Monday, April 30, 2007

Dubai Chronicles - Part 2b

Our second evening in Dubai took us to the beautiful Jumeirah beach. This beach houses the famous Burj Al Arab hotel, the expense of staying in which, is believed to surpass anything imaginable! Apart from holding the distinction of being the world's tallest hotel, it is also an architectural marvel in that it stands on an artificial island. The hotel itself is shaped like an Arab dhow, which is a traditional Arabic sailing vessel. There are umpteen numbers of pictures of this hotel doing the rounds, and so I thought it best to post just one of the many we ourselves took!
The road leading to the beach also plays host to the famous Jumeirah mosque, a beautiful piece of Islamic architecture. The area is dotted with beautiful villas, many of which seemed to be replicas of each other. Nevertheless, each one is worth a lot of money, no doubt! It is no wonder then that Jumeirah remains one of the most expensive and coveted areas in Dubai!

On our way back from the beach, we visited another shopping mall, "Mercato". Needless to say, this one was also as big as they come!

Then, on our way back home, we stopped at this funky, automatic car wash place to rid our car of all the sand and other debris from the beach, but that's another story for another day!!!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Dubai Chronicles - Part 2a

Our second day (the morning) in Dubai started off with exchange rates and the like, and soon, we were the proud owners of some precious dirhams and fils!

We then set out to visit Ibn Battuta, one of the most famous shopping malls in the city. Dubai is laden with malls, most of which are huge in size. I, for one, didn't chance upon any mall that could be classified as a small one; the malls just kept getting bigger and better! Although, I must admit that I left my heart in Ibn Battuta! The mall is characterized by numerous courts; courts modelled following the architectural details and other idiosyncrasies of the countries they're named after. In fact, the roadway leading to the mall displays numerous colourful flags bearing the names of these very courts.

Also, inside the mall, clear signboards point to the exact location of each court.

Strolling through the mall, we learnt how it came to be called Ibn Battuta. Ibn Battuta was a great traveller and explorer. It is no wonder then that the mall boasted of so many different courts and architecture styles!

The courts in the mall were so true to the country's architecture and style that was being followed that even the restrooms were designed in the respective styles! Ornate earthenware for the restrooms in the Egypt court, the colour red and dragons and the like for the ones in the China court; you get the drift! From the ceilings to the walls to the floors to the hanging lanterns and other paraphernalia, all reflected the style of the country being catered to!

There are so many pictures that I really didn't know which ones to omit and which to include! I've selected what I think are the best!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dubai Chronicles - Part 1

When we first landed at Dubai International Airport, little did we know what to expect. I, for one, was quite awestruck by the grandeur of the airport. The airport itself is ranked among some of the best airports in the world, and rightly so! Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of the airport as I wasn't sure whether it was allowed, and I didn't want to be reprimanded or sent back to my country before even having properly set foot on UAE soil! Of course, on our return journey, I did click some pictures, but that will have to wait for now.

Once we had successfully manoeuvred our way through the huge airport, we lined up to procure our original visas. The stern lady at the counter reiterated a couple of times that our visas were nowhere in sight! Perplexed as we were, and with the copies of our visas in our hands, our hearts sank at another thought of going back even before setting foot on UAE soil! Anyway, to cut a long story short, the issue was just a delay with the processing of the visas in the airport itself, and the precious papers were soon in our possession!

Our first day (actually, only the evening) in Dubai was spent by going to one of the more famous supermarket chains in the city, "LuLu". LuLu has 3 huge shopping establishments in the same vicinity, a place called "Karama". One caters only to groceries, eatables and the like, another houses clothes, textiles, toiletries et al, while the third one is dedicated to furniture and household items. All are more than adequately stocked, and I'm sure rarely will a person not find what she/he is looking for! Of course, my camera went into high gear, considering it was the first place we visited in Dubai. I'll just leave you with some pictures now!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I'm Back!!!

Yes, I'm back from Dubai. The place is awesome, to say the very least. We even visited Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, both quite close to Dubai. I am now in the midst of sifting through myriad mails and sorting out schedules, so I have to leave you with some sights of Dubai for now. I promise to write about each day spent there, in detail, and very soon, with pictures to add to the stories!