Let’s just start off by saying that OLD in Dubai means 1980’s! Truthfully though Wikipedia states that written accounts document existence of the city for at least 150 years prior to when the U.A.E. was formed. So, yes, there are some old things there but I’m sure a lot of what I captured isn’t the oldest.
So what was my impression in our short, two-day sojourn through this parched land of mega skyscrapers? Well let’s just say that my expectations weren’t that high so they were in fact, exceeded. Gaudi decided to build the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, which is truly a wonder not only because it’s beautiful but also because of the sheer gall that anyone could ever even contemplate such a project. Maybe the same will be said about some of the “projects” in Dubai someday? Then again…maybe not. It’s not that I don’t believe Dubai is impressive in many ways. Some of the architecture is quite interesting simply because in a wealthy autocracy there are no limits as to what can be done and no committees and hoops for architects to jump through, and plenty of cheap labor that can work all the time – Oh, I mean only when the temperature is “below 50 degrees celcius”. It’s more like Sheik says “Jump” and they do.
Well as we all know, there was a little too much jumping in Dubai, which resulted in its current bankrupt state. What would have been the Burj Dubai is now the Burj Khalifa thanks to the head of Abu Dhabi who bailed the builders out so it could be finished. Was it worth it? I kind of think so. After all, even the Empire State building was in debt and not full when it was finally finished. And we couldn’t imagine life without it now. The Burj Khalifa is a wildly impressive structure that can be seen from just about anywhere miles away. It gives the illusion that you’re quite close when in fact you could be very far away from it. Despite how much our friend Savio wanted us to visit the “top” (the observation deck is on the 124th floor of 160 habitable floors. There are another 46 floors that can only be used for maintenance because of the building’s telescopic shape), we decided not to because of rumored 2 1/2 hour lines and 2 straight hazy days.
What about The Palm? Well, let’s just say that with the Burj Khalifa, they got it right. The Palm? A monorail that is not connected to the rest of Dubai’s metro that only has one stop at the end (Atlantis)? I guess it’s smart that they built that because of all the poor people who visit (or live in) Dubai who can’t afford a taxi out to the very reasonably priced Atlantis resort would be able to take the monorail? And what about the fact that there’s no way back to the “mainland” from the crescents on the sides except for the main truck of The Palm. Well, I guess this makes sense because people would naturally want to drive back through the trunk to see all of the individually unique condos and homes built along the way (not a single one alike)… The Palm? Really?
My Dooby Dislikes:
- Just about everything is new
- Too much shopping
- Alcohol is only permitted in hotel restaurants (unless snuck in)
- Droves of ex-pats tending to congregate together – I would to!
- The existence of The Palm
- The Fake Twin Chrysler Buildings
- Draconian measures to keep people from speeding
My Dooby Likes:
- The Burj Khalifa
- Many other fascinating buildings architecturally
- The Dubai Creek
- The fact that you can send an SMS to extend your parking
- The climate – in January!
- The fact that it’s situated in a great part of the world for traveling
- Cool arab design elements everywhere
- The male swarth factor is off the charts
- Very cool (surprisingly not all tacky) luxury hotels with fantastic decor
- The wind tunnel cooling system in the museum area
- The Lebanese food
- Wafi Gourmet’s dates
- Cool lunar desert landscape to play in (see us dune-buggy riding in the photos)
- Everything, and I mean everything, is clean
- Lamcy Plaza
- Beautiful Mosques
- Hilla, Ankur, and Eric (how cool they are in every way)
So, I think that all in all, there are more Dooby Likes than Dooby Dislikes. This will make Adi very happy
But what is my absolute favorite thing about Dubai?
I bought a cup of coffee when transiting in Dubai on the way to Karachi at Costa Coffee in the airport. Despite the beginning of my jet lag I noticed that the cup has one of the coolest designs I’d ever seen, a fact that I’m sure went unnoticed by Senor Khalifa. This cup has wavy ridges built into it so that the coffee drinker does not burn her hands AND doesn’t have to put on one of those “jackets” since it’s built into the cup. Efficient. Cool. Environmental. (I know some will disagree with that but what the heck) Cost Effective? I don’t know. But regardless, it’s cool. So the design of this cup is my absolute favorite thing about Dubai.
Oh wait a minute…. Isn’t Costa Coffee a British chain?
Thanks for reading: Dubai – The Old, The New, and The Trip – in Rants. Now check out Dubai – The Old, The New, and The Trip – in Photos!
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- Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building (starting-points.blogspot.com)
- Opening: Burj Khalifa (Arabic: برج خليفة “Khalifa Tower”), formerly known as Burj Dubai @ 04/01/2010 (teabreak.pk)
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