Day 78 – Tuesday, March 24 – 2015 – Dubai, UAE – Day 2

Our second day in Dubai started at 8:30 with a tour scheduled with our travel service Cruise Specialists. After spending 2 days in Dubai, if I had to describe the city in one sentence it would be “Over the top!” Everything in Dubai must be the biggest, the tallest, and the best. Our tour guide this morning was excellent. She, like the majority of residents of Dubai is not an Emiratis. She is originally from The Nederland’s but has lived here for nearly 20 years but will never get citizenship since they are not given. She said oil made the UAE rich, but particularly in Dubai, oil now only accounts for a very small portion of their revenue. Finance and tourism are the primary income producers but the biggest industry is the “Marketing of Dubai.” Every building built and every development planned is to market the city.

We visited the Jumeirah Mosque built in the Islamic Fatimy style can accommodate 1200 worshipers.

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Even the bus stops are air-conditioned in Dubai, but considering that in the summer temperatures may reach 120 degrees, it’s not such a bad idea!

The Burj al-Arab hotel. Self-proclaimed as the only 7 star hotel in the world, at the time it was built, it was known that the hotel would never be profitable. With less than 300 rooms and a construction cost in the billions, the hotel was built to make a statement, not a profit.

Having never seen one before, this is the second McLaren we have spotted on this cruise. I guess it should not be surprising since even the police department here in Dubai owns a few Maserati’s.

There are beautiful flowers and bright green grass everywhere. It seem so incongruous here in the desert.

The secret to the greenery is an extensive system of drip irrigation. Here you can see the drip system with newly planted flowers. The source of water in Dubai is from desalination facilities.

This photo was taken in the Souk Al Bahar, a market place adjoining the Dubai Mall.

A good view of the Burj Khalifa, which we will be ascending this afternoon.

At 2,716.5 feet and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records:

The tallest building in the world

Tallest free-standing structure in the world

Highest number of stories in the world

Highest occupied floor in the world

Highest outdoor observation deck in the world

Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world

Tallest service elevator in the world

The following photos are views from the observation deck. The nearest experience I have had to this is looking out an airplane window. I have been in some tall buildings, but nothing compares to this. The elevator ride from ground floor to the observation deck at floor 124 took exactly 60 seconds.

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A look down on the Dubai Fountain. It is 900 feet in length and shoot streams of water up to 500 feet into the air. It is the world’s largest dancing fountain. Shows start at 6:00 PM and continue every 30 minutes until 10:00 PM. We plan to come back this evening for the show.

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Alongside ATM machines, in the Dubai Mall you will find gold dispensing machines. Here you can purchase gold ingots and chains/charms . The price is adjusted with the spot price of gold and the prices displayed today ranged from approximately $200.00 to $2000.00.

After our tour, we decided to return to the ship for lunch and get a little lunch.

The port terminal, like everything else in the country is huge and beautiful.

I hate my camera was packed as we passed the small post office in the port terminal. It had a sign posted, “closed for prayer break”.

We took the provided shuttle bus back to the Mall, leaving about 4:15. The shuttle runs about every 15 to 20 minutes.

A view across the fountain lake.

Inside the Dubai mall, the world’s largest with over 1200 stores, and hundreds of restaurants. It like everything else is huge and beautiful. Our guide earlier had explained that the malls were not just for shopping, but were for socializing. The locals hate the heat and use the many, many malls as a place to gather and fellowship where it is cool.

One of the mall’s features is an aquarium.

Here is a better shot of the aquarium from the second level.

This is one of the many (how many is unknown to me) atriums of the mall. We walked for what seemed forever, never reached the third level and never covered the entire mall.

A modern Dubai shopper. Here every type of dress was seen, but in the evening there was certainly more of the traditional dress for both men and women and less western style dress.

Evening is coming at the fountain lake.

There were two multi storied LCD TV screens outside the mall next to the fountains. At the evening “call to prayer” this is what the display changed to.

This father with his son sat down next to me on a low wall. A typical situation the world around, he was strolling his youngest son while his wife was shopping with his older son. We had a very nice conversation and when I told him, I too had two sons and five grandchildren, he exclaimed “Oh, you are OLD!” I said yes, sometimes I feel that way… This photo is a little grainy, since it was already dark when it was taken.

Getting ready for the show just after dark. I videoed the show so do not have any photos after dark.

But, here is a photo I took at the earlier, before dark performance. Photos can in no way do justice to the performance. It is the largest dancing water fountain show in the world.

The beautiful mall with the illuminated palm trees all around the lake.

We had a great two days and two nights in Dubai. The city is truly over the top in every way. It is beautiful, clean, and very tolerant. In fact the imams at the mosques are all given their sermon topics each week with an emphasis on tolerance. The idea is to prevent radical Islamic beliefs by prevent them from taking root. The people are very traditional and very welcoming. It is a great place to visit, but with temperatures reaching up to 120 degrees in the summer, it is not a place I would want to live… even if I could afford to…

We have one sea day and then reach Muscat, Oman.

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