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One of the most impressive works of public art I’ve ever seen was in the world’s largest shopping mall, the Dubai Mall. Located close to the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifi) and with views of it, are two cylindrical waterfalls that extend the full four story height (24 m) of the Mall structure.
All that flowing water seems out of place in the desert, but the sight and sound of it is beautiful and mesmerizing. To enhance the waterfalls are dozens of fiberglass figures giving the illusion of synchronized divers. This art work can be viewed from each level of the mall, and the perspective changes so take the escalator up all the floors and take it all in.
The fountains are …
Dubai Creek is the main geographic landmark of Dubai. The Creek, 14 km long, divides Dubai into its two original neighborhoods – Deira Dubai and Bur Dubai. The Creek has played a major role in the history and economic development achieved by Dubai beginning in the days when desert nomads first settled on its banks in the 19th century. Dubai Creek has been a center for the traditional pearl trade and now for international shipping and trade. The Creek was dredged and widened decades to ago to allow larger ships ease of entry.
Abras on Dubai Creek…
Situated in the Bur Dubai, adjoining Dubai Creek, is the Textile Souk. This is a pretty market district located within a restored traditional bazaar, its buildings and walkways shaded by a wooden roof (the shade providing welcome relief from the almost unbearable desert heat). There is a main central lane to the market, with side alleys leading to smaller shops.
Most of the shops are now operated by Indian (rather than Arab) traders and the merchandise sold varies from the colorful bolts of cloth (cotton, silk, some embroidered), dresses, blankets, slippers, and assorted Dubai souvenir items. Bartering is expected and often lively. Many of the shops have tailors who can sew you a dress or shirt and have it ready before you depart …
If you love visiting and staying in hotels built during the British Colonial era, a great stop is The Grand Hotel in Nuwara Eliya. The hotel is situated about a mile above sea level in Sri Lanka’s Hill Country, in the heart of the tea-plantations and fields of vegetables. The Grand Hotel was built in the style of an Elizabethan-era manor house.
Nuwara Eliya was a popular vacation destination for the British and Scottish citizens who took care of the Empire’s business in Sri Lanka during the 19th century, so much so that the region was fondly known as “Little England”. Much of Sri Lanka is steamy hot year round, but the cool days and nights in the mountains reminded the …
The Sheikh Zayed Palace Museum (a.k.a. the Al Ain Palace Museum), is located in the oasis city of Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. The museum is located in the home/family palace of former U.A.E. President, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan (1918–2004). The palace was built in 1937 and Sheikh Zayed lived here until 1966. As you would expect, local building materials were used including adobe, clay, stones and palm trees. It features rooms for the royal family, official meeting chambers, and quarters for visitors.
The palace was converted to a museum in 1998, opening to the public in 2001. The museum does a good job of creating an atmosphere as existed here when the Sheikh called it home.
Al Ain is …
Situated on the Indian Ocean, just north of the historic Galle Face Hotel and south of Colombo’s business district and old Fort region, is a public park known as the Galle Face Green.
The park covers 5 hectacres (12 acres) and is a popular place for people to gather, especially at sunset when the beautiful light of the setting sun and cool ocean breezes draws folks in. The Green has in the past, also served as a horse racing venue, golf course and sports field (football, cricket, rugby).
During my visits to Colombo I enjoyed walking along the Green’s oceanside path just after dawn — one of my ways of dealing with jetlag. The walk …
The great mosque of Old Delhi, said to be the largest in India, has a courtyard capable of holding 25,000 worshipers. Construction on the mosque was begun in 1644 by Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who also built the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort; it was to be his last big architectural project.
The mosque adjoins the market area of Chawri Bazar. It rests atop a small hill has three entry gates, four towers, and two 40 m-high minarets (one of which you can climb for a small fee). The mosque faces west, towards Mecca. It is constructed of strips of red sandstone and white marble, and more than 5000 artisans worked on it. The roof of the …
Mahatma Gandhi Park (aka ‘Gandhi Park’) is a fairly new addition to the lagoon waterfront in the heart of Batticaloa town. Built to honor the great Indian leader, the golden statue of him is definitely designed to capture your attention.
The park is popular with visitors and locals alike and is a nice place to relax. While resting on one of the benches, look for fishermen in small canoes or enjoy one of Sri Lanka’s many beautiful sunsets.
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