We have been here before … on the airport at least. A few times. Since this city is on our route to Australia, and we wanted to break the long journey anyway, we decided to stop for a few days.
We flew with Qatar from Brussels, on the new Dreamliner airplane. Nice and lots of space! Qatar Airways is definitely one of the better airlines we flew with yet. Via Doha, where we will stay a few hours tonight and have time to explore that huge airport, it went to Dubai. Unfortunately the queue for the passport control was the longest we ever experienced on our travels (and we already had a long queue in the morning in Brussels)! Bur after an hour we finally got our stamp and could collect our bags 🙂 (the visa is given at the passport control, for tourists from certain countries – Belgium included – it is granted for free for 30 days).
We had arranged a pick-up from the hotel, luckily! Although it was late in the evening, the heat didn’t go to sleep. The hotel we stayed in was new, in the old quarter Deira, close to the metro. And we were upgraded to a suite! No complaints about the stay!
When we finally found the creek (on the first day we didn’t have a map or internet – roaming is a very big cost till we have our Aussie sim-card) we were very glad to have some fresh air! The dhows here already gave us an idea about the hard life of the people who work on the boats. It is an ancient way of trading goods in this area. But it wasn’t until we took an abra to the old part of Deira that we really understood how hard that life must be! The abra is a nice way of transport, and takes you to Deira or Bur Dubai for very little money. The old center of Deira gives an insight in old Dubai, before the black gold was found. Small streets, souks, little shops. Bur Dubai is a bit of the same. We wandered through the old Souq, to the Grand Mosque (one of the biggest in Dubai, and the highest minaret) and the Dubai Fort (the oldest building of Dubai, with a museum which gives an idea about how people used to live in the desert, and the development of the modern Dubai) and Bastakia (world heritage listed old quarter). (article from the bbc about the old dubai)
The other face of Dubai is very modern. Everything is possible here. Litteraly! The metro takes you from the old part to the new part, but is a pitty the train stations are far away from the sightings (mostly). The train ride itself can be an attraction, at least when you have the luck to stand at the back or in the front (driverless trains). There must be a zillion skyscrapers around Dubai! And still building … The biggest mall of the world has an ice rinck, another mall has a ski slope … Shops enough for the shopaholics! The tram only rides since late last year, and even smells new. Even though there is a lot of public transport available, it is not really easy to find your way around here. To get to the Burj al Arab (the fancy looking hotel at the beach) we took a metro, the tram and a bus. Check! On foot you are lost … Getting to the Burj Khalifa (the biggest sky scraper in the world) was a bit easier, although getting lost in the mall is also easy enough (the entrance is in the biggest mall of the world – off course) This architectural wonder is a true showpiece of the Emirati. But is a true wonder as well … With foundations about 50 stories in the ground, and the tower itself towering to 828 meters (162 levels). The view from the top was quiet fascinating, although Dubai has a real problem with smog, preventing us from seeing very far. At the bottom of the Burj Khalifa you’ll find the Dancing Fountain, from the same people in Las Vegas. A nice light and sound spectacle!
Dubai was a nice place to stop for a few days, one item less on the bucket list.