October 37 - Day 37
25.10.2011 - 27.10.2011 33 °C
Oct 24-27 The final report
Monday was spent in transit - in buses, in transit lounges and on the plane to Dubai. Arrived midnight local time so it was 3am before we crawled into bed.
Tuesday we all slept in and had late breakfast and then a walk to the Emirates Mall which adjoins the hotel so we didn't have to go out in the heat. Watched the snow skiing field in the mall while we had coffee. Walked past some of the 600+ shops that are all global brands and designers. Not tempted to buy as everything is winter. Crew went to dinner on a dhow in Dubai Creek which is a bit more than your average creek. It is the very hub of Dubai's sea trade mostly using wooden dhows which look out of place in the middle of high rise. The dhows are still used to transfer vast amounts of stuff, including cars, from Dubai to India and Pakistan. The docks were a sight to behold... Talk about organized chaos.
Wednesday we went off on the hop on and off bus with a day pass. Humid and sunny so we have been exposed to more sun heat today than we have in the past few weeks. Heat wasn't oppressive but we are tired. Went to a history of Dubai museum and walked through the fabric trade area (souk) Garry and I decided to keep busing rather than visit the gold market. On to the Jameirah Beach area where they have created or are creating the three Palm island and The World islands by pumping sand from the bottom of the Gulf which is not more than 10 metres deep along the continental shelf. Truly an amazing engineering feat Also the location of vast aquaria, porpoise pools and the "fabled" underwater city of Atlantis We will just have to come back with the grandkids to enjoy those another time.
The city is really amazing -a bit like a very big Gold Coast but without graffiti and rubbish. A lot of Indians and Pakistanis working in building, cleaning, hospitality and retail. Apparently they can access cheap (free?) housing, education and health here while they are working but if they cease working they have to return home. No one pays tax here. There are tax free zones for business as well, so many of the big multiple nationals have a presence here.
After the mud of Europe it is very different to see so much sand. All the building sites are just digging into sand. Apart from the big sky scrapers which are glass the rest of the buildings are 2-3 stories stuccoed with colours that blend into the sand. Plenty of green spaces and traffic jams and what looks like a very modern and efficient monorail.
Plenty more things to do and see but early tomorrow we get collected to fly out at 10.15am. The whole holiday has been an opportunity to see a cross section of Europe. It would be great to spend more time in some places but we are 'over' the diseases that have come with travel and are ready to come home.
Looking forward to seeing everyone - we promise not to bore you with our travel adventures... What happens on tour stays on tour!