Thursday, January 11, 2007

Dubai stay with Emirates

The Dubai airport is huge. We walked a long way to get to the transit gates where all my friends said good bye and went into their next plane. I again undertook a very long walk in the airport to get to the counter of Emirates and later outside where we were escorted to a van which dropped passengers at three different hotels. I arrived just in time to catch breakfast. My stay was for about 10 hours. The hotel was very high and outside the window of my room i could see Dubai city port with big ships and endless lines of cars being transported. They gave me a nice double-bed room. Although the airport had muslim showers installed in the toilets, the hotel lacked them, just like in Muscat. Then i went to the tour guide sitting next to the hotel entrance to get some info about the tour options she provided. She gave me a booklet with multiple options out of which i choose one and found out that it was not so expensive. It was a 4 hour personal cab tour of famous places for about 30 euros. I consented and met an Indian Muslim guide who took me in his cab to start the tour. He showed me the beach with the famous 7 star hotel "Burj-ul-Arab" build on a small artificial island near the beach. Entry was allowed only for people who had booked a meal or a room. Then he showed me the newly developing "Marina" area with skyscrapers all over the place. I must have seen about 50 skyscrapers (mostly under construction) at one place. Then we went to this big mall where they had built a skiing slope with snow. Now imagine this: seeing a snow slope in a dessert. How can someone be more luxurious?

Then he took me to the camel feeding grounds where we saw a herd of camels being returned after feeding. These were truly dessert areas. The person steering the animals became furious when my guide took the car near the camels saying that this disturbs the animals and the owner may kill us without getting into any problem. Then we went to the racing arena where a race was to take place that evening. The security guards didn't allow us to enter but the guide told them i was a German tourist here only for 10 minutes. And that's what we did...just took some quick snaps and came back. On my way back I saw a white boy playing with his dangerous looking hawk in the parking area. At the end he took me to a museum which looked very small on the surface but was very long underground. I saw Pakistanis as policemen, security guards, hotel hosts, tour guides, cooks, camel steerers, etc. I even saw some road side signals with Urdu among other languages. Although it was middle December, but the weather was warm. It was drizzling sometimes and the people said that it is a rare event that they have such a pleasant weather because of the clouds.

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