Dubai - one week becomes two

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November 17th 2008
Published: December 21st 2008
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Jen on apartment rooftopJen on apartment rooftopJen on apartment rooftop

The skyline of Dubai continues to change with the highest building in the world nearing completion.
Arrived at Dubai airport's new and extremely glamorous Terminal 3 building in the evening, stocked up on duty free, and then met up with Al and Russ who were kindly letting us stay.

The weather was excellent (in contrast to our previous visit), so we spent the week up to our proposed Bangkok flight in relaxing by the apartment rooftop pool and visiting local attractions. The pool has a great view of the Bur Dubai which is the tallest building in the world and is nearing completion. Because most of the apartment's inhabitants were at work we had the pool to ourselves for much of most days.

Annoyingly my camera is only working intermittently with most pictures coming out with a purple fuzzy haze so I'm limited in the photos I can upload.

One night we went to a temporary outdoor cinema by the beach next to the iconic Burj al Arab hotel. It was a glorious setting.

However many times we visit Dubai, it is still always a surprise when the call to prayer from the local mosque sounds as dawn breaks.

We inadvisedly walked all the way to the Creek Park which in the
Jen enjoying lime mint coolerJen enjoying lime mint coolerJen enjoying lime mint cooler

The Basta Arts Cafe is one of our favourites
stifling heat, took over an hour and led to some frayed tempers (not guilty). It was not very busy other than a few parties of Indian schoolchildren, some of them bafflingly wearing jumpers in the heat. We saw some interesting birds in the manicured park including what I think was an Indian roller and definitely some hoopoes. Sadly the cable car system was not running.

We made our usual pilgrimage to our favourite cafe called the Lime Tree for coffee and delicious salads and also on my birthday to India House for cheap but delicious Indian fare.

Dubai is in an even more traffic chaotic state than usual due to the construction of an impressive looking metro system. Thankfully the reliable old abras are continuing to ply the creek providing a fun and cheap way to ferry across it. Sitting by the creek enjoying a lime juice whilst watching the busy abras is still one of the most chilled things to do in Dubai

We were packed and ready for our early hours flight to Bangkok but became gradually aware of the developing political protest situation at Bangkok airport as our flight was delayed and delayed and
On the Jumeirah PalmOn the Jumeirah PalmOn the Jumeirah Palm

Outside the Atlantis Hotel
then finally cancelled. Luckily we hadn't made it to the airport so could sort things out by phone back at Russ and Alison's apartment. We were left in limbo not knowing when flights would become available again. After a few days we decided to take up Emirates offer of a free change to an alternative flight to Kuala Lumpur on the 3rd December.

We spent the extra-unexpected week in Dubai in trying out the local buses for the first time. They are a slow but very economic way of getting around although the air conditioning is a bit fearsome so that we ended one long journey to the beach at Muzmar Park chilled to the bone. Very few westerners seem to use the buses, which are the domain of immigrant workers from the Indian sub-continent, and the Philippines who make up the majority of Dubai's working inhabitants. Air-conditioned bus shelters are being installed throughout the city, which make a great rest stop when walking through the unrelenting heat of the streets. The heat is so intense that you soon learn to walk on the shady side of the street and to plan journeys via shopping malls for their air-conditioned
Al and RussAl and RussAl and Russ

Al and Russ at the Lime Tree cafe
comfort. One bonus of the extra stay was that we got to see the QE2 docked in Dubai, it having arrived on its final voyage before becoming a floating hotel in Dubai.

We were frustrated by the delay in reaching Thailand, but very lucky to have the hospitality shown us by Al and Russ.

We also had a visit to the Palm, which is not half as glamorous as expected. All the offshore developments are spoiling the seaward views from the former mainland, so that what were uninterrupted views building developments now obscures out over the sea to the horizon. We did get to see a lovely sunset - much more beautiful than any man made creation.

Additional photos below
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Jumeirah SunsetJumeirah Sunset
Jumeirah Sunset

Off the Jumeirah Palm, as the sun sets, boats head back to harbour

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