Dubai - Where the Future is Present
Bollywood filming near the world's most expensive hotel
The Dubai Museum
Mosque tour explaining the dress
A UNESCO nature park
Dubai by night from Dhow dinner cruise
Sharjah Islamaic Museum in a former souk
One small portion of the Sharjah Univerity City
Sandy Beach Hotel in Fujairah - Snoopy Rock
Desert bashing on Desert Safari
John camel riding on Desert Safari
Belly dancing on Desert Safari followed by BBQ
John tobogganing at Ski Dubai
The Spice Souk
Traditional cooking at Heritage Village
Young girls dancing traditional dances
Arabian horse show
I have seen the future and it is called Dubai. Dubai claims to have the tallest building but it is not finished. In fact, Dubai, is an ongoing project and quite impressive considering it has all taken place since the 1960s when oil was discovered. Dubai is an expensive destination but there are reasonable and excellent Holiday Inn and Ibis hotels plus plenty of interesting heritage sites that have very low admission prices.
For non-Moslem people the Jumeriah Mosque’s "Open Doors, Open Minds" mosque tour is a must do. It offers insight into the Islamic religion including the basic tenets. The guide explained that the clothing is more cultural than religious as the Koran only states that clothing should be modest. Interestingly, in Dubai, bling has come to the abaya, the coat-like covering, and sheyla, the headscarf.
When John and I entered the Dubai Museum we thought the courtyard was the entire museum considering the entrance was so reasonable. Then we entered the excellent air-conditioned underground exhibition with a multi-media presentation and dioramas that record Dubai’s development from the early pearl divers to the discovery of oil to the massive island-creating projects that includes one in the shape of a world map.
One day we went dune bashing in a Toyota Land Cruiser. Seat belts buckled, some air let out of the tires, and off we went, charging up one dune and careening down another arriving at the top of a dune, along with scores of other vehicles, in time for sunset. Then it was off to a desert camp for a camel ride, a belly dancing show, and a BBQ. For a completely opposite experience the next day we went to Ski Dubai located in one of Dubai’s many malls. Cold and snow do not normally excite us but Ski Dubai is really quite astounding. Winter coats and boots are provided. There are three ski runs accessed by a chair lift along with several toboggan and tubing areas.
One of my favorite evenings was also the least expensive. After a walk through the souks, we took the ferry across the Deira Creek and strolled down the corniche to the Heritage Village stopping at Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum's House, one of the oldest residences in the city and grandfather of the present ruler. Of interest were the wind towers constructed to keep their homes cool. Wet cloths were hung in the towers and the when the wind blew it caused evaporation and cooler air. At the Heritage Village there were school children performing traditional dances, Arabian horses, camels, craftspeople, and ladies cooking traditional treats. It was a popular evening out for local families. Admission was free.
Dubai has beautiful beach resorts including the world famous Burj Hotel but most are out of our price range so went to Sandy Beach Resort in Fujairah, another emirate, for a relaxing three days. We are always amazed at the pervasiveness of American culture. Just a short distance off shore from the beach is a rock formation called "Snoopy Island" because it resembles a reclining Snoopy. The resort had many cottages frequented by families on the weekend giving us an insight into the local lifestyle, which is very family-centered.
Dubai may be suffering from the same economic woes as the rest of the world but they have diversified so I wouldn’t close the book on their development.