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Blogs from: UAE
Photo of the Day – Twisting To The Sky – Infinity Tower – Dubai, UAEEverywhere you turn in Dubai, there is something in front of you that defies imagination. This spiraling, over 1,000 foot tall tower on the Dubai Marina was one of the most impressive things we saw on our short visit to Dubai earlier this year.
Photo of the Day – Arabian Nights Bridge Reflection – Dubai, UAEI have already raved about the interior of the Dubai Mall (here), but it is equally impressive on the outside. The major outside area of the Dubai Mall is positioned to view the Burj Khalifa and an amazing fountain show that is twice the size of the show at the Bellagio (here). I took this picture as Brad and I eagerly awaited the fountains to come alive. There is a very nice bridge that goes over the lake area making for an outstanding viewing platform of the fountains and the Burj Khalifa – you can only imagine the number of people. With an incredible reflection and a nicely tinted water color, you can begin to get a feel of the outdoor decadence surrounding the Dubai Mall.
Photo of the Day – Driving the Dubai Dunes – Dubai, UAEOn our trip to Dubai in June of 2012, we took a Dunes Tour where a driver took us outside of Dubai and out into the dunes. The trip was a lot of fun as the driver battled the sand up, down and on the side of giant sand dunes. I was sitting in the back while Brad manned the front seat. I snapped this photo as the 4×4 was sliding down a dune and the driver battled to keep us on top of the dune. But, as you can see from the photo, he was not having to fight too hard for it as he often operated with one hand!
Photo of the Day – Emirati Glamour Shots – Dubai, UAEIt’s Friday morning and I’m feeling a little more laid back and casual than I normally am posting photos on say Monday. I’m not really in the mood to be serious, so I thought I’d sneak in this funny picture of Will and I from our trip to Dubai back in June. At the end of our Dune Bashing journey through the desert, we stopped at a little camp to enjoy dinner and a traditional performance. While waiting for the food to come off of the grill we threw on some local threads and had a mini AbsoluteVisit photo shoot
Photo of the Day – Spinning Tanoura Dancer – Dubai, UAEOn our last night in Dubai, Brad and I took a pretty cool dune trip which included some authentic dining and dancing to round out the evening. The first dance was performed by a man roughly my age, but I had never seen this style of dancing – its called Tanoura.
The focal point of the dance was the constant spinning of the performer – he literally spun the entire dance which was roughly 10 minutes. How he didn’t fall over after just 30 seconds of this is beyond me, but it was amazing!
In this shot, he actually removed a type of skirt that he was wearing (yes he had clothes on underneath) and began to also spin and throw it into the air. Certainly unique.
Photo of the Day – Diving Man Waterfall at Dubai Mall – Dubai, UAEMost malls that you walk through have signs that help guide you and they typically point you in the direction of different department stores, parking lots, and the food court. The Mall of Dubai ups the ante (a lot!) as you will wonder if you are in an amusement park or mall after reading their signs giving direction to fountains, ice skating, an aquarium, and a waterfall.
As you can see from today’s photo, we made our way to the waterfall (and of course the others as well). In typical Dubai fashion, this is not your standard waterfall and what you see in the photo is only about 25% of its width. The meticulously molded divers in the waterfall add to the scene as does the way the mall seemingly wraps itself around this piece of art from four different levels.
Photo of the Day – Modern Call to Prayer – Dubai, UAEToday’s photo presents a very normal scene from the streets of Dubai which is unlike any image you have ever seen of this sandy metropolis. It seems to me that when Dubai is mentioned in conversation around the world, modern images of the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Palm Islands or Ski Dubai come to mind. All of these massive wonders seem to overshadow all of the ancient and imported traditions and culture.
Every visit to Dubai should include a few hours outside of the safety of the western air-conditioned buildings and onto the steamy streets to soak up some of the local and imported culture. One of the most fascinating things you will see as a westerner touring the streets is the Islamic call to prayer which occurs five times every day. Watching all of the shops temporarily close their doors while all of the men head in the direction of the screaming minarets is really a powerful sight for someone who has not witnessed this before.
In Dubai Will and I found ourselves trying to eat lunch at the wrong time of the day and were forced to wait for the afternoon prayer before feasting on delicious Pakistani and Indian fare. The streets around us were absolutely packed with people all praying in unison through the scorching 100+ degree heat.
Photo of the Day – Emirate Lamp – Madinat Jumeirah – Dubai, UAEOn one of our nights in Dubai, we decided to check out the Madinat Jumeirah as we were told it had some awesome views of the Burj al Arab and was a nice place to walk around. Upon entering the hotel, you are surrounded by a market like mall that leads out to a dozen restaurants set along a waterway that allows for guests to quickly navigate the hotel property.
Although the setting is grand and an ultimate setup for a romantic meal (sans Brad and I), the actual views of the Burj al Arab were lacking. As we reached the end of the property, there was a small guard house. Brad approached and with confidence told him “we were from AbsoluteVisit!”. Unfortunately, this didn’t get us too far and we were restricted to the commercial area of the property and the “not-so-great” views of the Burj al Arab.
With restricted views, it was time to get creative. As Brad well knows by now, I am enthralled with the Middle-Eastern lamps that we first came across in Turkey. In this photo you can see it is my primary subject, but managed to squeeze in the Burj al Arab for a nice background
Does anyone know what these lamps are actually called? I love them!
Photo of the Day – Alone in the Desert – Dubai Dune Bashing – Dubai, UAEFor our final afternoon in Dubai, Will and I headed out of the city to the nearby desert (what Dubai used to be) on a Dune Bashing tour. What is “Dune Bashing” do you ask? Well, Dune Bashing is the sport of off-roading through the sandy desert dunes and it happens to be one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dubai.
Both of us had been “Dune Bashing” once before in Huacachina, Peru during our around the world trip back in 2009. The ride through the dunes in Peru was unbelievable and ended up being one of the unexpected highlights of our trip around the world. Because of this experience, both of us had high expectations for this similar excursion out of Dubai.
Unfortunately this trip out to the desert didn’t quite match the excitement we remembered in Peru. The biggest difference was that our trip in Peru was in an open aired dune buggy while this trip in Dubai was in an air conditioned Land Rover. Without the loud motor and blowing wind the ride wasn’t as “in your face”. Additionally the Dubai dunes were not that impressive. The dunes were fairly flat, modern city structures were pretty much visible at all times and sadly there was lots of trash scattered around the sand.
Even though the dune bashing trip wasn’t all we had hoped for, it was still a fun time and I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t spent a day before speeding around the desert sand. Here is a picture I snapped of Will staring off into the distance as the sun was setting over the soft dunes.