A night in Dubai
I’m traveling to South Africa to document the impact of the FIFA World Cup on the local community. Please visit my Kickstarter page for all the details and consider pledging to the project. You’ll get great rewards, a feeling of self-satisfaction AND… you’ll get to see more photos than you will on this blog!
I had a hard time deciding what to do with my 20-hour layover in Dubai. It’s a place I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and I knew I wasn’t going to see it all in the time I had. Since I wouldn’t get out of the airport until well after dark, I decided to skip the big buildings and other architectural feats, and take in the old town where the ‘locals’ live and work. That would be the international locals, the ones who come from seemingly all over the world to work. I grabbed a camera and my trusty 50mm lens and set out to be the non-touristy tourist. (It’s hard to find any part of Dubai that isn’t touristy, but I tried!)
An Abra (traditional wooden boat), taxied me across Dubai Creek to the thriving souks. Even though I was out fairly late (10 pm – 3 am) it was coursing with people working, just getting off work, or relaxing with their friends. The sooks, or open-air markets stretch for blocks in every direction. They are nice and localized, so you’ll see store after store selling gold, spices and textiles. I even saw a full block of auto parts stores! It was a nice contrast from the glitz we see attributed so much to Dubai.
When the sun came up, I headed out to Burj Khalifa. You may know it as Burj Dubai. Or, simply the tallest building ever. By a lot. I really wish I had a little more time to get a better photo. I think the best way to get an appreciation of how tall this building is is to step back and see it against the rest of the Dubai skyline. (Maybe next time.) I rarely get to say this, but I showed up WAY to early. The ticket counter to go up to the observation deck doesn’t open until 10a.m. I was there at 7:30. So I was just left with trying to make interesting photos from the ground.
Dubai is a city of superlatives. Everything, it seems, is the biggest, first, fastest, etc. The Dubai Mall (the largest mall in the world) is part of the Burj Khalifa complex. Inside is an aquariums (world’s largest acrylic panel), gold souk (world’s largest), the world’s largest candy store, and a California Pizza Kitchen. Again, since I was there so early, none of this really matters as it was all closed.
Well, I’ve got a plane to catch. Next stop, Johannesburg. Actually, next stop is lunch. Then, Johannesburg.
I’ve got more cool photos from Dubai that I’ll be posting as an update on my Kickstarter site in the next day or so. What? You can’t see the updates there? That’s because they are only for those people who have made a pledge. You should make a pledge, too. It’s only five bucks and it’ll give you access to more photos (and words) for the next couple of weeks. It’s what the experts call “feature-rich content.”