Thursday, April 16, 2015

Travel in Dubai: The Rest of the Story

In a world that is judged by bill boards and ad campaigns, Dubai stand as an example of what people think they know and what is real.  See, the Dubai I am seeing is not about extremely wealthy people or prices that are absolutely over the moon. I am seeing what Paul Harvey would have called "The Rest of the Story".  Only 1 in 5 people are Emirates citizens and rest are worker bees going about their lives much as they do everywhere else in the world.
My bicycle image for the day!
Today we traveled from Academic City to the Spice Souk on the other side of the city. Here is where spices from around the world are sold. But it is also home to a teaming mass of people buying kitchen utensils and shopping for the necessities of life. The smell of the market is wonderful and the salesmen are much the same as they are in Thailand or Mexico. This is not quite third world but almost.

Clothes hung to dry on apartment clothes lines.
We traveled by taxi day before yesterday down to the Dubai Mall and the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It was there that we saw what Dubai really looks like. While the poster child of the Middle East is beautiful beyond compare, it has only begun to be what it might become.

This is the image we carry in our mind.
This is the rest of the story.
In the books and the images seen on travel sights, Dubai is one place. But when we stood looking at the world around the center of the city at the 124 story level, we saw a totally different image. While urban centers are springing up everywhere you look, the desert still dominates the landscape.

My son lives in Academic City out near the airport. When you look at maps you can still see his subdivision and the small shopping mall that is nearby. Giant apartment building are being built and I am sure will fill but the heart of this area has yet to be developed. Other cities are much the same, set far part on connected by beautiful highways. Each of the developments has it's own shopping and is designed it appears to attract like minded people. I am not sure how that works but the names of the cities tells a story all it's own.

As for the excesses of the Emirates, I will have to say that shopping here is much the same as it is in America. It just depends on where you shop...there is no Walmart...but people have to eat and if the nation wants for people to work they have to provide for their basic needs. It all seems to work out.

View from out restaurant by the lakes at the base of Burj Khalifa.

Burj Khalifa
So, I am still learning about the Dubai personality. Tomorrow we will visit the Palm, Atlantis Resort and yacht basin. I have a feeling that another story will be told there. Then we will head out into the desert, visit the Blue Souk and see even more.

The feeling that I am in Las Vegas has not gone away yet. But I am getting closer.



  1. I am looking forward to more of your comments on this very interesting place.

    1. I have three more days and some catching up to do. Stay tuned!

  2. A desert souk? How exciting! I would love to be in your pocket for that one. I am imagining you might see lots of covered bedouins! I love the veils with coins on them and the henna hands!
    The contrast between rich and poor is amazing- isn't it?

    1. Janette, Stay is not what you would imagine at all.


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