“Pic of the Week”, October 12, 2018: The Waterfall at the Dubai Mall

10 Dubai Mall (48)

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 …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Across Dubai Creek

01 Dubai Creek (61)

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…

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“Pic of the Week”, September 28, 2018: Dubai’s Textile Souk

00 textile souk, Dubai (2)

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 …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A Visit to the Al Ain Palace Museum

02 Al Ain Palace Museum (6)

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 …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Visiting the Mall of the Emirates

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Where does one go on a hot summer day in Dubai when the temperature is up around 40oC?  It seems everyone goes to the mall!

Dubai has many beautiful (and wonderfully air-conditioned!) shopping malls, most filled with the kind of shops you find on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  Among the first of these built was the Mall of the Emirates which has more than 560 shops selling most everything you could possibly need or want.  There is a large theater complex, a massive food court and many restaurants scattered around the mall as well.  There are two adjoining five-star hotels — Kempinski Mall of the Emirates and Sheraton Dubai Mall of the Emirates Hotel — very convenient if you’re a …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Visiting the Al Ain Zoo

02 Al Ain Zoo (1)

I never expected to find a pretty and interesting family-oriented zoo in the middle of the desert, and was pleasantly surprised by my visit to this fine zoo in the city of Al Ain, about an hour inland from Dubai. 

The Al Ain Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals, 30% of its 180 species considered endangered.  The zoo is spacious (990 acres) and like most modern zoos has enclosures designed to resemble the animal’s natural habitat.  Special demonstrations are held at certain times and activities like a petting zoo, giraffe feeding and camel riding let people interact with some of the animals.

The zoo has a large African animal section and offers “safaris” to explore wildlife like lions, giraffes, zebras and …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 29, 2018: Al Ain Hot Springs and Lake

00 Al Ain hot springs and Lake (2)

An oasis in any desert is viewed as a Godsend by people who live in such arid climates.  The oases at Al Ain are important to the United Arab Emirates as they contribute significantly to the fresh water supply of the region (still, over 90% of Dubai’s water comes from desalination).  Because of its sources of fresh water, the area has been inhabited for over 4,000 years.  

Al Ain is known as the “Garden City of the Gulf” due to its greenery.  It is home to extensive date palm groves which area irrigated by water from the oases. 

Al Ain is one of the only areas in this desert where you can find public places with grass and greenery.  People can enjoy …

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“Pic of the Week”, June 8, 2018: Burj Al Arabia

00 Burj Al Arabia, Dubai (8)

In a country of spectacular modern buildings and architecture, the Burj Al Arab more than holds its own.  A beautiful white structure, it was built to resemble a dhow sailing into the blue waters of the Persian Gulf.  The Burj Al Arab was one of the first big constructions in modern Dubai and like the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York, it has come to symbolize today’s Dubai.  

Some of the Particulars:
The Burj Al Arab is considered one of the world’s great luxury hotels and is the third tallest hotel in the world.  It’s built on an artificial island 280 m (920 ft) from Jumeirah Beach and is connected to it …

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