A Travellerspoint blog

17 October - UAE

Dubai

sunny 34 °C

Well today we went to the Dubai Museum. For the entry fee of less than $1, it was fabulous value for money. We learnt a lot about arab culture and society and their short built past. There were some great antiquites they've uncovered in Jumeirah that date back to 3000BC. There were reconstructions of the castles that they were found in in smaller scale, and no mention of whether they are still there or have been removed for yet another sky scraper.

The tallest building in Dubai - Burj Dubai (see http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/burj-dubai/tallest-building-in-the-world-taller-than-most-things-281122.php) for more info, is currently sitting at 150 odd storeys tall. They said it will never be finished, as they will just continue to add to it, everytime another country says they'll build one taller!

You can do a tour of that (they take you up to an apartment up high) and other sights around Jumeirah for about $150!

We decided to have high tea at the Burj Al Arab instead.

Posted by cssc 12:41 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

16 October - UAE

Dubai

sunny 33 °C

Well let the crazy stuff begin...

Took the beach bus today (Jumeirah region). Well what an eye opener. Over 25% of the worlds cranes are now situated in Dubai. They cant build things fast enough! I have to say the stuff they were building 10 years ago was quite unappealing to the western taste. They now are employing people from all corners of the globe which has bought a more international style to things.

We went to the 3rd largest shopping centre in the world. I dont think we saw it all, but we did see the ski slopes! Sitting at -2oC I was tempted to make a run for it when we got off our unairconditioned bus, but refrained when I saw all the contents of this bizare world wearing all their ski gear and hats and mittens and all the like. It is the highest indoor ski slope, but not the longest (but I'm sure their working on that as we speak!)

Also visited Souq Madiant Jumeirah. This has been the nicest building that we've seen.

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Its built in the traditional style and is full of classy touristy shops selling amazing Iranian rugs, quality jewellery and beautiful handmade clothes, pottery and other artefacts. We had lunch at an expensive restaurant down on the water's edge and got the first close up haze-free glimpses of the Burj from here...

After the bus trip we ended back at yet another of their 88 shopping centres in Dubai and found a free shuttle bus back to the Souq district so decied to take it. Found an american girl Marcia who had basically 24 hours here and didnt know what to see. We invited her to join us. We had a great time and she really enjoyed the Souq area. We bought some safron from the souq dealers. Paid about $20 for 10g of safron (about a hand full). I know back home you pay about $6 for about 3 strands of it in the supermarket. Just hope we're allowed to bring it home!!!

Today it was 33oC and 85% humidity!

Posted by cssc 12:03 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

15 October - UAE

Dubai

sunny 34 °C

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Got the hop-on-hop-off Big Bus trip started today. You have 24 hours from the time you start the trip to see all you can. Dubai is such a sprawling city. Its chocka with traffic and they are in desperate need of a subway system (which will be here in 2009 and 2010).

The city is also covered in a huge haze making taking photos really dificult to do. Havent been able to work out if this is a year long proplem or just a short season problem, as purchasing a 50th floor penthouse apartment on the marina might be a waste of money if its a year long problem!

Did the city tour today. Only 7% of Dubai's income is derrived from oil. I was surprised as I considered it to me most of their income.

Finished this very hot day with a traditional Dhow Boat trip. Its a 1 hour cruise up and down the main section of the Dubai Creek. The boat was very cute but the comentary was vertually the same as the bus, so nothing new learned.

Staggered home to shower the days sweat and hit the airconditioned hay.

Posted by cssc 11:57 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

14 October - UAE

Dubai

sunny 34 °C

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Awoke to the sound of the 5am prayer call! Oh its so loud in our hotel!

Found the Spice Souks and Gold Souks in the "old town" (all of 50 years at the most!). Fabulous smells and colours and the gold is just amazing. I had previously visited the gold street in Bali, but that doesnt even equate to a back street of this area! There is tons and tons of gold lining these walls. Mostly traditional 24 carat gold, there are also lots of new european 18 carat gold and styled jewellery. Lots and lots of loose stones and lots of expats selling them too! One shop was even called "Aussie Mike", noice!

We also did the tour of the first School in Dubai as well as the Traditional Home exhibition. That was fascinating seeing the first attempt at airconditioning a couple of hundred years ago. they build these second (if one storey house) or third storey (if two storey house) floor box on each corner of the house. Its open on all for sides and they have these decorative poles through the sides that catch the breezes and draw them down into the house. Quite clever stuff.

Food is cheap if you stay away from the hotels. Found a faboulous vegetarian restaurant down the road. Had a great thali for about $4 which was so filling and also bottomless (as they appear to do here!)

Posted by cssc 11:48 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

13 October - UAE

Dubai

sunny 33 °C

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Well the so called easy trip to the airport turned into a nightmare as we were dropped over 1km from the checkin desk due to the never ending construction of Terminal 5. But we managed a great flight to Dubai. Seemed to be much more spacious than our trip over.

We arrived to searing heat and everyone saying how nice the weather is now!

Checked into our $170PN hotel that is 20 years old, all tiled floors that echo every word said in the halls by everyone entering or exiting their rooms. There is no double glazing, so we hear all prayer calls from the next door mosque. The one surprise that wasnt mentioned in the advertising brochure was the pool and gym.

Looking forward to exploring...

Posted by cssc 11:43 Archived in United Arab Emirates Comments (0)

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