Living in Utopia for 3 days
22.09.2010 - 24.09.2010 44 °C
22nd of september
The flight was good. Sharjah was the next destination. From Sharjah there are no busses to Dubai. So unfortunately i had to take a Taxi. This was 100 AED (Arabic Emirates Dirham). About 20 euro. Yes, a waste of money.
First impression of Dubai:
Clean! Amazingly clean
A lot of roadlanes. A 8 lane road from Sharjah to Dubai.
Electricity: a enourmous amound of electricity lines going into Dubai.
Once arriving in Dubai:
Still clean: no waste, no cats, no electricity lines visible (under ground they are).
Futuristic. Wow, incredible.
The hotel: WOW!
When i checked in, the man behind the counter said that checkin time was at 14.00. I talked to him and explained that i had cancelled the first 3 nights, because i could only arrive by now. When i had my phonecall from Jordan, i already told so. But they changed to booking to 22 to 27th of september. This was not my intention. But luckily he understood. I arrived around 700 and could check in at 900. But not before i had an amazing breakfast. Mango juice, warm indian food, sausages, fruit, donuts, a lot of different cereals. Crazy. Wow, this is what i have been waiting for after, first ramadan, and after, only the very onesided 'bread' in Egypt and Jordan. Really, the people in Egypt and Jordan are missing out on a good, proper breakfast with this simple flat 'bread' they have.
So, what a feast. Despite not having slept for almost 20 hours, this breakfast was one big party!
Soon after, i could check in. The room was amazing. One huge 2 person bed, a balcony, a very good bathroom with yes, finally, hot water. Towels, table, television. Crazy. Wow, this is luxury. And no to be forgotten: far away, i could see the silhouetes of the Emirates towers, Burj Khalifa, and the rest of the famous skyline. Burj Khalifa is also known as Burj Dubai. But because Sheikh Khalifa of Abu Dhabi actually saved Dubai from bankruptcy last year (2009), the largest tower of the world is now called Burj Khalifa.
I took a shower and slept for 4 hours. After, it was time to explore Dubai. A new stage in the trip
It it an incedible modern city. You cannot imagine. Just a few highlights: Fully airconditioned bus stops. You sit inside the busstop, and the glass is black. So the driver does not see you. Solution: a button to light up the busstop to signalise that you are waiting.
Metro station. Imagine Star Wars. The entrance gates of the buildings. Then, imagine this is put in Dubai. The architecture of the metro station is incredible. A long tunnel over the ground, with a golden top. I cannot describe. Just Google it or see my pictures . Then inside, hyper modern: clean, i mean, clean, super clean. Floor made out of marble. Blue lights. I once learned that blue makes people relaxed. So that might explain. An architecture that is incredible.
A lot, a lot of banks.
Burj Khalifa. The tallest building in the world. Shining. Shining in the bright sun, into the sky.
The surrounding buildings: shining in glorious colors. Gold, silver, black. Business style colours. The architecture is crazy, beautifull.
Enter the Dubai mall. Sbopping? You can spend years shopping around. Normal shops and luxurious shops. Gold, Fashion, Food, Electronics. You like to go to the cinema? Plenty of choice. What about going to the indoor zoo? Or seeing the underwater world. You just have to go to the Dubai mall.
My brother went to New York. He told me it is an interesting city. But after a few days it feels like a old, dirty city on its decline. Youri, go to Dubai. I am certain this will keep you amazed for about one week.
After, it was time to go back to the hotel. Luckily i got free dinner for the two evenings, as a compensation for the missed nights (wow!). 70 dinar per dinner. About 14 euro.
I ordered from the room service. And i have to say the prices were cheap. I mean, in a hotel. What could you order for 14 euro in the York international hotel?
Cream Chicken soup
A very good Pakistani main dish (my choice, but there was a lot more)
Ice cream. A lot
After this meal, i was totally full.
Alex worked in the hotel and he worked for the roomservice. I talked to him and he is in Nepal. Poccra. He told me that going to Nepal in Januari is actually a very good time. Yes, it is cold and not all the hikes are doable. But there is barely fog. So you can clearly see all the mountains. This is the information i needed Everyone talks full of passion about Nepal and my ideal moment to go is January.
So, time to start dinner Music, my own mango drink, the meal and Gato in front of me. What a luxury! Insiders know what Gato is representing
The hotel has a nightclub inside, that has free entrance for the guests. I intended to see it the next day. I was too tired.
23th of september
A full day of exploration.
I slept very long and made use of all the luxuries. Took a shower, enjoyed a great breakfast and after, went to check out Dubai. It was already a bit late. First, i went to the Dubai creek. This is where dubai actually started off. There are soukhs there. But honestly, they can barely be called soukhs. I would just call them shops that are a little bit old. Here i bought 2 souvenirs. Some of the limited number of souvenirs i can buy, due to the space i have in the bag.
I bought one statue of Burj Khalifa and one of Burj Al Arab- the famous self proclaimed 7 star hotel.
By now, i have a few souvenirs: one scarf from egypt. Unfortunately i forgot the other one in the hostel in Amman, 2 souvenirs from Dubai and one gift for my girlfriend, bought in Jordan.
