The day started with a quick trip to the store, but there’s nowhere in Dubai where there isn’t something to gaze at. One of the world’s most recognizable skyscrapers has been duplicated in Dubai, then duplicated right next to it. Not only does Dubai have two buildings styled after the Chrysler Building in New York, they even bought a 90 percent share in the original!
We then headed back out to Deira and the souks where Dubai gets its nickname as the City of Gold. Even after driving around Dubai for the past several days, I still get amazed at some of the sights…
On the site of former ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s office on Jumeriah Beach Road, a replica of the “Roundhouse” has been constructed to honor the site where documents were signed in 1972 for the formation of UAE, uniting the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman. Ras Al Khaimah joined later. This roundhouse is called The Union House with a huge UAE flag snapping in the wind above it.
Burj al Arab
But one of Dubai’s most famous structures sits at the other end of Jumeriah Beach Road — on its own island. The Burj al Arab is not only one of the world’s most recognizable hotels, it’s one of the most posh. Five stars? Try seven. Each suite is two stories. Nightly rates can reach in the tens of thousands. Looking at photos of it can’t describe the view of it in person.
I took about 100 pictures of the Burj al Arab, but no matter how many I post, it won’t do it any justice. But we did take these other photos in the area. Some are of the other really cool looking hotel called Jumeriah Hotel, designed to look like a wave.
Heritage Village & Deira
On the way to Deira in search of gold, we stopped by Heritage Village for a bite. As usual the food was good. The only distracting things were these malnourished-looking cats that staring at me eating. I felt worse than when I walk past panhandlers in DC. These two persistent cats just wouldn’t take no for an answer. I eventually gave them some pieces of meat which they ravaged.
Heritage Village is an ode to the way things used to be before the skyscrapers buried the desert in asphalt, glass and steel. It has a nostalgic feel to it, though just across Dubai Creek you see modernity rising out the ground.
We then headed across Dubai Creek to Diera, where the souks are selling anything you can imagine in the desert, and a ton more you couldn’t imagine. Gold is everywhere though.
There’s really no one way to describe the way the souks feel, sound and smell. Pictures are just a split second captured in a 4D motion picture. Your ears hear hundreds of people speaking at once and can’t understand a word of it. You think you know what cardamon and paprika smell until your nose whiffs the real thing. The number of vendors selling gold is mind-boggling. How can anyone make a profit out there?
I pieced together some moving images anyway…
Before heading back to the pad, we drove out onto The Palm. Really, from the ground you can’t see much. From above it’s an amazing construction project, but driving it’s a long road to the end and a lot of gates preventing you from checking out the villas on the fronds of the The Palm.
Atlantis The Palm & Global Village
At the end [or top?] of The Palm, there’s another Dubai creation, taking something we all know and adding a little Arabic feel to it. It’s called Atlantis, The Palm. It was dark and there’s a guard out there making sure no one who hasn’t paid what is probably out my price range can’t get any closer than, well, across the street.
After we rested a bit back at the Manjai compound, Stephen wanted to take us to a place called Global Village. Just coming from Heritage Village and spending way too many hours [more like days!] shopping, I wasn’t sure if I could handle another shopping spree.
But Global Village was not quite what I thought it was. Sure, there’s a lot of shopping options, but it’s different. It’s a carnival. It’s a bazaar. It’s an international market for clothes, art, food, everything of many different cultures.
To cap the night off, Nduku and I took Najwa on her first ferris wheel ride. I think it was Nduku’s first time as well. I was anticipating their faces as we rose higher into the sky, but they didn’t seem fazed. I, on the other hand, am not a big fan of heights and got that tingling feeling where it doesn’t make you comfortable.