17
Feb
10

Scoodubai, Dubai, Doo

Dubai was once fabulously wealthy even though it had no oil reserves, it did serve as a liberal playground for rich Muslims and not too far from the action: the banking/business center of the middle east, sort of a Zurich on the Persian gulf.  The Emirates border on Saudi Arabia, Qatar (home of Al Jazeera, a remarkably good news source), and Oman – just across the waters from Iran.

When the  Emirates airfare popped up on Travelocity as the cheapest possible way to get to Capetown from SFO and back to SFO from Dar es Salam, I just knew we had to go.  First, though, we had to make Emirates Air let us off the plane in Dubai.  Not as easy as it sounds, even though Dubai is the hub for Emirates Air.

Eventually they saw  the light of rea$on and let us spend 3 nights at the exorbitant but definitely modest (with much to modest about) Four Points Downtown Sheraton where the $25 buffet breakfast was included  in the $175 a night to stay there.

We were around to the left side, in the back looking out on concrete courtyard, so barren I didn’t even take a photo – that’s really boring…

It was worth it – I guess.  Dubai was an interesting place, not least because we’d never been to the middle east and because I taught a class on Islam (twice) to slavering learning-in-retirement seniors whom I  indoctrinated in the life of the prophet, PUBH (or whatever). Islam is the world’s second largest religion.  This is like having (from my point of view) the second worst disease possible.

“Calling Dr. House, calling Dr. House”.  But don’t get me started.  I figured my rep hadn’t traveled as far as the middle east and that the Emiratees’d probably let me in.

Besides, Dubai has fallen on hard times and needs the dough.  When I think back on what we did there for 2.5 days (other than nearly lose the camera right off the bat in the airport), it seems like not much.  We didn’t, for example, go skiing.  Couldn’t  figure a way to do this novelty for under $250.  Looking at the outside, it definitely will  not make you forget Aspen Mountain.

We did wander around (surprisingly large area and not conducive to walking).

The place is chock-a-block with mosques and I took pictures of a few in my role as secret agent for disbelievers.

This is the mosque where Tue./Thu/Sat you can get a nice lecture on Islam from a cockney lady who is quite amusing.  Been a convert for a seven years and lived in Dubai a bit longer.  She explained how it was fine that the Muslim ladies sat apart from the Muslim men (apparently so the males’ thoughts would not be molested which could lead to uncontrollable lust visited upon the poor vulnerable ladies).

She (the cockney lady in black) also explained how wearing black in the Arabian peninsula sun was akin to standing in the shadow of a tree – even with the sun burning down.  I did not explain my understanding of 1st law of thermodynamics nor ask any rude questions.

Chiyemi listens respectfully in mosque-provided head covering – somehow her straw hat was just not correct.

Below: Neither did we make make it into the world’s only self-proclaimed 7 star hotel, the Burj al Arab (Arabian Tower). It’s architected to look like a boat under sail – and it achieves that spectacularly sitting like a white sail on the blue gulf water.

Below: The now open 828m/2716 foot Burj Dubai (now Burj Khalifa) was not yet open when we arrived.  The $110 trip up to the viewing platform at 670m/2200 feet would probably have kept our admiration at sea level.

Water taxi on the creek in Dubai – water straight, building crooked

Dhows and cargo on the creek bound for all parts of the Persian Gulf and across the Indian OceanAfrican Hoopoe – Dubai is a surprisingly good birding spot

See you next in Africa…

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12 Responses to “Scoodubai, Dubai, Doo”


  1. 1 Bonnie
    March 2, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Thanks for the MAP! I would encourage you to include more them where-ever possible.
    I enjoyed picture of you and Chiyemi on the bench by the tree…thanks for not providing a picture of Chiyemi “all in black” that would have been too much to take.

    Sking Dubai for $250 a day…and here I thought Squaw Valley was getting pretty expensive!

  2. 2 Doug Petok
    February 19, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Glad you cleared that up……..”self proclaimed 7 star hotel”.

    Enjoying your travels very much here. Could use more pic’s of you and Chieymi

  3. 4 Barbara Keen
    February 19, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Terry, I loved the photographs (as always) and your narration. The architecture was fascinating, especially the Burj Dubai (which I’ve been hearing about). I especially loved seeing Chiyemi in native head attire in the mosque, but missed the straw hat! I knew there’d be some birds in your pics somewhere – darling little thing. The animal photos to the right were great, and enjoyed seeing your shining faces – you both looked like you were having one helluva time!!!

