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A Yellow Boat Tour in Dubai

For a moment or two, as the boat sped up, I wondered if this had been a bad idea. The rigid, yellow, inflatable hull plowed through the water, throwing up spray on either side. The slightest wave and the bow would rise up alarmingly, only to fall again with a spine-jolting bang. (Disclosure: I paid…

Al Ayn UNESCO site: A day trip from Dubai

“We go to camel market?” Nishad asked, glancing over at me. I had, contrary to custom in Dubai, chosen to sit in the front seat of the taxi, explaining that I could see the scenery better from there. “No, thank you.” “Souk?” “No, not that either.” I had hired Nishad as a driver for the…

One Day in Dubai: Things to do!

Dubai is a land of superlatives: biggest, tallest, first. I would also add: oddest. Dubai is often compared to Las Vegas, and I agree: its sheer brashness and artificiality are very like Las Vegas. Like Vegas, it’s a big, shiny city plunked down in a desert. And although there aren’t any casinos – at least…

The Dubai Frame, in this picture, looks like it's just behind the palm trees, and only two or three stories high!

A visit to the Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame was not what I expected. In the flurry of publicity when it opened recently, the media showed just what its name promised: a picture frame. That’s what I thought it was: a large picture frame, outsized, like everything in Dubai. It was two or three stories tall, I figured, perfect for taking…

Our first glimpse of the A380 in Dubai Miracle Garden.

Dubai Miracle Garden: Absurdity in the desert

The taxi ride promised little excitement. It was mid-afternoon and the traffic flowed smoothly past the shiny tall buildings. Impossibly green grass and brilliant pink flowers edged the wide highway, and beyond that we saw sandy vacant lots, parked cars, huge billboards advertising the next luxury development or flashy car, construction sites spiked with tall cranes….

Visiting Burj Khalifa

Visiting Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world … for now

About a year ago, I was in Dubai for a workshop, and decided to go see the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world (830 meters). (Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them and buy tickets, I will receive a small commission.) Getting there involved taking Dubai’s spotlessly…

Old Dubai: a quick visit

While I didn’t do any shopping in Dubai, I did manage a quick walk around the Bastakiya District: also known as Old Dubai. Dubai was originally a small port that made its living from pearl diving, fishing and trade, especially with Iran. Besides the nomadic Bedouins, who lived in tents, the populations who settled here…

Half of the main atrium of the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai

Not Shopping in Dubai

Shopping is A. Big. Deal. in Dubai. Whenever I asked people who live there what I should see and do, the answer usually included shopping. (Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that if you click on the link and buy tickets, I will get a small commission.) I am very much NOT a…

an Emirates A80 being unloaded at Schiphol airport

Flying on Emirates Airline’s A380

On my recent visit to Dubai on Emirates Airline, I was pleased to discover that I’d be flying on a plane I’d only seen from a distance before: the enormous Airbus A380. The A380 The A380 is a behemoth of a plane. Like Boeing’s 747, it just doesn’t look like it should be able to…