An Introduction to Dubai

In 1974, the area that is now Dubai was a desert with no electricity and no running water.  The people lived as nomads and slept under the few trees in the area.  Today, it is one of the most prosperous and modern cities in the world.  It seems that everything you see is a superlative: the tallest, the largest, the heaviest, the most tilted, etc. in the world.  It is an architect’s dream with seemingly no two buildings alike.  On our first day in Dubai, we took a ship’s tour that focused on old Dubai.  Old here is forty years or so.

There are a lot of mosques scattered around the city   They all have minarets  with a moon on top.  While Muslims make up only about 50% of the population, I only recall seeing one church and one temple.  They were built side by side with a mosque as a symbol of tolerance.

Dubai has a lot of hot weather.  The streets are relatively quiet during the day and are much busier at night.  The bus stops are air conditioned.

The Burj Al-Arab is a landmark of the city.  It is the most expensive hotel in town.  One couple on our tour had an $800 dinner there for the two of them.  They didn’t particularly like it.

There is a large water park in front of the hotel.

The Museum of the future in the foreground attempts to predict what life will be like in the future.  We didn’t have time to visit it.

The old town is plazas with narrow lanes winding through the low, adobe buIldings.

The old town is located on Dubai Creek, which is really an extension of the ocean in a man made canal.

They had a fleet of water taxis called abras to cross the creek.

On the other side we visited the spice souk and the gold souk.

The gold souk was aisle after aisle of shops that looked like the one in the top picture.  We wondered who the customers were, since so many of the women dressed in traditional garb with no visible jewelry.  We were advised that the gold was worn mostly for special occasions.

This was our last day on the ship. The next day we disembarked for three full days of sightseeing in the United Arab Emirates.

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