Dubai – photos and thoughts

19 Dec

Aside from multiple camel sightings, I packed a lot more into my trip to Dubai last month.  Traveling for business is always exhausting, but this trip managed a good balance of exploration and eight hours straight in a meeting room.

My first day I arrived about noon and so had half a day to explore with another colleague before we headed into the mandatory dinners and mingling.

First we went to the Dubai mall under the Burj Khalifa.

Divers into an art exhibit in the Mall of Dubai

Divers into an art exhibit in the Mall of Dubai – ironically, I saw a miniature version of this fountain when I was in New York a couple of weeks later

It was so tall that my camera couldn’t capture the entire building in one frame.  I understand that it is taller than two Empire State Buildings put on top of each other.

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At the base is a fountain show – reminiscent of the one in Las Vegas that was featured in Oceans 11.  We found a restaurant overlooking the fountain and chowed down.  One of my favorite dishes was chicken on rice pilaf – the rice studded with almonds and pistachios.

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That evening for the work events we watched the sun set over the city and then enjoyed the lights of the hotel shaped like a sailboat.

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The meetings took place outside of the city in the real desert – you don’t have to go far – 30 minutes will take you away from all of the modernity of the city.

Blue sky over the dunes

Blue sky over the dunes

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The second day they arranged a 4×4 trip and so I got to see what it was like.  We whipped up and down the dunes and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  I’m not sure I’d like to drive – one of the trucks got stuck – but as a passenger – bring it on!

The last couple of days we spent by the ocean’s edge, which is one of the great contradictions of Dubai.  You can go to the beach in the morning and dune bashing in the afternoon.  I didn’t have time to go swimming, but I did manage a walk on the beach one morning before things started.

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As a final treat, we did our team meeting the last day in the Burj Khalifa – for afternoon tea.  We discussed business from 138 floors above the ground before everyone scattered to their own corners of the world.

Tea on the 138th floor?  Please!

Tea on the 138th floor? Please!

Dubai felt a little like a commercial – there was so much new construction, big malls, flashy watches – all things available and ready.  Ironically there were a lot of stores that specialized in selling fur coats – which I hypothesized was for the Russians who come to defrost in Dubai’s heat.

It was a very interesting place – and I enjoyed my time there, but I don’t think I would go back unless I had business to do.  The place felt shallow, transient – very international – but kind of like eating candy – I know it’s not good for me, but still want to gorge every now and again.  And Emirates – the airline – totally, worth it.  It was head and shoulders above any airline I have flown before, from the toothbrushes in the lounge to being able to use your electronics during the entire flight.

Perhaps if I had met some local people, been able to appreciate their lifestyle and gotten away from the “tourist track” it would have been easier to understand the city.  As it is – it remains an enigma.  Who knows – maybe I will go back.

Goodbye Dubai - a final view from the lounge

Goodbye Dubai – a final view from the lounge

Have you been to Dubai?  What do you think?  Would you like to go?

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7 Responses to “Dubai – photos and thoughts”

  1. ladyofthecakes December 19, 2013 at 8:52 am #

    Slight tangent… I’ve noticed quite a few fur coats here in Spain, more than you’d see in London. Mainly worn by Spanish ladies over 60.

    • ladyofthecakes December 19, 2013 at 8:53 am #

      Great photos, btw, I almost forgot to say!

      • gkm2011 December 20, 2013 at 8:46 am #

        Thanks! I don’t have problems with fur coats in general but the complete uselessness of them in Dubai was odd. The photos turned out well. 🙂

  2. Every Day Adventures in Asia December 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

    Love the pics! Especially you in the sand dunes! Hopefully our Feb trip will happen and won’t just be in Dubai… however suspect that may be the case. Will still be fun!! 🙂

    • gkm2011 December 20, 2013 at 8:47 am #

      Even if it is “just Dubai” you can still go offroading. Round trip would be less than two hours. I highly recommend it!

  3. sarahinguangzhou December 26, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

    Yes I’ve flown emirates many times and stopped changed planes at the airport and I”ve never had the urge to go out into the city. I’m sure it can be great fun but there are other places I’d rather visit.

    • gkm2011 December 27, 2013 at 6:24 am #

      That was my initial thought, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the city. It is an escape – and very welcome after typical China days.

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