Published: June 2nd 2012May 30th 2012
The world's tallest tower at 828 metres
Dubai has about 900,000 citizens and about 7 million immigrants from many poor countries who provide the labour in lowly paid jobs. The maitre d' in the restaurant at our hotel works 12-14 hour days , 7 days a week with a 3 hour break in the middle of his shift which allows him to catch up with shopping and washing. He was always smiling and helpful. Dubai citizens pay no taxes, pay 50 cents per litre for petrol, have free medical, dental and education. The medical and education benefits do not extend to non-citizens which means that many immigrants do not bring their families with them.
Our city tour took us to the Burj Al Arab - a 7 star hotel, the Burj Khalifa -the world's tallest tower at 828 meters, the Jumeirah mosque - which has the world's tallest minaret at 70 metres, the Dubai museum, and the spice and gold souks. No purchases though. The souks are the traditional markets unlike the huge malls that can be found throughout the city. Although the malls do have their place if only to escape the searing heat outside.
The Dubai museum is located in the Al Fahidi Fort
which was bulit in 1787 and was used as the original rulers palace'. It was renovated in 1971 and has many life sized dioramas depicting life before the discovery of oil. It was interesting but there did not seem to be a lot of emphasis on the older artefacts of the desert peoples. Perhaps it paled against the many excavations that we had just seen in South America.
Day two ended with a dune safari. The tour departs in the afternoon across the desert of Dubai.We were collected in 4wd vehicles and all taken to a meeting spot. The convoy then drove out to the desert. This distance has increased over the years due to the land being taken over by housing. There are several photo-stops during an exciting dune drive to the first destination, a camel farm. The drive continues across the desert with an outside temperature of 42 degrees. We stopped for a photo stop while the driver let the pressure out of the tyres and then we were taken on a great trip over the sand which was a bit hair raising in places before reaching our campsite where we rode a camel andVicki got a
henna design on her ankle. We then enjoyed a delicious barbecue dinner and you could also try the shisha (the famous Arabic water pipe). Before returning to Dubai/Sharjah the belly dancer performed her show around the campfire.
A very satisfying and enjoyable first trip to Dubai. Next stop London.
There are more photos below