Dubai, December 2002 − Travels − Captain Tom

Dubai, December 2002

Some holiday impressions of my trip to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Destination was Dubai but I have visited some other emirates too and I have been - rather by chance - in sultanate Oman.

UAE consists of seven emirates (Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharja, Ras Al-Khaimah, Umm Al-Quwain, Ajman and Fujeira) with capital city Abu Dhabi. The emirates are located at the Persian Gulf but have also a coast line to the Indian Ocean
I have summarized pictures and memories into the following chapters
  • Dubai
  • Hotel Burj al Arab
  • Dubai Creek
  • Dubai Yacht and Golf Club
  • Desert
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Eastern Coast
  • Sharjah und Ajman
  • und sonst
  • Camera
Some pictures have been taken from inside a bus and might have some reflections from the window screen
My sister and my brother-in-law as fellow travellers are in some of the pictures
1 Dubai

Travel destination and hotel location

First impression is skyscrapers and construction sites all over the place. Busy traffic and quite green.
World Trade Center - more than 600 feet tall
The two towers to the left are Emirates Towers. The left one is the tallest building in Europe and near East (1250 ft)
The clock tower of Dubai. Distances between locations are being measured from clock tower to clock tower. In bigger cities the clock tower is bigger and more prestigious and has a fountain.
Busy street but green foot walk to the side. You can walk under palm trees and watch the traffic.
Jumeira Beach (beach of Dubai)
Brand new mosk made of sandstone in Jumeira
Historic center with city museum, historic boat and mosk
The historic gold market with astounding displays
2 Hotel Burj al Arab

Everybody knows it. The only 7 star hotel in the world. Rooms from 1800 square feed and from 1,300 Euros per night. 1053 feet tall and placed on an artificial island in front of Jumeira beach.

I have booked viewing and lunch
It appears at the horizon
There we are. The thing in the upper left is a helicopter landing pad, the thing in the upper right is a restaurant with gorgeous views.
Into the lobby
up the escalator passing the fountains
Then you have the view up
Then we went into the restaurant for lunch
Discrete note of the guide valid for the whole hotel: what looks like gold is gold. They have processed more than 100,000 square feet of gold leaf.
Then up to the restaurant on top. First to the elevator. Remember the remark of the tour guide
The view is gorgeous. This is the view to Dubai
Hotel shadow in the water
Jumeira Beach hote. Five stars hotel below Burj al Arab
The hotel was about 2 billion US Dollars. At the other side of the hotel they build another artificial island in palm tree shape where they want to build more hotels on.
The palm island project will be about 6 billion US Dollars.
Backt to the lobby.
The dark wall next to the elevator reveals to be an aquarium
The limos for the guests
3 Dubai Creek

The creek is an arm of the sea which devides Dubai in two parts (historic and new Dubai). You take a water cab in order to change sides. Quite adventurous and quite busy. Charge is almost nothing (50 Fils - about 14 Euro cents)
But you can also walk along the banks quite well
Here I tried the camera function for a panorama picture. Seems to work.
4 Dubai Yacht and Golf Club

Also at the Creek there is the Yacht and Golf club. Both extremely noble institutions. But there is access to everybody for a walk there.

They use about 3,5 million liters (about 900,000 gallons) of water per day for watering the greens
The club house of the yacht club. It kind of reflects the command bridge of an ocean-going yacht
The club house of the golf club reflects the sails of the traditional boats. Quite noble. Even at a closer look.
Including a pool with direct swim access to the bar
Another view to the golf greens
5 Desert

The tour to the desert was one big highlight of the tour. We took Toyota Lancruisers to get out of the city and across the desert to a small camp. It was late in the afternoon so light conditions were not optimal for taking pictures.

We can see the sand shortly after leaving the city.
There it is. The desert
Off we go to ride into the desert
The camp as destination
6 Abu Dhabi

As capital city of the Emirates it is even more extreme than Dubai.

violent high-rise canyons
In between the traditional market (souq)
On an offshore island, which can be reached via a dam and together with it forms an artificial lagoon, there is a Heritage Club next to Ikea and the mandatory flag, which is in every emirate. Here the pole is 275 feet high
Nice view to Abu Dhabi from the island
The highest building in abu Dhabi is the Hilton Hotel (the black tower in the middle)
We visited a shipyard in Abu Dhabi
7 East coast

The way to the east coast is characterized by rugged mountains. The mountain range through the entire sultanate of Oman is said to reach altitudes between 2600 to 10,000 feet

The bus driver did not know the excact directions so we went into Oman accidentially
The east coast Sandy Beach. Very nice beach and warm water. Quite nice to have a bath in the Indian Ocean on New Year's Eve.
On the way back we stopped at a historic fort which was located in an oasis. The lush palm trees are quite a contradiction to the barren mountains.
8 Sharjah and Ajman

Two more emirates. Ajman is not as rich as Dubai but they found oil just a short time ago. It is completely surrounded by Sharjah

The first item on the agenda was a visit to an old fort in Ajman, which has been converted into a museum of local history. By the way, the humidity is real. The day before there had actually been half an hour of rain. There were even puddles (there is no rainwater drainage system).
High-risers in Ajman
High-risers in Sharjah
The old market - refurbished and surrounded by high-risers
The harbor
The central market - air conditioned and mainly filled with gold, silver and carpet shops
University City - in the middle of the desert
Sharjah skyline
9 und sonst

Here are a few other things I've captured.

There are Dirhams and Fils. One side of the coin in English, the other one Arabian. Not quite easy - especially when the numeral side shows arabic numbers.
You can swim in Dubai at Jumeira Beach. Very pleasant. A great beach with everything you need.
Dubai has a Hard Rock Cafe
Toyota Landcruisers are very common here and they have a radiator mascot.
License plates in Dubai always show the Burj al Arab. They seem pretty proud of it.
There are useful tips in the hotels.
All road signs are basically bilingual Arabic and English, although English is not an official language.
The locals suffer from acute cold ears. They make do by holding a mobile phone to their ear at all times and in all situations. Here as an example our guide.
There are strange cars here
Airport impressions
10 The Camera

This was the first attempt to take a holiday with a digital camera. My newly purchased Canon Powershot S45 proved to be very useful. Together with a 256 MB CF card I was able to take the pictures. Most of the pictures were taken automatically. Landscape shots with the motive program for it. The handling is absolutely unproblematic. The image quality (the pictures on this page have all been downscaled) is more than sufficient for my needs. Nice features like the panorama picture help are fun. I have not tried the numerous other features. I have to work on them bit by bit with the help of the manual.
The 256 MB were sufficient for 158 pictures (that's more than four 36-frame films) at highest resolution and lowest compression and thus also meets my requirements for holiday picture capacity. However, I noticed that I took a lot more pictures. Maybe that's because pictures are easier to take and delete, maybe it's because the camera was simply new and the vacation was a sightseeing vacation. Let's see.
What I still wish for is a reflective display that is still clearly visible even in direct sunlight. After all, you usually take photos with the sun behind you.