  4. 5 Mary Alice
    February 19, 2010 at 3:54 am

    Wonderful pictures and narataive. I cannot imagine Dubai from the place I visited about 1966. Then it was a dusty duty free trading/smuggling town. Had sandy streets and one or two hotels. Wonderful duty free market with all the current electronics as well as a splendid gold souk. Women exhibited their husband’s wealth by wearing lots of gold jewelry under their robes.

    • February 19, 2010 at 9:59 am

      Thanks, MA!
      Dubai is a big, modern city now with extravagant architecture. I regret not taking more pictures now. The Emirates Air (wonderful airline) now that we’ve got 25k frequent flier miles probably means we’ll be going back thru their hub in Dubai sometime – ‘nother opportunity.
      -Terry

  5. 7 Ray
    February 17, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Very nice Terry, I guess Dubai has some interesting things………….but I’m sure that I can think of other places to see. As for your thermodynamics statement, I think they may be on to a new concept in solar energy…….you never know.

    Thanks,
    Ray

    • February 18, 2010 at 1:16 am

      Thanks, Ray. I suspect the Middle East (or is it middle east?) is not a vortex contradicting the laws of thermodynamics (Thermodynamics – Wiki) but a case of mind-over-matter. You certainly didn’t see a lot of women standing around in the noonday sun, which I suspect is the unstated goal of this tradition (men wear white and women wear black). Certainly not in the Qu’ran.

  6. February 17, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Great stuff Terry. I think of Dubai in almost mystical terms but this helped bring me down to a more realistic view – sounds like it would take a kings ransom to really do the town. When I heard they sometimes play tennis high up on the Burj Dubai helipad I thought it was a hoax but … it’s true: +http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cosYBfBczI8

    • February 18, 2010 at 1:12 am

      Thanks, Joe! I think you can hold on to the mystical nature of the middle east (or Middle East). The music, eg. is wonderful as is much of the decorative art (mosaics, etc). Dubai itself is a modern city – it’s not quaint little mud-brick houses stacked precariously on top of one another. It’s debatable if offered the chance, whether I would ever go to a big city on vacation. Still, I couldn’t pass up a chance to visit a) a Muslim country and b) the Middle East. It’s certainly not a place I would chose to spend a long time.

  7. February 17, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Dear Terry and Chieymi, Am greatly enjoying your blog with photos, etc. As for comments, here they are (forgive my pedantic streak, but, hey, I’m an English teacher, and I just can’t help myself…)

    1) “… (with much to modest about)” should probably read, “…which much to be modest about…” as “modest” by itself cannot act in the role of verb;

    2) middle east should be Middle East (geographical place name requires capitals, in this context);

    3)What the heck is PUBH??? And what is the world’s first worst disease?!? Leaving the reader drooling with suspense is, well, frustrating…

    4) “I taught a class on on Islam (twice)”–this may be a fact, but why the repetition of the word “on”???

    5) Wow! $110 just to visit the viewing platform of the Burj Khalifa Hotel??? Holy smokes!!!

    6) Terry, you show a magnificent photo of the world’s tallest building, but no caption or reference to it–boo hoo!!!

    7) Don’t you want to say “… (apparently so the males’ thoughts would not be molested, which could lead to uncontrollable lust that would be visited upon the poor vulnerable ladies).” ???

    That’s all my comments…please ignore them, if you wish.
    On the whole, you’ve done a splendid job!!! Can hardly wait for the next installment!! Hang in there!

    All best wishes,

    Hal and Yasue

    • February 18, 2010 at 1:36 am

      Thanks, Hal! Or should I say professor?
      1) This is a paraphrase of Winston Churchill on Clement Atlee (“He was a modest little person, with much to be modest about”.)
      2) Yes, I realized that…being flippant.
      3) I think this is more flippancy: the actual abbreviation is PBUH following any mention of Muhammad. It stands for Peace Be Upon Him but I think it sounds better as PUBH which I pronounce, “peanut-butter”.
      4) Correct. Stuttering in print…
      5) They weren’t getting our money in any case – wasn’t open and wouldn’t have paid.
      6) For whatever reason, I added captions in Photoshop, and they don’t appear. Most difficult to properly identify a picture. One can add captions (in my limited knowledge of WordPress).
      7) Yes or at least something in English. I have updated and amended or emended post. Thanks.


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