Friday, April 13, 2012

The Wonders of Modern Day Dubai

The ship changed positions on the pier last night so this morning we were nice and close to the terminal. Like everything in Dubai, it’s new and shiny.

OMG—I kid you not! A Tim Hortons in Dubai. I miss my coffee.Out of curiosity, I had to google it and found this article. Go Canada!

Their metro stations are made to look like oyster shells. Everything in the desert is about water.

Lots of apartment buildings. This is the area where Shehnaaz lives.

Look at the design of this “twisted” building...what they will do to to be unique.

These villas are where the Emirates-born people live—for free. By being an Emirati citizen you enjoy free education (including scholarships abroad), free health care (also abroad), no income tax, free housing, and guaranteed employment at a higher salary (sometimes almost double) than non-Emirati employees. Some companies balked at having to pay nationals a higher salary and wouldn't hire any of them. The government fixed that by mandating that a certain percentage of employees must be Emirati citizens. Most are employed in the HR field.

Even though Shehnaaz has worked in Dubai for 12 years, if she lost her working visa, she would be deported.

This morning we were visiting the newer side of Dubai starting with Palm Jumeirah. This palm island is a residential area with each of the 16 "fronds" having villas and apartments on each side so. That way everyone has a waterfront view. Clever!

This is Palm Jumeirah as seen from the International Space Station. We drove along the centre strip and then went through an underwater tunnel to take us from the tip of the palm onto the circle surrounding it. There is also a monorail which people can use to go from the outer circle back and forth to the palm.

The crescent surrounding the palm is an 11 km long breakwater, on which the Atlantis Hotel sits.

The Atlantis Hotel…we went inside for a short tour. Brian took this photo from the monorail, a view which we didn't see on our tour.

High-end shops in the hotel were very expensive.

Once again, everything has a water theme. The ceiling looked like something from Finding Nemo.

Dolphin light fixtures...

This is the monorail that runs from the hotel to the mainland. The whole concept of the palm island is a self-sufficient community. It is about 80% complete and, when it is finished, they will have no need to go into Dubai itself, as they will have all the stores, restaurants, and services they need.

Amazing roads and infrastructure on the palm island…all within the last 10 years.

Our next stop was Shehnaaz’s favourite souk—Souk Madinat.

In the souk are many restaurants with views of the "7" star hotel, Burj Al Arab. On the left at the top of the hotel is a bar that overhangs the building and on the right is a helipad.

Looks like Venice…notice the wind towers on the buildings. They aren't functional but keep the traditional architectural elements of the UAE residences.

We were fascinated by these beautiful dresses. They cost about $250 and up and the jewel designs were so pretty. These would be worn for special occasions.

Oliver!! One of my favourite stage shows..

Look at these shoes with the upturned toes...all bejewelled, of course. It reminded me of Aladdin.

Shehnaaz gave us a few minutes to find a snack or a drink and to use the restrooms. There was a lot to see.

OK, I was sooo hot I couldn’t imagine wearing one of these beautiful coats. Love the one with the matching bag!

Once again, we saw lots of hookah pipes for flavoured tobacco.

Mmmm…Cinnabon. I resisted and we shared a yummy sandwich and an iced coffee.

We then headed to the Mall of the Emirates to see the indoor ski hill. They outfit people with jackets, hats, boots, skis, everything except gloves. I’m not sure why no gloves, as it wouldn’t be something these people would have!

Pretty cool! The windows on the right are part of a hotel and you can get a room overlooking the ski slope.

The kids sit in inner tubes and get pulled around by the machine.

It reminded me of a snow globe!

You can see the chair lift. Another wild idea that was brought to life.

Next stop, back to the Dubai Mall to go to the top of Burj Khalifa. We were sure seeing a lot of Dubai in a short amount of time.

Here we are again!

This time the buses had to park quite a distance from the mall. It was incredibly hot, and I was developing a blister from shoes I have worn for years. Go figure! Look at their streets. They are inlaid with marble and granite.

Group photo! The horse statue is by Fernando Botero to honour Dubai's equestrian traditions.

In the mall, I saw some familiar sights from when I visited just over a year ago. These divers plummeting down a water wall...

And the magnificent aquarium. 

Hmmm…I’m not sure if this candy store was there before. It is…you guessed it...the world’s largest candy store. It must have more levels than this because the M&M store in Las Vegas is definitely bigger than what I could see here.

A candy tree!

Yes indeed!

After fooling around with this, we found that the kernels of popcorn actually came out. That could have been disaster, but we quit while we were ahead.

While we were waiting for our reservation time for Burj Khalifa, the fountains went off. You can never see them too many times.

The model of the building…

Quite a vision they have dreamed.

And here we were…124 floors up. It only takes 55 seconds to get to the top. You can see the mechanics for the fountains below. 

And the desert beyond. It’s hard to believe that only 15 years ago this was still all desert.

I wonder where it will all end. Shehnaaz told us that Abu Dhabi (another of the 7 Emirates) is now trying to rival Dubai.

You can see the Persian Gulf in the distance.

An ATM where you can get gold!

And with that, it was time to head back to the ship. We had an amazing two days in Dubai! Now we have two sea days before arriving in Salalah, Oman.

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