Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dubai UAE

Anyone that knows me know that I love cities. Dubai is one of those cities that I had heard so much over the years and hoped I would get to go there one day. It turned out that Emirates (airline) doesn’t charge any extra on your tickets if you stop over in Dubai for a few days (their way to bring some extra tourism to their country I guess – Emirates is UAE based). When we found this out, it was a no brainer that we’d be stopping there for a few days.

Going from India to Dubai was basically going from one end of the spectrum to the complete other side. From poverty to extravagance. It is interesting to see how an extremely wealthy country uses their wealth. In the case of Dubai, it was to create the craziest, most futuristic city they could. We found a really cool hotel that was just opening so it had “opening rates” that made it affordable to us. We only had two days, but we made the most of it and saw everything we had hoped to.

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This was the view from the roof of our hotel.

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We first went down to the marina area – the newest, ritziest part of Dubai. I think these were all condo buildings.

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Buildings as far as you could see, about a fourth of them were under construction with people working busily on them.

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This one one (above) was my favorite. I am excited to see what it looks like when it is finished.

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Next we walked up the shore a mile or so to see the icon of Dubai…the Burj Al Arab (well at least until they built the Burj Khalifa…you’ll see that soon).

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Unfortunately it was rather windy and sand stormy, but it was pretty amazing to see this thing in person…the 7 star hotel built on its own little man-made island. The cheapest room I could find there was $2000 per night on a discount website. They won’t let you in unless you have a reservation to eat there or are actually staying there. I tried to get in, but no luck…so we admired from the beach. The Arabian Sea was so beautiful – so blue.

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Next stop was the tallest building in the world – the Burj Khalifa – all 828 m (2,717 ft) of it. That’s like half a mile. It was just insane to crink your neck up and try and see the top of it.

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It was located right next to Dubai Mall, and this Downtown Dubai thing they created which is this huge Lagoon with dancing fountains that is surrounded by all sorts of huge buildings. It was really cool. We ate dinner at a restaurant right at the bottom of the Burj Khalifa on the Lagoon. You had to pay like 50 bucks to go the top which included a wait of a couple of hours, so we just decided to admire it from the ground.

a clip of the dancing fountains

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This was the dress of most of the men out for a night on the town. It was so cool to see the men in these and the many of the women in full on burkas. That’s just how they do it. So interesting.

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It looked absolutely amazing at night.

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Here is the night view from the roof of our hotel. Pretty amazing skyline. The Burj just makes everything else look tiny. In reality though, the buildings that look small were really tall buildings.

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The next morning we ventured into Old Dubai. This totally reminded me of Jerusalem and cities I have been to in the middle east. The Spice Souk was amazing. Every spice imaginable – I mainly just liked it for the photos.

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These colorful old boats bring everything from electronics, to toys, to furniture to Dubai from Iran. There were tons of them on the water there getting unloaded.

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We headed back over to Dubai Mall to see the rest of the mall and to see the fountains at night. The mall is huge. It is over the top and insanely extravagant. This is a chocolate store. Amazing. Then we saw the rest of the crazy stuff in this mall including:

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Touch screen 3D maps/directory of the mall.

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An Olympic sized ice rink.

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A 3 story fountain with statue divers.

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An insanely huge aquarium FULL of fish…

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Including sharks…you can pay to scuba dive in this sucker.

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Candy stores galore, and every store you can think of. We were amazed to see Magnolia Bakery (what the what? (the famous NY cupcake place) – so we got some banana pudding and went out and watched the fountains.

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We took one last photo, said our goodbyes to the Burj and jumped in a taxi to the airport to catch our midnight flight to JFK. Holy Cow that was a long flight, but it wasn’t too full, so we were able to spread out a bit.

There you have it, the last stop on our incredible trip. The world is an amazing place. I wish we could just travel all the time, anybody want to hire us as your travel writers?


Barb said...

What an incredible adventure you guys had! Half my family lives in Abu Dhabi (my parents and my sister Catherine and her husband and baby) so I feel connected to the UAE kind of. We haven't been over yet- I'm glad you made it there!

Jonah and Aja said...

slap said...

I can't believe seeing you in the exact places we have been this year as well as what we saw when we went a few years ago. Your pictures are absolutely incredible (as usual). You can make things look even better than they are which is saying something because it's pretty incredible in real life! So fun to see the dancing fountains. Just amazing stuff!

Shawni said...

wowzers, you guys are making me drool. I want to go there so bad! LOVE the pictures. Love YOU.

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