After, i went to the Emirates mall. This mall is the biggest mall of the Arab area. Immediately once coming out of the metro, you can walk fully airconditioned to the mall. Again, the most luxurious shops, and also normal shops. Everything you want, you can buy here. Cinema..and yes, how striking, now there is the movie: Wall Street: money never sleeps. I was thinking of going to this movie in Dubai. Would be very interesting. But i didnt. It would take 2,5 hours. A bit too much. Then i noticed the famous Virgin Megastore. I am fan of Richard Branson. This was the first time to enter a Virgin Megastore. Yes, it is huge.
Then..what is the Emirates mall famous for?
Big..yes, but no...
A lot of shops..yes, but no
Hypermodern and marble floor...yes, but noooo..
Skiing..Yes, skiing in 43 degrees. Or 55 degrees in summer. Yes, yes. Skiing indeed.
And yes, it is very strange to see Arabs on skis. For some it was probably the first time to ever touch snow.
Yes a waste of energy, i know. But worthwile a few pictures. There is even a Burton ski shop in front.
Then i went to the highest floor. And when you go even higher, there is a huge toys shop. Selling electical helicopters and gigantic fur animals. All is too perfectly build. Like an utopia. Perfection but more. A good moment to make some pictures with Gato and his fur friends.
Time to go back to the hotel and enjoy a perfect meal.
And..just before having the dinner, when it was on the table, Gato ready, i had a call with my girfriend. She called to the hotel. How sweet
24th of september.
Last day in Dubai.
Unfortunate. It might sound strange, because i am not so much of a big city person. But i have the feeling i could live in Dubai for one year. Just one year. To feel how it is to be on top of technology, development and economical growth. Not much longer, mainly because of the heat.
Dubai is super safe, modern and for a very very developed city, fairly cheap.
Imagine, i paid 30 euro for one night. I talked to two German girls who paid the same. But they shared it. So, 15 euro each.
Rooftop swimming pool
Roomservice (extra charge)
Normal price to have a single room, 600 AED (120 euro) per night)
Double room 700 AED (140 euro) per night.
Now on internet bookable for 30 euro per night, even for two persons sharing one roomservice
Today i booked a tour to explore a part of Dubai that is more difficult to reach with public transport: Jumeira, Burj Al Arab, the palmtree and Dubai public beach. And future Dubai.
I got picked up for a tour of around 4 hours. It is incredible what i have seen. I have to say though that the Palm Island is not too special. Just very expensive hotels, but absolutely no atmosphere. And there is hotel Atlantis. In order to get there, you drive from the palm tree, under the sea, to the protective ring (against the sea). There is hotel Atlantis.
The palm, in my opinion was not too interesting. But it was interesting to sea the famous Burj Al Arab and Jumeira. And the beach, surrounded by a lot of hypermodern hotels. A lot of four wheel drives (park you car on the sand an go to the beach). Crazy.
Then..future Dubai. They are building it right now. Imagine a building where the different floors move independant from each other. A building that never looks the same. When you wake up your view is different from when you go to sleep. Yes, that is in the make right now.
After the tour, i got dropped of at the Dubai museum. Unfortunately, Friday is weekend in the Arab world. So it was closed, but opened up 1 hour later. So i waited. The museum is a bit small, but definately worth a visit. For just 3 AED, you get to know the past of Dubai. You walk trought the traditional soukhs, made by puppets, but very realistic. You can read about the Berber population, how they survived in the dessert. The importance of Dubai creek and more.
And then..a movie and explanation that thrills you. Not so much the movie itself, but the figures.
1960s, dubai has 59000 inhabitants.
1969, oil is being found in Dubai.
1977 Dubai has 207000 inhabitants
1990 Dubai has 550000 inhabitants.
That is a stunning increase of population. But all of this has to do with merely one thing: OIL.
OIL is king. It is unbelievable. After the oil was found and Dubai port was opened up for bigger ships, Dubai started expanding like crazy.
If you look now at the skyline, i am certain that in 5 years, it will be even more crazy. What New York did in 200 years, did Dubai in the last 20 years. What New York did not succeed in managing: safety, Dubai did.
It is absolutely stunning. And therefore i think i could live there for one year. After, i have to leave to a more quiet place that is less hot.
After the museum visit, i walked back to the hotel. I had about 1 more hour, so i took a shower on the top floor and intended to go to the sauna. But unfortunately it was off. So, to the swimming pool. I couldn't swim, because my backpack and stuff was down. And i had not too much time left. So just hanging the feet in the swimming pool on top of the York International hotel.
Time to go to the Airport. First i took a bus. But the bus made a circle and passed by the hotel. It did go to t he airport, but in a loop. Again, i was happy to take plenty of time to get to the airport.
I went to the metro station. And, dont laugh, but in Dubai there is a maximum size of luggage you can take in the metro. Yes, the metro that goes TO and FROM the airport. But big travel bags are not allowed. You have to take a taxi. Insane! So yes, Dubai sometimes wants to be too perfect.
Well, i knew this, so i had some money left for if i would have to take a taxi. Luckily they let me pass and i went to the airport.
Ah i am forgetting: in Dubai i bought some good bookes that i really wanted to read once in my life:
The art of War- Sun Tzu
The Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith
And because i had money left, because i didnt use it for the taxi, i could buy another book at the airport:
How to talk to anyone, anytime, anywhere – Larry King.
All are the pocket editions, so not too heavy.
The flight with Gulf Air to Bangkok.
The flight was very good. I had 2 seats for myself. And although, i did not sleep a lot, it does make a difference. I could choose from meals (normal), but even better: you could choose drinks. Not just drinks, i am talking Bacardi rum, Whiskey, Ginger and more. I decided to take whiskey with my dinner