.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A visit to the Top of the World — Dubai’s Burj Khalif

04 At the Top (11)

It seems fitting that the last major post in my series on visiting Dubai should highlight what I thought was its most spectacular attraction, namely the lovely Burj Khalif.  It is the world’s tallest building, with the world’s highest observation decks.  How could any traveler resist adding checkmarks to those bullet points on their bucketlist?

The Burj Khalifi has 1.85 million sq ft of residential space and 300,000 sq ft of office space, in addition to the Armani designed hotel and residences.   Here are some additional interesting facts about the building and its construction:
– It contains 11.6 million sq ft of concrete
– It took 22 million man hours to build over 6 years.  There were 12,000 people working on the building …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

Exploring Dubai’s Al Fahidi Historical District

02 Al Fahidi Historic District (1)

Dubai is known for its beautiful modern architecture.  Yet permanent structures are relatively new to the region. Historically most of the Arabs who lived here were nomadic and did not leave behind physical monuments or buildings.  As such, older regions of Dubai are hard to find.

There’s a neighborhood in Bur Dubai which was built in the mid -19th century, at a time when the city was beginning to take root.  This is the Al Fahidi Historical Neighborhood, adjacent to Dubai Creek.  The neighborhood is characterized by buildings with tall wind towers (Barajeel) that capture evening breezes to cool the interior of a home (not unlike a fan in a window).  Built with traditional materials like stone and gypsum, the Al-Fahidi neighborhood was home to businessmen and …

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“Pic of the Week”, March 1, 2019: James Bond’s Aston Martin

00 Bond car

Sitting adjacent to the Burj Khalifa gift shop in Dubai was a most beautiful car.  If it looks familiar it’s because it was used in the Bond movie, Spectre.  The car is an Aston Martin DB10, a 2 door concept car created especially for the movie by the British Car manufacturer.  A total of 10 cars was made — 8 used in the movie, 2 used for promotional purposes.  I assume this is one of the latter.

Some of the car’s technical specifics:  4.7 liter AJ37 V8 engine producing 430 bhp.  Accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.3 seconds.  6 speed manual transmission.  Top speed 310 km/h (193/h).

A rare and very beautiful machine.  And …

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“Pic of the Week”, February 15, 2019: Arabian Tea House Cafe, Dubai

02 Al Fahidi Historic District (53)

Just outside one of the more interesting neighborhoods in Dubai, the Al Fahidi Historic District, sits a small picturesque cafe — the Arabian Tea House Cafe.  I’d been on my feet for more than three hours and the heat of the day was ramping up, so I thought I’d take a break to rest and get a snack. 

The cafe was situated in a shaded courtyard (shade provided by both trees and canopies) with comfortable tables.  Some sofas for waiting were placed outside and inside the restaurant, so it must get busy at times, although that late morning it was not. Fans moved air around and it was quite pleasant, despite the ambient heat.  The clientele was a mixture of locals …

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.All Trips / Asia / Dubai

A Day in the Dubai Mall

07 Dubai Mall (69)

On my last day in Dubai I thought I’d connect with a few world records.  I visited the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building and with the world’s highest observation deck, and the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall (by total area).  These two structures adjoin each other, so it’s quite easy to see both in one day.  I’ll soon publish a separate post on the Burj Khalifi, but today I’d like to focus on some of the sights and activities of the Dubai Mall.

Generally speaking, I’m not much of shopper and definitely not a Mall guy, but the Dubai Mall was an interesting and pleasant place to visit, especially as the outside temperature soared to 40oC (105oF), and …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 28, 2018: The Coffee Museum, Dubai

05 Al Fahidi Historic District (85)

The Al Fahidi Historic District is one of the few surviving older neighborhoods within Dubai.  It’s quite a charming area which has been refurbished and modernized, and contains a variety of shops, cafes and some small museums.

One of the museums is dedicated to coffee.  It’s a small privately owned museum that displays the owner’s private collection, including historic items related to coffee making and drinking, such as old coffee grinders, pots, roasters and other coffee-related memorabilia.   Some of the items reflect the history of coffee consumption around the world.  There’s a small library with books based on coffee dating back as far as the 18th century.  And there are some Emirati-style majlis (sitting rooms) also on display.

Coffee is an integral …

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“Pic of the Week”, November 9, 2018: Street Art in Dubai

01 Al Fahidi Historic District (10)

As one might expect in a Kingdom with fairly tight control of its society, Dubai does not have much in the way of street art.  The one exception to this, at least that I encountered during my visit, was in the Al Fahidi Historical District.

The district is one of the older surviving neighborhoods in Dubai and was home to merchants and traders, many from Iran.  Their homes have been restored and have converted into offices, cafés, art galleries and small shops.  Interspersed was some art, mostly murals quite nicely done. But there were other interesting sights like some sculpture, a small garden growing in recycled soda bottles — even some antiques outside a café.

A pleasant and safe neighborhood in which to …

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“Pic of the Week”, October 26, 2018: Jebel Hafeet

14 Trip up Jebel Hafeet (1)

Jebel Hafeet is a mountain near the desert city of Al Ain, in the United Arab Emirates. It’s an impressive peak, rising 1,249 m (4,098 ft), and is easily accessible. While many credit Jebel Hafeet as being the tallest mountain in the UAE, that honor belongs to Jabal Jais at 1,925 m (6,316 ft). The mountain straddles the border of Oman, and views of that country are easily seen from the summit (although some what hazy because of blowing dust).

Jebel Hafeet has an extensive natural cave system which has only partially been explored to a depth of about 150 m.  The caves show nicely preserved stalagmites and stalactites, but they are not open to the public.  Marine fossils (plankton, coral, crabs) are found within the …

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