Sunday, January 4, 2009

Dubai Is For The Eye

Ok, Las Vegas has some nice buildings. But if you like innovative, beautiful, can't-believe-what-I-am-looking-at buildings, then Dubai is your eye candy store.

In the UAE, virtually all of the oil revenue flows out of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. But some time ago some brilliant leaders decided to transform Dubai from an oil-based, to a tourism-based economy.
These very visionary leaders decided to add a little coastline to their small Emirate and began building the three largest man-made islands in the world. Palm Jumeirah was completed first, and Palm Jebel Ali, and The World Islands are under construction. You can read more about Palm Jumeirah at

Entering Dubai from Abu Dhabi, the first two jewels of this Emirate are the luxurious Burj Al Arab Hotel and the Mall of
the Emirates.

The Burj's website says it was built to resemble a billowing
sail. Check.

The website also mentions something about your chauffeur driven Rolls Royce. Check.

The photo of the Burj was taken from the public beach southeast of the hotel. The sand was Panama-City Beach Florida white, and the water was crystal clear. I was a bit disappointed that I could find no where on the other side of the hotel to capture the sun set on its beautifully mirrored glass. I walked about a mile north looking, and soon found a lot of people turning right into some type of market or shopping area.

As I began to cross the bridge over what appeared to be a very lovely man-made waterway, I saw it on my right. The giant sail jutted up into the evening sky above the trees and buildings. If you were to look up Dubai on Google maps and select the satellite view, it would appear that the Burj Al Arab was built on an island, very disconnected from the Dubai coastline. Well, someone apparently issued an executive order that the two be connected. I'm just not sure if they moved the island, moved the Emirate, or just built a fabulously designed system of land, condos, trees, and water to fill the gap. It is an extraordinary sight.

Near the top of the Burj there are two prominent features--on the left is a restaurant. No, I have not dined there, I haven't even been inside or up close to the Burj. The rooms start at somewhere around ten Franklins per night. I am fine on the outside looking, well, in.

On the right is the heli-pad. The first time I saw photos of the Burj Al Arab, they were of Tiger Woods driving golf balls from the heli-pad. That probably wouldn't be a good idea now since the beach is now probably within Tiger's driving range. I have looked at this an similar photos I shot on my Dubai outing. For the life of me, I can't explain why the Burj doesn't look so over-powering in the photos as it does in person. Probably because I had to shoot in wide angle to get the whole thing.

If you should find yourself bored with staring at the Burj, or it's just too darn hot outside, no problem. About five minutes away you'll find the Mall of the Emirates, and waiting inside for you is Ski Dubai, aka, Winter Wonderland Comes To The Desert. Incredible. I went looking for reasonably priced food and landed in (much to my great fortune) a Labanese restaurant called Karam. Wow. The picture you see is the view I had while dining on superb local fare for a really great price. My waiter was very gracious in allowing me to set my table-top tripod up to take this somewhat long exposure. Throughout the Mall, you will find tourists like me gawking at the slopes, the skiers, snow-boarders and tubers smiling and laughing on the frozen powdery fun.


  1. Wow! You think it's expensive to keep custard frozen. How would you like to keep that freezer running:)

  2. The sand was Panama-City Beach Florida White, and the water was crystal clear.

    Al Raha Golf Gardens

  3. I'm just not sure if they moved the island, moved the Emirate, or just built a fabulously designed system of land, condos, trees, and water to fill the gap.

    Al Reem Island