Glitzy, glamorous Dubai seems to be one of those places that people either love or hate. Some revel in its unabashed consumerism, no better demonstrated than at the self-styled 7 Star shrine to kitsch that is the Burj Al Arab Hotel, vibrant social scene, great sports facilities, inspirational contemporary modernistic architecture and shopping opportunties. Others can’t stand it, possibly for the same reasons. I have to admit that it’s not a place I had at the top of my ‘Dream Destination’ list, but when my son and I had the opportunity to stay with friends on a Dubai stop-over to New Zealand, I was more than happy to see what this modern Arab state had to offer.
This photo sums up Dubai: rickety cargo boats moor up alongside the most modern architecture in the world. Dubai Creek (know by the Ancient Greeks as the River Zara) is alive with craft of all sizes, transporting unknown goods to far flung places, delivering the latest commodities that enable this desert state to spread like Topsy, though more slowly now as the recession bites deep even out here. This photo was taken from one of the old water taxis that pootle across the Creek day and night, crammed full of local workers, residents and tourists for less than the price of a cup of strong, pungent coffee.
We had our hedonistic quota of space-age shopping malls crammed full of luxury and temptation, superb hotel dining, fun water park and swimming, but my lasting memory is of this short boat ride from the glass temples of modernity over the water to the historic ‘palace’ of the ruling Sheiks of Dubai, with its graceful wind towers echoing back to a simpler age …
My recommendations for more things to see & do in Dubai can be found on LateRooms.com Blog
We had a great time in Dubai, mainly thanks to Karen, Geoff &Adam, our hosts there, who provided great hospitality, showed us round and made us so welcome. It’s lively, OTT and a fabulous place to indulge your every whim. Alex loved Wild Wadi Water Park & skiing in the Mall of the Emirates and I enjoyed the older parts of town. We both loved the Jeep adventure into the desert.
Not everyone knows that an ‘old’ Dubai even exists, with souks, traditional dhows and its historic palace. So it’s great to learn that this side of Dubai is there if you look for it – and it certainly makes it a more appealing destination in my eyes. Great picture of the contrasts Zoe.
Thanks Martin – as you know I love looking for the history and culture wherever, even in Carnforth 😉