After several months in Australia, I landed back in the UAE to a hazy and misty morning sky, the air a mixture of fog & sand... the sand pit that we call home stretching out beyond and all around us. Arriving in Abu Dhabi in the early morning, the sun was attempting to break through the haze providing a surreal sunrise. The drive to Dubai was all too familiar, yet so surreal after the lush greenery, gum trees, rugged coast and fresh air of Aus. My head was spinning, even though I had only been a away for a few months, what lay before me was so vastly different to what I had become used to again in Warrnambool, a coastal town in Victoria.
Two very different worlds that I am now living between as I divide my time between Warrnambool & Dubai. This was my first visit back to Dubai after my long term of living full time there. My mind and body had just become used to the rhythm of life in Aus and surrounded by the lush green of nature,... so it took a little re adjusting to take in the sandscapes before me and highrises lining
SZH road in Dubai! Crazy traffic down SZH road, 8 lane roads, with speeds of 140km plus, and the notorious lane changing with no indication...you really have to keep your wits about you and I am just a passenger !
Flying in and out, international travel in general has its downsides especially with the long haul from Aus... it usually takes a few days , perhaps even 5 days for me to recover from jet lag and re adjust to the 6 or 7 hour time difference... and to re acclimatise with a different world! It was all so familiar yet so different. gone were the local fish n chips, and Coles supermarket... now I was surrounded by the glitz of Downtown Dubai , 'the centre of now' as they call it, and Emaar :'working to enhance your experience' as they dismantle yet another walkway, road, project in their aim to 'improve'.....
It was a pleasure to re visit my local cafes: Baker n Spice Al Manzil, The Boulevard, Manzil hotel and La Serre at Vida hotel and nothing compares to The Palace, foyer cafe...delicious food, beautiful surroundings, and to my surprise the staff remembered my coffee order
with friendly chats . It feels like I still have two homes! I spent a lot of my time at these ' offices' catching up with friends. Traveling and living as an expat provides such a great opportunity to meet so many wonderful people from all walks of life and many different countries and the UAE as a hub is excellent for this!
Dubai sparkles its best at night, especially in Downtown,let me take you on a tour ! :
With the boulevard lined with with large palms jeweled in sparkling fairy lights, all the architectural features of Downtown are accentuated, from Souk Al Bahr, Old Town, The Palace, Vida, The Address Downtown and Burj Khalifa and fountain shows on the lake. This is our backyard and front yard! Walking through and around The Palace, from the moment you enter the rose scented foyer, to the balcony overlooking the pool, and relaxing by the pool and lake , Arabic music, the smells of sheesha, and views of the Burj directly in front. I cant afford to stay at The Palace but at least I can enjoy some of what it has to offer !
From there, I
love to walk around Souk Al Bahr, past Shakespeare and its outdoor courtyard and relaxed armchairs and scent from the sheesha... taking the steps down to the waters edge and past the array of restaurants and their covered balconies and arches. The endless fountain show every half hour choreographed to different music is still stunning after all these years. Over the 'venice bridge' from Souk Al Bahr to Dubai Mall for some air conditioned reprieve. As you enter the mall take the escalator to Fashion Avenue with its carpeted walkways and plush resting seats which opens to the expansive light filled dome above Armani Cafe... Past an array of designer stores and the 'dubai style' most comfortable toilets in the mall.
Then its onwards to the water wall and take the bridged walkway across to The Address Downtown. Another of my favorite places, with a more contemporary feel, it is inviting and sensuous, especially at 'Fazaris' restaurant with its beaded bronze curtained wall, undulating and curving, revealing and concealing... ah divine ! Venturing out in to the night heat, along the lush garden setting boardwalk ... dim lighting and sunken lounges of 'Calabar' leading you out beyond the infinity
pool to 'Zeta ' lounge and restaurant. From our cocooned private table we could watch the fountains and enjoy Burj Khalifa rising above us.
I love noticing all the details, from garden settings, lighting, scents, music, architectural and design elements, fabrics, glass and materials used, right down to the bathrooms... and once again the bathroom in the foyer here is worth noting. The entrance has a sensuous, curved, full height, opening as the doorway, like peeling back a curtain, yet in marble or polished stone, and the lighting features, tap design and doorways are exquisite! I may have been influenced by my architect husband over the years and with my artists eye, I can't help notice and appreciate all the details!
So for me , that is one side of Dubai, albeit a pocket size look... For a very different experience and one I love to photograph is to explore old Dubai: Al Fahidi district, Bur Dubai , Deira and Al Shindaga. I will leave that for my next blog....
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