.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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.All Trips / Asia / India

Amazing and Unforgettable — the Wiring of Old Delhi

07 Chandi Chowk Market (26)

Even though I’d heard about it, I wasn’t prepared for how chaotic the street wiring in Old Delhi is. There are many places in the old city where you’ll see spaghetti-like masses of live wiring that seem to be incapable of being untangled or understood, yet somehow Delhi electricians figure it out and keep the power flowing.  There seems no plan, no logic, no reason to it.  It just seems to have evolved like some hideous beast.

By far the worst that I experienced was the Chandi Chowk Market area.   It is one of the oldest and busiest markets in Delhi and is not far from the Red Fort.  These photos were taken while walking those streets.

I think the photos are self-explanatory.  …

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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 22. 2019: Celebrating a Newborn, Rajasthan

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Enjoying a nice lunch in a restaurant that offered escape from the mid-day heat, we were attracted by the sound of music and a crowd gathering outside.   Everyone in our Rajasthan travel group headed out and had the opportunity to see this celebration.

Our guide explained that a child had been born in the village and this was a way of making a public announcement to that effect.  Notice in some of the photos a woman is carrying a baby’s crib on her head.  Mostly it’s a chance for people to dance and celebrate.

Any could join in the festivities and several from our group were soon taking part.  I did what I always do — watched and documented the experience with my …

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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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“Pic of the Week”, February 1, 2019: St. Peter’s Church, Colombo

00 St. Peter’s Church, Fort (3)

Christianity is a minority religion in Sri Lanka with just 7.5% of the population being Christian.  Most residents are Sinhalese Buddhists (70%), with smaller numbers of Tamils (12.5%) and Muslims (10%).  Historically all these people have gotten along quite well, although there have been periods of serious conflict (eg. a bloody 50 year civil war between the Sinhalese and Tamils).  While there are many ancient Buddhist temples throughout Sri Lanka, it’s not common to find older Christian churches.

It’s worth looking for the entrance to St Peter’s in the Fort District of Colombo.  St. Peter’s is located on Church Street beside the Grand Oriental Hotel, adjoining the city’s harbor.  The area is quite secure, with barricades and fencing, because Police headquarters …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 11, 2019: Grand Oriental Hotel, Colombo

00 Oriental Hotel Colombo (4)

The Grand Oriental Hotel (GOH, previously the Taprobane Hotel) is a heritage property located in the Fort district of Colombo.

The building was formerly a barracks for the British Army and was converted to a hotel in 1875,  with 154 rooms.  Ads at the time claimed it was “the only fully European owned and fully equipped hotel in the East”; also, “the hotel is lighted throughout by electricity and all the public rooms and bedrooms are kept cool by means of electric fans”.

It was an elegant place to visit in the 19th century.  It had a tropical garden, was illuminated at night by colored lights, and had its own orchestra which performed daily.  The hotel underwent a thorough a refurbishment in …

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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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