Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The largest in the world!

I just knew I was going to have a good holiday when I arrived at Heathrow airport to be told that I had been granted a free upgrade!
I’ve just returned from eight days in Dubai spent with my son and daughter-in-law Tim and Alice, and my grandkids Oliver and Ella. They moved there just over a year ago but seem so settled that you’d have thought they’d been there years!
Everything in Dubai city is larger than life, except the city itself! It covers a modest thirty five square metres yet it hosts everything that is the biggest, the tallest and the most extravagant in the world. It’s a flashy, glitzy place that takes your breath away and never fails to amaze, amuse and astound.
Where do I start? Well, within hours of arriving I was whisked over the border into neighbouring Oman where I found myself not only in the middle of the desert, but beside a truly beautiful pool. And that was when I had my first surprise – a bar! Not the cheapest bar I’ve visited, but certainly the most welcome. It seems that the pool was part of a hotel, hence their licence to sell alcoholic beverages.

But that was not my only experience of the desert. One evening Tim took me on a desert safari. We joined a convoy of Landcruisers and took off across the sand dunes at breakneck speed and impossible angles! The evening ended in a desert camp where I got my first taste of traditional food and had a go at smoking a sheesha, a gurgling monster similar to a hubble bubble pipe. Oh, and we were splendidly entertained by a charming belly dancer!

One morning we all went to Wild Waddy! It’s the last place I’d normally visit – a water based adventure park! The kids were determined I should go, and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised! Now, there are three rules you should obey when riding up and down a twisting water slide.
1. Sit right in the middle of your rubber ring
2 Hold on tight
3. Remember rule 2!
There I was, on my way up and up the incline, being thrown this way and that, when suddenly the wrenched ring decided to turn upside down! Fortunately I stuck to rule 2, and I found myself being pulled at enormous speed up the slope until I reached the relative calm of the pool at the top. Once there I managed to clamber back on board ready for the terrifying decent to the water splash back at the bottom!And talking of bottoms, I sustained a couple of substantial bruises to my rear end as well as a bit of damage to my elbows. But I kept smiling!
Wild Waddy is situated between two fabulous hotels, the wave shaped Jumeira Beach and Dubais best known building, the Burj Al Arab Hotel. It’s the world’s tallest hotel and the only one to hold seven stars!

Dubai is synonymous with the words largest, biggest and most expensive! Set in the world’s largest man-made marina is the tallest building in the world, the Burj Dubai which when finished will stand 808 metres high. Alongside the tower is the world’s biggest fountain and the world’s biggest shopping centre, the Dubai Mall. Inside the mall is the world’s biggest aquarium and the world’s largest gold souk!

But probably the most remarkable feature of Dubai is the trio of artificial islands which are considered to be the eighth wonder of the modern world. Shaped like palm trees, their ‘fonds’ feature thousands of opulent properties each with their own beach front. The Jumeira Palm also hosts the fabulous Atlantis Hotel which opened last September with a concert by Kylie Minogue attended by hundreds of A-list celebrities.

It is however a city of extremes. I took a walk along the dock area of the creek to find dozens of rickety boats being unloaded with their cargoes of sofas, washing machines and household necessities! The whole area seemed ramshackle and disorganised, a totally different world from the glistening skyscrapers which looked down on the haphazard scene.

I could go on and on for pages! I did an open-topped bus tour of the city, I visited the wonderful Jumeira Mosque and I wandered though the backstreet souks. I also went to the beach!

My holiday ended on a high! We were invited to the British Embassy for a musical picnic on Saturday afternoon. There we sat in the shade of the trees whilst the Band of the Royal Marines entertained us.

The afternoon ended with the band marching around the grounds followed by dozens of marching children. I’ll leave you with a very short and rather dodgy video which gives you a little of the flavour of the afternoon, but not before I thank Alice, Tim, Oliver and little Ella for giving me a most wonderful holiday.

To see more of my pictures of Dubai in higher definition click HERE!


  1. What an entertaining and interesting tour you've taken us on. Isn't Dubai where that giant building with the multiple rotating levels is located? Did you see it?

    Some great shots. What extremes Dubai has to offer!

    Excellent post!

  2. Marvelous.......just doesn't seem ta cut it aye"?

  3. I know, Dubai is a fascinating material world. I am glad you had a good time during your holiday with hookha and belle dance and all! :)
    Sorry for the rear end bruises though!

    I love to go to Dubai for shopping. It is cheaper than US or UK!

  4. Spectacular ... thank you so mucvh for sharing your wonderful time and beautiful photos ... keep them coming Keith!

  5. Wow. I've been reading about Dubai and find it fascinating, but you've really given it a personality for me now.

  6. It certainly didn't look like that in the late 70's. Neither did Qatar where I lived!