Thursday, 6 July 2017

7th July - Dubai Day #2 - Don't Hold Back

Friday 7th July 2017

Dubai, UAE

We are nearly at the end of our Dubai Days, and I have to admit I have really enjoyed the experience.

I think the theme for Dubai is Don’t Hold Back! 

UFO house, Jumeira Beach, as we sped past
Because they certainly do not hold back!

From the very front of the metro driverless train
This is an entirely new city, built on the bones of a fishing port.

We didn’t see anything old at all – even the museum had fake old stuff, with the odd pottery piece dating back a few millennia.

Our tour was great – four hours in a small van (mercifully air-conditioned) with a scattering of pleasant people from Poland, Australia, India.

Our guide, a young Indian bloke, was cheery and enthusiastic and ready to give us lots of information.  But not too much!

For example he told us that Dubai has two seasons only – summer, and super-summer.  It is super summer now…42 at midday, 37 at 6pm.  But nobody lives outdoors, except the poor construction workers. 

The population of Dubai is 10 million, but only 2 million of these are local.  They are very privileged – the king gives each newly married couple a fairly splendid house, free and gratis, to start their new lives.  They don’t need to work, unless they want to pootle about in a comfy white collar government job.  The work is done by the 8 million expat workers, who never qualify for any privileges and benefits such a free education, no matter how long they live here.

Burj Khalifa!!
And one thing they can do with their oil wealth is – spend!  The malls are enormous and full of luxury goods.  The taxis all belong the the government and are Ferraris, BMWs, Mercedes.  Petrol costs less than water – 30 cents (approx) per litre for fuel; 50 cents per litre for water.

The water comes from artesian bores but there are also enormous desalination plants.

My photo of  Burj al Aarb
We covered a lot of ground in our little van.  Our driver took us to the beach near the fabled Burj al Arab, the only 7* hotel in the world.  Our guide said he has been inside many times, with clients, and that it is indeed as fabulous as its reputation.  Much gold!

Google photo of Burj al Arab
I found  a photo on Google of some interior lavishness.

Thank you Google
We went to the old palace of the king, with its long avenue lined with gold-plated horses. 

He has now moved into something much more spacious…

Regardless of his lavish lifestyle, this king, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is much loved by his people (said our guide).  He is a reformist and a poet, and can be seen driving his own car down the highway – he also sometimes travels on the metro.  We are with him on that; the metro is wonderful!!

Mind you Dubai is an extremely safe city.  Tourism is the second biggest money spinner for this state; people like coming to a crime-free place, no matter how stinkyhot it is outdoors.

Our tour took us onto The Palm.  This can’t be seen in its entirely from the ground; you have to go up in a helicopter and our little van didn’t transform into a wokka-wokka.  So…Google again!

Thank you Google
The Palm is extraordinary.  All reclaimed from the Arabian Sea, with I can’t remember how many thousand tonnes of stone.  Everything is imported, in Dubai.  Topsoil plants, food.  Hundreds of houses and apartments are built along the fronds of the palm.  When the first few hundred were put on the market (NOT cheap) they were sold within 72 hours.  (WTF!!)  Many celebrities eg Angelina and  Brad (aka the ex Brangelina) bought in.  Why?  This is a stinkyhot desert!  No outdoor life…difficult for a True Tasmanian to comprehend.

WTF indeed??
We jumped ship (van) at the Mall of Dubai.  We were there in time (1.30) to see the dancing fountains again, and then we walked a  mile or two back to the metro to go to the Emirates mall to go for a walk.  (Well…you can’t walk outside, in Dubai!  Too stinkyhot!)  

Slightly wonky panorama shot  tof Atlantis Hotel (Palm, Dubai )

The Emirates Mall was very magnificent and I got lost/separated from Pete when I went down a long corridor to a gold-plated toilet and then took a wrong turn coming back to another very similar-looking fabulous atrium.  Thank God we could communicate like bats with our travelsims…

Pete filming dancing fountains

Why the Emirates Mall?  Well.. the Mall of Dubai has an aquarium with huge sharks and mantas and an ice-skating rink, but the Emirates Mall has…a big snow field with real snow, and a real Black Run!

Snow fields!  Beer!
It is now 7pm and I have asked Pete what he wants to do for dinner.  He isn’t hungry; we did have a big breakfast…

Tomorrow – a long flight and then – London!!  (7 hours?? 10 hours?? Can’t bear to count…) I am sure they will feed us on the plane.

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