Dubai Journals

Trip to the United Arab Emirates

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A travel journal to Dubai by Dagmar Pelzer

Quote: I wanted to see this crazy place where everything is possible, where the local population is almost minute in numbers and where foreigners don't rule. Local customs reign, rules are strict, and experiences are incredible.

The Suqs and Shopping Centers of Dubai

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Shopping center or suq – in Dubai they are both an experience. One modern, one old, one cool, one sweltering hot, both are extreme. At the time of my visit, Dubai had completed fifty shopping centers, with many more in the planning or semi-completion stages. Older shopping centers were nothing special, just like any shopping center in the West. But the newer ones were really special. Built around themes like water parks, zoo, ski slope, race track and marina, they tried to outdo each other in glamour and attraction. Egypt was well represented with the spynx guarding its entrance. The latest shopping centers were attached to fabulous apartment buildings, each more grandiose...Read More

Fabulous Hotels

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A visit to Dubai must include a date with the Burj al Arab, that fabulous sail-shaped hotel, the icon of Dubai and brain child of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Raschid Al Maktoum. It is so exclusive that no one is allowed to enter the gates leading to the hotel without a reservation. This meant that everyone, in tour groups or alone, was required to consume something. Just sightseeing was not permitted. Venues and Menus were online, and I.had an eight o’clock reservation for hors d’oevres and two drinks at the Skyview Bar on the 28th Floor - for a price of $180. Sounds expensive? The tour lunch at the bottom level cost more. The limousine dropped me off at the gran...Read More

Working in Dubai

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The crew that was escorting me was foreign-born. No local would perform this kind of work, locals hardly work at all. One of the guides came from Morocco, the other from India, and the third from Egypt. All were well educated and multi-lingual to entertain the international tourists visiting the United Arab Emirates during high season. June was low season, and hot. Everyone who could had already escaped the desert heat, and tourists stayed away until November, when the cool weather returned. I had two tour guides and a driver chauffeuring me around, and I loved it. "What is so great about working in Dubai?" I asked. "People are usually paid ten times the amount of the aver...Read More

Abu Dhabi Mosque

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After the glitter of Dubai and the imposing structures of Abu Dhabi’s government buildings, the Sheik Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque in Abu Dhabi is the pinnacle of everything the United Arab Emirates has to offer. Located on a hill, it rises into the sky in majestic splendor. Four 351 foot high minarets and 82 domes of white Italian marble glisten in the summer heat. Looking up at the imposing white apparition against the blue sky, I felt humbled before I even neared the steps to the colonnade leading to the main entrance. What grander splendor would follow such an awe-inspiring exterior? It is the only mosque that encourages visitors of all religions to visit. Initiated by t...Read More

Dune Bashing

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After the crazy traffic of the city, the skyscrapers, construction noise, shopping centers, suqs, shouting vendors, honking horns and boat motors, the stillness of the desert covered us like a calming blanket. The incredibly quiet expanse with its hues of brown seemed less real than the electricity of the all man-made Dubai. Drivers, dressed in long white candoras and white gutrahs, chauffeured groups of tourists and ex-pats in four wheel drive vehicles into the sunset. We paused and wondered about the daytime heat in the desert. After four, it had cooled off comfortably and a breeze was refreshing. The soft sand felt delicious between the toes. We stopped at several camel...Read More