Dubai, where lights twinkle and gold glitters
Trip Start Oct 2004
6Trip End Mar 2005
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It is total blackness as you fly over the Arabian peninsular, no sign of life below your aircraft, not even the odd faint glow from a village or town, you could be over some vast ocean. Suddenly as you descend toward the airport at Dubai bright lights shine their welcome, first white street lighting carves the pattern of the main roads leading to the city, then airport lights and guide lights point you to the runways, next the city lights mixing various colours and shining on state buildings, monuments and high-rise hotels give a brilliance that is akin to any midnight celebration of fireworks in Sydney, London or New York. Dubai shows it's oil wealth through the medium of power, clearly they have no need to economize on electricity.
Once into the airport, (air-conditioned in this desert region of course), the richness shows itself in the exquisite decor, in one area you pass a Mercedes car that is being raffled, another outlet is laden with very expensive jewelery mainly of gold. Arab men stand proudly tall in their immaculate flowing white gowns while others in smart Saville Row suits head off to their departure gates. There are a mix of other people coming and going to or from any city worldwide as there is in most major airports; the holiday makers, the backpackers, officials and rather a lot of sub-continent workers overladen with their belongings in brightly checked canvas bags, cardboard boxes and carrier bags; these I assume are those that work serving the hotels or for the wealthier locals.
Dubai is rapidly becoming a favourite holiday destination for wealthy Europeans who seek guaranteed sunshine and 5, 6 or even 7 star hotels on the beach. In the old town there is some history and the old fort, (which is now a museum), and surrounding area is worth a days visit. The shops all bulge with gold and it is not easy to find something that would remind you of your visit. Not so long ago it was of course just a fishing village with a small port in it's river setting on the coast. One of the excellent things about Dubai is the extremely low rate of any crime and there isn't even any underlying feeling of threat of trouble. The police do their job quietly and only appear in strength within the airport area, that I assume is to counteract smuggling in or out of this tax free country!
It is an expensive place to visit so if you are heading on and trying to stick to a budget it is probably best to stay for a few hours in which time you could cover the old town and riverside before you fly off to pastures new. I'm sure that the high class hotels are quite happy not to entertain any real travelers.
Where-ever you are in this small world, watch your step, there is always so much more to see.
DUSK IN DUBAI
Where the crescent moon hangs by its points,
And single stars are lost in glittering haze,
Silhouetted palms show as crescent shadows,
Mirroring the moon's initial phase.
And the sand stands cold,
In this land of gold,
And you stand and gaze,
As in biblical days.