Dubai, December 2009 − Travels − Captain Tom

Dubai, December 2009

Dubai is the right place to be in Winter. It has sun, acceptable temperatures in the 80s F and a lot of crazy things to see and to do. Everything here is the largest, tallest, biggest, first, or most expensive of the world.

Getting there became a challenge this time. I was supposed to fly from Berlin via Frankfurt to Dubai. Overnight snow in Frankfurt caused some delays so my flight got cancelled. Next try was to go via Istambul. Checking in at the airport in Berlin, Turkish Airlines told me that they had cancelled my flight from Istambul to Dubai due to availability. So the final way to go was via Munich to Dubai. With a total of 7 hours delay I arrived in Dubai in the early morning of the follwing day.

My parents and my niece Kathleen took a different route and arrived two hours earlier from Cairo.

Weather in Berlin is as bad as it could be. Ice on my windows ...
During approach I got my first impression of the skyline.
1 Dubai Desert and Hatta Pools tour

First sightseeing was an offroad trip in a Toyota Landcruiser into the desert and the mountains of Oman. Weather was great and our guide Ashek did a great job.

Camels crossing
Red Desert
Enjoing the little trip into the dunes
Approaching the mountains
We drive along a wadi, a river valley which contains water from time to time. At this time of the year there was plenty of water.
Offroad and off track
There are pools in between where you have very clear water
Ashek sits like a buddha on the rock while we are looking around
Kathleen takes a bath
I don't
Hatta Heritage Village has a nice display about the history of the fort.
2 Dubai Mall and Burj Dubai tour

We decided to see THE sight of Dubai. Burj Dubai, the tallest building of the world - 2680 feet high. Unbelievable. It is just one week to the grand opening on 4th January.

Panorama view
Dubai Mall is - of course - the largest in the world (counting number of shops - there are 1200). And there is a great aquarium
Big fishes
Glas tunnel
Fishes very close
Interesting perspective
The mall
Waterfall
Dubai Ice Rink - we are still in the mall
3 Dubai Bus sightseeing tour

We do a sightseeing tour with a (not so good) Egyptian guide

First photo stop at Burj Dubai
On The Palm Jumeira there is a nice view towards Burj al Arab the first 7 stars hotel of the wold. To the right there is Jumeira Beach - a top beach hotel resort in Dubai.
The Palm Jumeira is the first of 4 artificial islands built (or being built) in Dubai. It is shaped like a palm tree and there are quite a lot of hotels and condos. The highlights of the island are the Hotel Atlantis (with water park, mall and entertainment park) and the monorail
Inside Atlantis
The big aquarium (again the largest of the world - here by counting the number of fishes inside). The windows screen is one foot thick
Atlantis from outside
Monorail - in the background Dubai Marina
Burj Al Arab - a very exclusive hotel built on an artificial island about 800 feet off the shore line. I have been in there during my last visit and had a nice view from the restaurant at the top
A mosque
Dubai Museum
Taking the water taxi over the creek
Spice market was closed because the boss sheik had died a day before and all the traders there had to go to visit his family
Gold market - the largest in the world
The guy to the right was very keen of getting a picture with the exotic blond lady. We did him the favour.
4 The hotel resort Coral Beach

It was actually located in Sharja, the emirate next to Dubai. A very nice 4 star hotel resort with a private beach, pools, good restaurants and food. The only little drawback: There is no alcohol allowed in Sharja.

5 Sea plane sightseeing trip

To get an impression of all the big things we wanted to have a sightseeing flight over Dubai. We did one with a sea plane from Jebel Ali. This is where the big port of Dubai is located and where the second of the three palm islands is currently being built.

The plane
The Palm Jebel Ali. Currently under construction but one can see the shape already
Over Dubai Marina turning towards The Palm Jumeira.
In the background the hotel Atlantis at The Palm Jumeira
The World. Another artificial island. This one is kind of shaped like the continents of the earth. But it does not look as impressing as expected. The single islands are sold to super rich people which can afford a yacht or a helicopter. No bridges or roads to the shore.
Burj Dubai. We are at about 2000 feet elevation - below the top of the building
Burj al Arab and Jumeira Beach
Mall of the Emirates with Ski Dubai - the largest indoor ski resort of the world
6 Ski Dubai and Burj Dubai water show

We decide to go another time to Dubai. This time we use the new Metro (opened back in September) to go to the Mall of the Emriates and to see the water show at Burj Dubai

On our way we see Jumeira Beach, Burj Al Arab and Atlantis together in one view
Mall of the Emirates
Ski Dubai
We find something familiar and enjoy American ice cream
Using the Metro
Burj Dubai at night
The water show. Not too impressive. Las Vegas is better in this.
Tired from walking around
7 Desert Balloon Flight

We want to see the sunrise in the desert from a hot air balloon. We have to get up very early to be there in time. We will have a one hour flight in the area of Al Ain - this is about 80 miles away.

Preparation of the balloons
Take off
A bedouin tent
The other balloon is following us
Enjoying the ride
Camels
After touch down
Pilot Peter
8 Desert camp tour

We will go into the desert again. We want to see the sunset. We will be in a desert camp where all the tourist rip off can take place. We will get dinner there, see a kind of Arabian show of a dervish and a belly dancer and enjoy some other stuff prepared for tourists like us.

Meeting point
Convoy through the desert
First photo stop
Second photo stop for watching the sunset. Most of the people where more interested in sand boarding
At the camp there was camelback riding...
... Henna tattoos ...
... hookas, food and show.
9 New Year's Eve Party

The party was prepared outside under palms on a green

At the evening
Having dinner
They had a lot of food nicely presented
10 Flight back

I had a window seat at the right side of the airplane (which was the left side) and had some interesting views.

At the airport. Dubai Duty Free is - of course the biggest in the world. Surprisingly the watch I was considering to buy was 100 Euros more expensive than in Germany.
An Emirates flight is taking off
Skyline of Dubai during take off
Queen Elizabeth II will be converted into a hotel
Kuwait City at the end of the Persian Gulf
Oil wells
Baghdad
Back to the winter. Close to Munich
11 Home

It is the most horrible time of the year. There is snow everywhere.

I want to go back to Dubai.