Dubai

Discussion in 'Middle East' started by Sweet Willie, Feb 23, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    For awhile now there has been a lot of buzz surrounding Dubai. So due to a mistake by me (forgot to redeem a ticket with a lot of value) and UA's excellent customer service, I found myself with a ticket to Dubai in my hands. In the January 2009 edition of United Airlines Hemispheres magazine, there was an article stating “Three Perfect Days in Dubai” United Arab Emirates

    Day One:

    Check into Mirage Hotel

    Visit the following:
    Al Seef Road Park
    Bastakiya neighborhood
    Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
    Dubai Museum
    Bar Dubai Souq
    Shindagha
    Heritage & Diving Village

    Eat/Drink at the following:
    Basta Art Café
    Kan Zaman – juices & sheesha
    Tangine – “Dubai’s finest Moroccan restaurant”

    Day Two:

    Visit the following:
    Jumeirah Mosque
    Open Beach
    Jumeirah Emirates Towers
    Wafi City
    Creekside Park
    Boat ride to Dhow Wharves
    Deira Souks

    Eat/Drink at the following:
    Al Nafoorah – “Dubai’s best casual Lebanese restaurant”
    Drinks at The Terrace in the Park Hyatt
    Dinner at Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire in the IC Festival City

    Day Three:

    Visit the following:
    Mall of the Emirates (& Ski Dubai)
    The Third Line – gallery
    Souk Madinat Jumeirah

    Eat/Drink at the following:
    Emporio Armani Café – pasta
    Almaz by Momo – Turkish coffee or Moraccan mint tea & pastries
    Drinks at Bahri Bar in the Mina A’Salam Hotel
    More drinks at the Grosvenor House
    Dine @ Mezzanine in theGrosvenor House
    More drinks at the Buddha Bar in the Grosvenor House
    --

    There were three highlights during my trip to Dubai for me: a boat ride, Jumeirah Mosque tour, and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding, everything else was meh. Don't get me wrong, it was fun to hang out with the FT'er who came along with me on this trip but after I saw the buildings, the ski slope, blah blah blah blah, Dubai just wasn't that interesting.

    The boat ride was really only pleasurable because it felt refreshing to be out on the water, the scenery is really nothing beautiful nor contains any wow factor.

    The Jumeirah Mosque tour was very educational, the mosque itself is very boring in an architectural sense, very small, very simple and because it was built in 1978, the workman & materials used were not the same quality at all of some of the earlier built mosques I had the good fortune to visit in Istanbul (another person I was speaking with on the tour made the same remark). The speaker (Emiratee male named Nasif (sp?)) was fantastic and gave great insights into the aspects of Mosque prayer and behavior. Details of the tour: http://www.cultures.ae

    I also enjoyed the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding http://www.cultures.ae which is located in the VERY boring/contrived Bastakiya area. The centre had a luncheon I went to (on certain days they offer lunch, other days breakfast). The speaker for my lunch was an American woman who converted to Islam & married an Emiratee. She was very fun and also upfront about what life is like as an Emiratee woman of Islamic faith. Her mother-in-law actually cooked the 7 dishes we enjoyed for lunch, so this was true Emiratee food, most "middle eastern" food in Dubai is Persian/Lebanese.

    I would state that if one is a leisure traveler, Dubai really wasn't that interesting (with the exception of the educational items I did). I thought my trips to Egypt and Israel were far more interesting.
     
  2. diver90
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    diver90 Gold Member

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    I didn't spend much time there. It was sort of a MR with a day to kill in between flights. A few, slightly off-center thoughts:

    - I enjoyed an off hours ride just soaking in all of the incredible development going on there.
    - I stayed at the Ritz Carlton over in the marina area. The people watching was fun and the unbelievable amount of car-cruising (and the cars I saw) on the boulevard was pretty unique.... though I wouldn't fly there to do it.
    - I shopped for some snacks in a really, really International food shoppe and came back with a smorgasbord of unique treats. I had a little buffet by the beach later on.
    - The lawn, pool and beach behind the Ritz Carlton is gorgeous. The depth of the sand (from the grass to the water) was the largest I've ever seen. I walked down to the water at dawn and took some great pictures from there.
    - The Burj Al-Arab is a destination all in itself. A dinner there or at least a reservation for a drink in the bar at the top is quite the experience.
    - Where did they get all that traffic and how did they do such a lousy job of planning for it given all the money they spent on everything else?
     
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  3. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    Went to DXB in 2008 on United's second ever flight there. Dune bashing is a must-do! SO MUCH FUN and a nice way to get out of the city. We also went for a seaplane ride, and while it cost an arm and a leg, it was a great way to see some of the palm islands in various stages of construction.
     
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  4. stimpy
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    stimpy Silver Member

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    I loved Dubai back in the 90's before they tried to turn it into a Disneyland type environment. After a while I just stopped going (even though I am about to go again on a business trip). I think Doha now has some of the elements of early Dubai, but still not the same as the original.
     
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  5. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I lived in Dubai in the mid-1970's when there were only a handful of hotels. I had to wait while the house in which I was to live was built. Then there was only Gulf Air and Dubai was a sleepy little airport. Those were the early early days. Doha then had one paved road.

    I have been back many times since. I can find none of the flavor that was there then.

    This is impertinent I know, but it is ironic how much perspective changes and how rapidly it does transform ideas.
     
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  6. Pharaoh
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    Pharaoh Gold Member

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    One of the best things about Dubai is it is but a couple of hour's drive to Oman, a charming, clean, progressive little country. Some time I will have to start an Oman thread based on my 2009 visit to Oman for 9 or 10 days.
     
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  7. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    That is a great idea. Please do it. For the Americans here they might be interested to know that Oman was one of the first countries to recognize the United States of America (together with Netherlands, then Morocco. The then Sultan of Oman was a house guest of George Washington at the time. That is not widely publicized but it confirmable. The reason is less palatable since Oman was a major entrepot of the slave trade, so good relations with the US South were crucial to the Omani economy.
     
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  8. Open Fly
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    Open Fly Silver Member

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    My first visit to Dubai was in 92. It was still a buzzing place to get to yet much smaller. Most things centered around the creek and were much easier to get around and much easier to drive around.

    Nothing against Doha, but IMHO, Bahrain is now is more like where Dubai was before the Shaik Zayed road building boom. Bahrain is certainly a place to visit, once their problems are resolved.
     
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  9. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Many of my fondest memories were of living in Bahrain. The current situation has had 300 years to fester, and has been deteriorating. I am a perennial Bahrain booster but my optimism is being tested now.
     

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