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Posts tagged "dubai"


  • 18/Apr/2019 at 10:00

Dubai is a city of the United Arab Emirates, that has become one of the main Economic centres in the World, and the leader in Middle East. This has a lot to do with the oil present in the Persian Gulf area, but also to its long tradition as traders in the region, which still is their main contributor to the GDP. The city has around 2 million inhabitants, and just 10% of them are locals. The rest have come from all countries in the world, mainly India, attracted for its extremely low unemployment rate and the many opportunities it offers.

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I had already visited the city in a 24-hour stopover coming from back from Asia, and I already found few things to highlight. This time, the stay took longer, although the visiting part was close to one day as well. The main difference was the weather, as the previous time, the wind direction brought fog and haze, which was less present this time.

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Something I have confirmed again this time is that the city is not designed for pedestrians. Distances are too long to be walked and many areas do not even have sidewalks, and their public transportation network is quite limited: two lines of metro, and an insufficient bus network. Taxis are quite affordable, on the other hand. Climate might be playing a role here, as my two visits have been in winter, which is the only bearable time of the year to be outside, but in summer people do not want to be waiting for the bus outside…

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The city is spread along the Persian Gulf coastline and consists mainly of skyscrapers, which is quite surprising taking into account they do have plenty of space as it is in the middle of the desert. These skyscrapers become the main attraction of the city, where the wealth is reflected in the size and design of the buildings.

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The best example of this is the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world with 828 metres, which has become an attraction itself: not only as a viewpoint, but also with some light, sound and water spectacles that take place every evening with the building as the main character. Burj Al Arab is another famous building, due to its shape emulating a sail, and because it hosts the only 7-star hotel in the world. Sunsets are wonderful from the beach next to it.

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Dubai architecture is more than skyscrapers, though. There are several unique constructions, like the Palm Jumairah, a housing development with the shape of a palm, which is home for some of the most wealthy citizens of the world. Those that are not in “The World”, another development with the shape of the World, which is not connected to mainland, and therefore even more exclusive.

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Dubai does have an old part, which lies around the Creek, and where you can find several souks, being the Gold and the Spices ones the best known ones. Even the souks look nice, clean, and new. They have been restored, but keep the essence of a number of stalls mostly specialised in one type of goods. The gold one is quite unique, as it hosts plenty hundreds of stalls where jewels are sold.

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From here, we took the opportunity to do a boat tour around the creek, where we could see the intense traffic of boats acting as water buses, allowing people to cross from one bank to the other, yachts of locals enjoying their time, and a huge fleet of old and small cargo ships, that mainly bring goods from Iran (just a couple of hours transit from Dubai) and some small fishing ones. Aiming to revitalise this part of the city, some buildings with a resemblance to an old eastern town have been built, and are house now of many restaurants, shops and bars, where to enjoy a nice meal.

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After this second visit, I still think Dubai is not worth to visit, according to my taste. Nevertheless, numbers do not say so. During New Year’s Eve, there were 1.8 million visitors in Dubai (almost doubling their population), and during the whole year, up 18 million people visit the city. The city was full of tourists, and I still do not know what they do in a stay of, let’s say, 4 days… You’d better check it out yourself…



After more than 10 times in their airport, it was time to stop for one day in Dubai, and see what the most famous city in the Persian Gulf was all about.

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I landed very early on a Friday morning, and started having the first issues. Friday is the rest day in the Muslim countries, and, while hearing to the morning pray in the airport, I discovered that Friday morning people are not expected to take the subway, not even from the airport. So I took a taxi, when it was still dark.

2014 01 - Dubai-3.jpgI started going to the Creek (A), where the port is located, and I found a big group from India doing yoga while the air is filled with the praying calls from the Mosques from all over the city, in what it seemed a competition to be heard more than nearby one. 2014 01 - Dubai-8.jpg After seeing there was not much else to see for the moment there, my next stop was to go to Jumeirah (B) in the Southern part of Dubai, where the famous Burj Al Arab building sits, and I found that the Dubai marathon was taking place that day. This complicated slightly the logistics for the rest of the day, but I managed to walk around Jumeirah to see the mansions and cars in that (good) area of the city. 2014 01 - Dubai-7.jpg It is interesting to know that Dubai has some beaches, although not all them are open to the public. Some hotels have their private beaches, and there are some others that although they are open to the public, people have to pay to use them. 2014 01 - Dubai-6.jpg After some hours, the metro was finally opened, and I discovered something I had seen previously in Japan: an only-women car; and something new: a Gold passengers car, this latter with physical separation from the rest. The next stop was the Creek again to see a different picture. Instead of silence and people doing yoga, it was now crowded of people walking around. The Creek was full with abras, small boats that are continuously crossing to the other side of the Creek, full of people, and total lack of safety, but the distances are short… and I can swim. 2014 01 - Dubai-19.jpg The old part of the city seems to be a fake, because it has gone through a complete renovation, and I found it not very interesting. On the other hand, it was more interesting to visit the Gold Market. Here you can buy gold per grams, or see the tailors working on the surroundings of the bazaar, where most of the business is developed by Persian merchants, who established here first in the end of the 19th century. 2014 01 - Dubai-15.jpg The evening was the perfect time to go to Burj Khalifa (C), the highest building is the world which was made for the sake of it: there is no need to build such a skyscraper in the middle of the desert, unless you want to show off, which is the case. I was told in a flight many years ago, that the building was going to be named something else, but a couple of weeks before the official opening, the sheikh that had financed the construction asked to change the name to his, in spite of having the whole ad campaign and merchandising products with the previous naming, but who cares… 2014 01 - Dubai-28.jpg This building is an impressive construction by Adrian Smith, which is seen from the whole city. During the night it is a very narrow set of lights (probably to avoid one of the many Emirates’ Airbus A380 to crash), and during the foggy mornings just a soft shadow. 2014 01 - Dubai-9.jpg

When you are close to it, it is a breathtaking view. It is also recommended to go up and see the sunset (fog permitting), and look down to see how small things are seen from the top of the highest building in the world.

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Burj Khalifa is not only the highest skyscraper, but also one of the biggest malls in the World. A huge Aquarium, an ice rink and thousands of shops is worth a visit.

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