Tuesday 2 July 2013
A Little Dubai-ous
Greetings again from Dubai-by-the-pool. Today was a day marked by heat, camels and invitations to brothels. After breakfast I made my way outside to find that even though it was only 8:30 in the AM, it was already 40 degrees. I found a taxi driver who volunteered to take me on a guided tour through Dubai (for money, of course. Maybe 'volunteered' was a misleading choice of words). Hopefully I'll figure out how to get the photos off my camera and put them onto the internets.
Hopefully you just saw some of the photos of what the locals call 'New Dubai'. It is pretty incredible in the same way the Dubai mall was incredible. Yes, they a just some towers and hotels but the sheer scale and ostentatious intricacy in their design is truly staggering. As is the price, predictably. My taxi driver/guide informed me that in the Burj al Arab (the worlds only 7 star hotel) a single cup of tea would set you back 400 dirhams (roughly $130 AUD).
My theory is that Dubai is built on the premise of giving one enormous middle finger to God (or Allah, as he likes to be called in these parts). For starters, there are 1.5million people living in Dubai in what would otherwise be a vast, uninhabitable desert complete with temperatures that make North Queensland look tame. Next, the people build towers that protrude so far into the sky, I can only assume Allah has to sidestep around them when he walks past. Tack on the way the grassy public areas and gardens are beautifully maintained and kept green and lush and Dubai serves as a testament to mankinds ability to say "F#ck you God, I'm totally gonna live in this desert and there's nothing you can do to stop me". That's not even counting the positively Magrathean-like chains of artificial islands built off the coast in the shape of palm trees and a literal map of the world made up of artificial, private islands. There is no amount of money that can convince me that a man named Slartibartfast was not involved in the development process somewhere. If you don't get that joke, just stop reading now. Additionally, my iPad autocorrected to Slartibartfast on its own, so that's something I guess.
Anyway, for the princely sum of $50 American, my guide took me on a 2 hour tour around Dubai and then dropped me in the gold souk, which was kind of like a bazaar crossed with Paddys markets crossed with a particularly dodgy part of Chinatown. Also, it was 47 degrees at this point. Two hours, three invitations to local brothels and several litres of sweat later, I caught a cab back to the hotel to begin my desert safari experience.
At 4 o'clock I was picked up in the lobby by my tour guide and led to a large Toyota land cruiser and we set off into the desert. There was also a Swiss couple and a Spanish couple on the tour but none of them spoke much English. First stop was dune buggy riding around in the desert then a truly terrifyingly wild journey across the desert in the back of the land cruiser with my very enthusiastic tour guide. For anyone who would understand the comparison, it was like driving with Rachel Ayers but with less larceny. For everyone else, it was exhilarating but also slightly terrifying. We finally reached our destination in the middle of the desert where we were treated to dinner and a show. Also, there were camels but I didn't get a picture of them.
The desert was quite nice though. I tried to get a picture of me doing a joyful jump in the air to celebrate my appreciation of the desert tranquility/Toyota but I just came out looking like I was missing a chromosome.
PS. My ipad is about to die and I don't have a UAE power adaptor so I'm quickly uploading this now. No time to include pictures, sorry.