April 8, 2010

Dubai, UAE April 6-8

Have been in Dubai since Tuesday. This city/Emirate is surreal! You have to see the extent of development and construction to believe it. The Great Recession seems to have slowed some construction, but much activity is still obvious. Took the Big Bus tour around the city and it was a great way to see all areas. Finished up with a dinner at a local (not hotel) restaurant. Can't say I'm crazy about the cuisine, but I have been nursing a topsy-turvy stomach since Paris...that may have been an influence.

The construction and buildings are all high quality with lots of marble and granite. Not too many tourists...the GR must be affecting their travel, too.

Visited the various souks (markets) along Dubai Creek just a short walk from the Arabian Courtyard Hotel. There are textile, gold, spice and general shops of all varieties run by all nationalities. Surely a crossroads of commerce.

Dozens of water taxis (abras) criss-cross the Creek for $0.33. Just hop on, sit down and flip the boatmen a 1 dhiram coin!

Weather is very comfortable, always bright sunshine and lots of traffic. People are all quite friendly and very courteous. The whole city is spic-n'-span clean. I've not been in a cleaner city.

Stopped at the largest shopping mall, Dubai Mall, in the mid-East while on the bus tour. The top names in the world have stores here...1450 of them! The place is enormous with four levels of shops, 22 movie screens, etc., etc

Well, enough of the extravagance of Dubai. Certainly, the leaders intend to make this the commerce, banking, financial, and tourism center of the region. They have had recent financial troubles, which has slowed the development, but as long as the oil continues to be pumped, they can feed this explosive mecca.

This evening, we'll travel in the desert for a meal at an oasis and watch the sunset.
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