May 13, 2009
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From the moment that we awoke and looked out into the port of Dubai, we could see the most common and definitive symbol of the city; the heavy construction crane. There are more heavy construction cranes in Dubai than in any other city in the world. The entire city appears to be under construction. Everywhere we looked there was a new building project under way.
The entire Federation of the United Arab Emirates is desert and was originally populated mostly with Bedouins, a nomadic tribal race of desert dwellers.
The three days before our visit there was heavy rain in Dubai. But the White Lady's Luck continued to hold. We walked out on deck to a bright sunny day that was warm but not hot and the humidity that was so heavy in India was gone. To describe the weather would be to say it was near perfect
We had been informed of a dress code for Dubai. To conform to the code we wore long pants and golf shirts so that we would be casual but acceptable in any environment that we might venture during the day. Our clothing ensured that Harriet's shoulders were covered and both of us had our knees covered. We also refrained from any public display of affection for the day. I also wore my hat for sun protection. We arose early so by the 7:00AM docking we had already dressed and had breakfasted. We were ready to disembark and go thru emigration. This proved to be an easy emigration as we just picked up a generic landing card as we checked off the ship. So we quickly disembarked the ship and entered a large tent that was serving as a ship terminal until the new one could be built. Inside we picked up a map and met with five other couples that we would be touring with for most of the day. We had decided not to take the Hop on Hop off bus and rather go as a small group with two taxi vans. One of the couples had arranged for the taxis at $50 a couple which was less than the $55 a person required on the Hop on Hop off Bus. We felt confident in his negotiations as the British Gentleman was a previous owner of an accounting firm before he retired and he had traveled in Dubai before this trip. The taxis would take us to a set of prearranged stops and then wait for us. The entire tour would take about 4 hours and we would then be dropped off at a shopping area for the duration of the afternoon.
We boarded the taxis and headed out along the beach to see the sights of Dubai. The first impression of Dubai is that everywhere you go there is new construction project furiously being built
As only guest may enter the grounds of the Burl al Arab Hotel we stopped at the Jemeirah Beach Hotel for some beach shots of the Burj al Arab Hotel. Although not famous as its neighbor the Jemeirah was a beautiful hotel with equally beautiful grounds. We stopped and got our beach photos of the hotel built like a sail. But we had more to see so we headed off to our next stop on this Arabian Adventure.
Our next stop was out on the Palm Islands at the Atlantis Hotel. This hotel is located at the far point of the man-made island that is shaped like a palm tree. We drove out thru the construction and the tunnels to the farthest point on the island away from shore. It was the fantastic Atlantis Hotel. This bright pink hotel is enormous in size. At the very center of the hotel is a large, no extremely large aquarium that is about fifty feet in diameter and two stories high. Inside of the aquarium is a replicated scene of a sunken Atlantis with fish of many varies and sizes. As one would expect from an aquarium this large there would be large fish populating the tank. The effect was that of a diver looking around at the real sunken Atlantis. Also in the hotel was an outside pool where one could swim with dolphins. Large eating areas and fashion boutiques also filled the downstairs hall. And from the rooms above were beautiful views of either the Persian Gulf or the Palm Island and Dubai. But as our cab driver informed us, this was not an inexpensive place. Most things in Dubai are not price conscience. The developers of Dubai are building a playground for the extremely wealthy
Everywhere we drove in Dubai, one building was always in view. It is the Burj Tower. It will official open 09/09/09 and then will be the tallest building in the world with 220 stories. As it, like most of Dubai, is still in the construction phase, we were not able to go into the building and instead stopped a block away and took pictures of this ultra-tall skyscraper that will be one of the icons that define Dubia. This was a quick stop as it was a photographic opportunity only. We were quickly back into taxis and headed for our next destination; the Mall of the Emirates. What makes this mall special outside of it enormous size is the fact that it has the largest indoor ski resort in the world. Yes, here in the middle of the Arabian Desert is a ski resort with people downhill skiing, riding toboggans, and enjoying other winter rides in a -4 degree environment where it actually snows. Hundreds of stores complete the mall so that its shoppers do not need to go anywhere else to shop. People were dressed in various manners from women in Bourikas and men in white flowing robes to men and women in slacks like you would see in any western store. But there were no shorts or shirts that exposed the shoulders.
An interesting feature of the malls and the hotels was that they did not appear to be crowded; they were in fact rather empty
We next headed into heavier traffic as we crossed thru town to the Al Karma area which is noted for its good bargains in clothing, jewelry, and other fashions. This would be our last stop on the taxi tour and we would then be able to disburse to secondary areas that were of interest to each specific couple. We left the group at this time to do a little shopping but to make our way to the Dubai Creek Golf Resort, the first site of the Dubai Classic Golf Tournament. We exchanged some money to UAE Dirhams and headed off to shop our way to the Golf Resort. We made an interesting discovery. On several of the sidewalks were vending machines that dispensed water along with other soft drinks. The water was only 1 dirham or about $0.27 US for a regular size bottle of drinking water. This was a great deal for an item that was needed in the desert; water. Even though the temperature was not especially hot, the water was a welcomed refreshment. But we had a destination in mind and were intent on going there next for our adventure in Dubai. It was the Dubai Creek Golf Resort and it was now close to us. We just had to cross the Dubai Creek and go down the far side a couple of miles. We opted to take a taxi to the Resort. When we refer to the Dubai Creek, do not imagine a small narrow stream, but remember that a creek can be of indeterminate size but it is not long enough to be called a river. So it was with the Dubai Creek which was called a creek because of it length not its width.
Like most of the areas of Dubai, the entrance and drive into the Dubai Creek Golf Resort was impressive
Back on ship we had a snack and talked about the city of Dubai
Will Dubai be able to become the Tourist Destination for the wealthy? Only time will tell, but we can say that Dubai is not immune to the current worldwide economic downturn. Several large projects like the new airport and a new gigantic man-made island complex have been put on hold because of the current state of the world economy. The world is truly tied together economically.
Dubai is a city that has removed its history and it history will now start from the present and continue on into the future.
Before we reach our next destination the White Lady must run the early part of the gauntlet. That is the Gulf of Admen from the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea
Where is Harriet? Hunt
In this hunt Harriet is standing in front of the Burj Towere, soon to be the tallest building in the world. This may not be as hard a challenge as some pf the previous hunts, but it does showcase the largest building in the world. Don't get distracted.
Finding Harriet was Chrystal followed by Sharon, Linda, and Brenda.