DubaiDUBAI 26 Sept 2009
The tallest building in the world
This was the last stop-over on our around-the-world trip 2009. We flew in from Zurich and arrived to the pre-booked Dhow Palace Hotel
- a boutique hotel on Kuwait Street, Bur Dubai about 10pm. (Dhow is the name of the boats they use for transport all the way up the creek here.) The hotel foyer was fancy with a boat on display and all the staff were running around in sailors and officers outfits.
Our room was exquisite! Very spacey, with marble and wooden floors and tastefully decorated interior with posh mahogany furniture and a beautiful bed head.
We decided to “examine” the rest of the hotel and found a “sports bar” where they had cricket on big TV screens and at another place, a smoky nightclub with only men inside watching girls that were sort of dancing on a stage to extremely loud music. Kerry reckons this was a hooker joint for rich Indians. We had a drink there, watching, just for the experience of “something different”. We soon went back upstairs to our room, had a shower and I washed all the clothes we were wearing because they were STINKING of cigarette
smoke! The bed was gorgeous... even the pillows. DUBAI 27 Sept 2009
After a HUGE buffet breakfast at the hotel (I have never seen anything like it during this trip!) we walked over to the Tour Desk and had a chat to the guy there. He talked us in to take a private tour with him in his car around town instead of going with The Big Bus Company
. I am glad we did that because it is always nicer and more personal that way - and you get to stop for photos and stay for longer wherever you want. We left 11am and were back after 4.45 hours.
First stop was at the Dubai Museum
, the most fantastic historic museum I have ever seen! It was SO incredible the way they presented the whole thing. It was build underground and quite dark but had the different historic scenes built up with wax figures plus black&white videos of the actions and sounds in the background. Incredibly well done!
Another place he took us to was the Art Museum
displaying beautiful handicraft which was actually all for sale. Kerry got stuck with the "carpet sales man" for
Burj Al Arab
The most famous 7 star hotel
quite a while so I walked on admiring other beautiful things. (No, we didn’t buy a carpet because our luggage was already above weight allowance!)
Then he drove us to the beach, showed us where the Sheik lives and of course also to the world famous 7 star hotel Burj Al Arab
. The sad thing is that a normal mortal is not allowed to go inside the doors unless you live there or have booked for a breakfast during certain hours. Hmm. But I must admit that it was totally impressive when you saw it for real. Even though we were not allowed to drive inside the gates, you could imagine the size, being much bigger than it appears when you see it on TV.
As you can imagine, there are many other luxury hotels in Dubai. It really reminded me of Las Vegas in a way. Further on the driver took us to Palm Island
. The expensive housing there didn't look so inviting as you would think. At the top of the “palm tree” there is another very flash hotel with a HUGE aquarium with HUGE windows instead of walls all the way through.
At the Bedouin Camp
Kerry smoking the water pipe
trip that is widely advertised in Dubai is the Desert Safari
. "For a real taste of Arabic Bedouin life, take this desert excursion. Experience the thrill of a lifetime during the drive with our luxury 4WDs over the vast sand dunes. Arriving at your Bedouin camp, try an unforgettable camel ride. A succulent BBQ dinner is served under the Arabian stars, followed by a belly dance show."
As I was not the least interested in the dune bashing bit, our tour guide ensured me that it was only a small part of the whole deal and promised that I could be dropped off at the Bedouin camp before they did the sand-dune-drive. So, OK, we booked on. We now had 10 minutes to get change and be downstairs outside the hotel again for pick-up. Another couple (from Mauritius) was already in the waiting car. Off we went - out to the daunting desert. Here we had to wait for another two cars and we all took the opportunity to take photos of each other, our driver and the golden coloured sand in the late afternoon sun. By now I started to be suspicious. They were NOT going to drop
At the Bedouin Camp
I was in Heaven when I was offered to handle the bird of prey
me off at the Bedouin camp... and I was right.
So there I was, in a 4wd racing up and down the dunes in the sunset... instead of on a camel's back! I was NOT happy with that at all!
When we finally came to the camp site, the sun had already disappeared behind the dunes. The two camels they had there took turn in taking us on a tiny 10 meter
walk so they could take a photo and sell to us. No way - I didn't buy one of that pathetic camel ride! The rest of the camp was also a "tourist trap" with tents selling drinks and other stuff. But the one FREE thing we did was trying to smoke the water pipe. I didn't manage too well. Kerry did a better job of it.
After a loooong time we had to line up for the food. It was quite a generous selection and the chicken leg was very good but before we even had finished eating, a belly dancer appeared on the big stage and started dancing.
After a couple of numbers she invited the public to join her. At 9.30pm they
A very fancy hotel at the top of the Palm Island
took us back home again.
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