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Monday, May 3, 2010

A Tale of Two Cities

Map of the United Arab Emirates

I have lived in Abu Dhabi for almost two years and I am quite acclimated to my new home, but recently I had the opportunity to visit the famed Dubai. 100 KM's to the north.

I will have to admit something very embarrassing. It was my first trip to Dubai. A mere two hours drive away and I had never visited one of the world's most famous cities. I guess it boils down to my not having a concrete reason to go there. I am kind of strange that way. And I tend to be lazy. I grew up in a Florida resort town on the beach and never visited some of the most popular tourist attractions. 

Anyway, a fellow local blogger offered to show me around her domicile city of Dubai. We drove out to the end of Palm Jumeirah, you know, the artificial islands built out in the Arabian Gulf.  The Atlantis resort is there is absolutely marvelous!

Palm Jumeirah

There is a monorail that runs the length of the islands and it afforded some good photographic opportunities.

Monorail, Palm Jumeirah

Atlantis, Dubai

Atlantis, Dubai

The Atlantis sported a very nice aquarium. Very high-end stuff. Rooms were over $400/night.

Atlantis Aquarium, Leopard Rays in formation

After the Atlantis, we drove down the JBR Walk. As it was Friday, it was as empty as the below photo depicts. Apparently on other days of the week, this cobblestone street is bumper-to-bumper with Ferraris, Maseratis, Lambourghinis and the odd Corvette. It is the equivalent of Main Street U.S.A. where the folks drive up and down the street stylin', profiling, and birddogging chicks.

JBR Walk

Chrysler Building Lookalikes near JBR..

The real one in NYC is owned by the UAE. This is my favorite building. Art Deco at its best!

This street is lined with high-end eateries and retail outlets.
Next was lunch at a hotel sports bar. I had the fried hammour. Similar to grouper.
Then coffees curbside in front of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa. 

The Burj Khalifa

I enjoyed my time in Dubai. It is very "Western Style" there and it is real easy to forget one is in the Middle East. There are a lot of things to do there and I was amazed at the overt consumerism. Not that this is bad in itself, but I felt somewhat inadequate as I was not piloting a bright red Ferrari while wearing a 24 karat gold Rolex. Los Angeles comes to mind.

After my trip to Dubai, I realized I am more comfortable in Abu Dhabi. Things are slower here and AD just seems more genuine, more exotic and well...Arabic. I am good with that!

Dubai has had its troubles lately and it has been said that Abu Dhabi has provided assistance, hence the last minute name change of the tallest building in the world.

Abu Dhabi has the wealth and many plans for the future. I am convinced that AD's conservative and measured growth will see the city being the prominent venue of the U.A.E. in a few years.

Dubai is cool, but her dowdy sister to the south is finally waking up.

Abu Dhabi Skyline

Abu Dhabi Environment

Abu Dhabi Waterfront, Al Raha Beach

Abu Dhabi Sunset

Abu Dhabi Sunrise

I think I will stay put for awhile! I "heart" Abu Dhabi! Life is a bit more relaxed here and that suits me just fine.


Dave said...

Hey Ace, I thought you had been to our neck of the woods before. How did you avoid it for all this time?

Good to see you had a good look around.

Ace said...

Dave, I can't explain it except for a bad case of personal inertia and the lack of a reason to go there. As "The Terminator" says, I'll be back!

Misalyn said...

I had nice 'tour' of Dubai through your lens. Thanks for sharing Ace. I also feel that living in Abu Dhabi, especially in the eastern region (Al Ain) is better than living in Dubai.

Ace said...

Misalyn and Dave, Nothing against Dubai I just feel more comfortable in Abu Dhabi. Al Ain is cool, too!

hemlock said...

ace, i have an issue with your sunrise and sunset pictures... it's the same sun that rises and sets in dubai too - and the imagery can be spectacular. Dubai goes all the way back into the desert, and really, what your friend showed you seems like a tip of the iceberg! i see no mention of diera nor bur dubai, nor awir! (i love the used-car market there...).

dubai may have a lot going on, it also has a lot not going on... you can take it as easy as you like here... AND paint the town red. abu dhabi doesnt offer that - no offense to AD...

Neil Roberts said...

Next time you must go and see the old part of Dubai around the Creek - the souks etc.

Hanz said...

Nice interesting website..

Chuck said...

Sounds like the middle eastern equivalent of a trip from SGU to LAS! Glad you had a nice time. I'd probably like Abu Dhabi better as a place to live in also.

Anonymous said...

Very nice pictures, however I am a bit confused,

I looked everywhere and tried to figure out where this fictional "arabian gulf" is? Is it a man made body of water in dubai?

I think what you may be referring to is the Persian Gulf. (I'm sure if you do the least bit of research you will see that's what the body of water has been called since antiquity.)

Have some journalistic integrity and don't promote this shameless revisionist history.

Ace said...

Hemlock, I realized I just scratched the surface and there are many more delights to be found in Dubai. I like Neil's suggestion of the Old Dubai.

The used car market is intriguing, too. I do have a lot more to learn and see in Dubai. Can't do it all in a day.

I know, same sun and all, but this IS a blog featuring Abu Dhabi and I understand the Sun equality. but have to root for the home team.

Different cities, different feels, hence the title of this post.

Hanz: Thanks, stay tuned.

Chuck: More Like San Diego VS Las Vegas. Utah seems a little "sleepy" to me now! The 3.2% beer there is shameful!

Anon: Ok, I was taught as a schoolboy the body of water is called the Persian Gulf and it is identified as so in most atlases and navigation charts, but there seems distaste in the UAE for calling it that.

Maybe that stems from the occupation of certain islands by "Persians" in this body of water that are claimed by the UAE.

Out of respect for my temporary host country, I will continue to refer to "The Gulf" as Arabian and will also refrain from making-out with women in restaurants. Its just easier that way. When in Rome......

雅茹WillyA_Mellinger0724 said...


abualmaty said...

yes it's really awesome, every body is enjoying this great country.
it has so many thing to like it and feel comfortable to be live in.
the picture of sunset is absoultely nice, full of expression for love and passion of life.

Ace said...

Abualmaty: Thank you for the kind comments!

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Jacob Walsh said...

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