|Traditionally dressed camel rider next to Speedo man, French Riviera or Dubai?|
|The green golf course is an oasis surrounded by skyscrapers!|
We were treated to brunch on Friday, our first day in Dubai. Friday is the first day of the weekend in Dubai or the Middle East, it's the new Saturday. Our brunch was one of many across the city. It is a "thing"! Four hours with hundreds of food choices and just about any drink you can think of all set in a swanky hotel, because hotels are one of the few places you can buy alcohol. It was overwhelming! I had no idea how we were going to last 4 hours eating and drinking in one place....but we managed!
|Brunch....from one end of the picture to the other end, inside and outside!|
After our "over the top brunch" we wanted to watch the sunset from a good vantage point. There are any number of high rise hotels on the water to choose from for this venture. We tried to sit outside on the rooftop deck but we were very chilly! We had not prepared to be chilly in Dubai. It was windy and cool by sunset and we were all in short sleeves or no sleeves, I did have a scarf but it was not nearly enough to keep all 4 of us warm!
|If you look closely you can make out the Palm Island in the distance|
with FlyDubai runway right in front of it.
|And the sun sets over the Persian Gulf....notice any oil tankers on the horizon?|
|From the outside it is very big....but it's what's inside that is amazing!|
|The main prayer hall,|
home to the largest hand knotted rug in the world, over 60,000 sq. ft.
Glad I'm not the one who has to vacuum this!
|My favorite room! I loved the inlaid marble flower walls! The colors were so lovely.|
|The ceiling in my favorite room. Beauty everywhere you look!|
|The rules....click on the picture to see a closer view.|
|Me...following the rules|
|Everything is a big deal in Dubai! Lights, fireworks, music!|
One day we visited the souks and Old Dubai. Very different from Jumeria beach and the Marina area we had been enjoying. I even did my first haggling at one of the souks. I successfully bought a silver bracelet for half of what the shop keeper had it listed. The key, in my amateur opinion, is to start walking out of the store and say you are going to keep looking. The souks felt more authentic, even a bit cheesy but you had the feeling people go there regularly to buy spices, nuts, gifts and of course jewelry.
|Water taxi ride!|
|A far cry from the swanky hotels and skyscrapers|
We needed something to cheer us up after our drive.
On the opposite end of the spectrum of hope I have a small world story. My daughter-in-law kept saying that Dubai, in spite of its size, was a small city. She said you run into the same people all of the time. One night we went to dinner a bit late, 9:00, which is late in my book. The restaurant was relatively empty. Around 9:30 a family came in and sat right behind us. I noticed this family, they were an Arab family and one boy was in a wheel chair and appeared to have no lower body. He was smiling and joking with his brother and mother and father. My daughter-in-law also noticed how happy the family was and how the boy kept joking and smiling. Later that night I was checking my Instagram page and as I had just started following the Dubai crown prince, per my son's suggestion, I saw none other than the boy in the wheelchair receiving an award from the Sheikh himself earlier that same day! The next morning he was on the front page of the newspaper with the Sheikh! What an inspiration....in a small world.
|Front page news in Dubai|
|Luck of the Irish!|
|A good time was had by ALL!|
Dubai was beautiful. The city is very clean and very safe. It is a feast for your eyes, everywhere you look you can see beauty and grandeur. It is like living in the future. A city that just popped up in the middle of the desert and has become a major center for business and tourism. About 85% of the population are expatriates. It is an international mecca. The population is also very much male, 75%. For some reason this city fascinated me to the point I was compelled to research it and learn more about it's culture and history. This does not happen to me everywhere I travel. To quote Forrest Gump, "and that's all I have to say about that.".
A few more pictures, because why not?
|A fountain full of flower petals|
|That silver tube is the indoor ski slope in the Dubai Mall. That's as close as I got....|
|Because Tim Hortons is everywhere!|
|Burg Khalifa, go big or go home!|
The world's tallest building!
|Thanks to our most excellent tour guides!|