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World Travels 2023 - 2024, 24 April, The Republic of Singapore to 09 May 2024, Dubai, UAE.

Updated: 4 days ago




Dubai – 9 May 2024

 

Day Adventure – City Tour

 

Today we will say goodbye to our Segment 2 cruisers, hoping we have all made amazing memories together, and welcome aboard our new crewmates for Segment 3.

 

Those of us here for the long haul will just keep exploring and probably be wondering how time has gone by so quickly. Welcome to Dubai, where everywhere you look you can see and experience the tallest, biggest, most expensive, etc. in the world!

 

I know many of you have already been to Dubai, so please add your own recommendations and “must-see” spots to what I share. I so appreciated all the input yesterday.

 

We will arrive at Port Rashid, having traveled north and east just eighty-one nautical miles overnight. You will find this one of the most modern terminals we use as it was completed in 2021. There is nothing within walking distance, but taxis will be available at the terminal and reasonably priced.

 

Dubai is without a doubt a shopper’s paradise, with multiple malls and souks to spend time and money in. And malls are not just for shopping; they are an experience in themselves.

 

Mall of the Emirates has the world’s largest indoor ski slope for those who have felt cheated out of winter this year, or Dubai Mall has an aquarium, waterfalls, and an ice-skating rink along with over 1000 stores. While you will not be able to bargain at those venues, you can at the more traditional souks, most of which are located in the older part of town. It is said that 20% of the world’s gold passes through the Gold Souk in Dubai.

 

Having so many shopping venues is not as surprising when you realize that the city’s wealth was founded on trade rather than oil; the latter just made it richer.

 




I visited the Al Fahidi Historical District to get a feel for the old city. Built around 1900 by Persian traders who settled in Dubai, this area can give you context for the country and culture. Another way to get a historic feel for the city is to take a water taxi or abra along Dubai Creek.

 

I was overwhelmed by the modern feel to this city of superlatives.

 

Is visiting the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa, one of the first things that come to mind as you plan your day here? At 828 meters (2,716.5 ft) and 160 stories, it is unsurprising that you will experience the world’s fastest elevators as you rise to the observation decks on the 124th and 125th floors.



The tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa,


There are too many world records about the building to list, but interesting side note, the shape of the Burj was inspired by a regional desert flower, the Spider Lily.

 

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to live 50 years from now? If so, you may want to explore the Museum of the Future, an immersive museum that claims, “each floor is like a film set from a future that you can inhabit, explore and interact with.” Sounds pretty fascinating.

 


Museum of the Future and other stunning buildings.

 

If you missed the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, you could visit the Jumeirah Mosque, the only one open to non-Muslims in Dubai. Guided tours are available. If you make it there, you will already be on the engineering marvel that is Palm Jumeirah, 650 km (404 mi) of manmade coastline where residents work and play.

 


Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi

 

Cultural entertainment at the Al Waha Camp in the Dubai Desert

 

That night was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my travels: an evening at the Al Waha Camp in the Dubai Desert. From the moment we arrived, I knew we were in for something extraordinary. The camp was set up like an oasis in the vast, golden sands, with traditional Bedouin tents illuminated by lanterns, casting a warm and inviting glow.

 


Our group and me with the falcon


The evening began with a falconry demonstration. Falcons are deeply ingrained in Emirati culture, and watching these majestic birds in action was awe-inspiring.

 

The falconer, dressed in traditional attire, explained the intricate training process and the historical significance of falconry in the region.

 

Then, he released one of the falcons, and we watched in amazement as it soared through the sky before diving with precision to catch its prey. It was a perfect blend of beauty and skill, and I could feel the excitement and pride in the falconer’s eyes as he handled his bird.

 

As the sun set, the entertainment ramped up. A talented belly dancer took to the stage, her movements fluid and mesmerizing. The way she moved her hips and twirled her cape was hypnotic, and the traditional music added to the enchanting atmosphere.

 




The audience was captivated, and some even got up to join her, trying their hand at the intricate dance moves. I could not resist either and found myself laughing and dancing along, albeit with far less grace.

 


A talented belly dancer took to the stage.


Next, we were treated to a performance by a “cape tossing.” He whirled and tossed his cape with such flair and precision that it seemed almost magical. The cape fluttered and flew through the air, catching the light and creating a dazzling display. His control and coordination were incredible, and the performance added a touch of whimsy to the evening.

 

Just when I thought it could not get any more thrilling, a fire eater took the stage. The sight of him handling fire so fearlessly was both exhilarating and terrifying. He performed daring feats, from breathing fire to swallowing flames, each act more daring than the last. The heat from the fire was palpable even from a distance, and the audience watched in awe, unable to look away. His grand finale, a spectacular display of flames and sparks, left us all cheering and applauding loudly.



Fire performance

 

As the performances concluded, it was time for dinner, and what a feast it was! A five-star traditional desert dinner awaited us, with an array of dishes that showcased the rich culinary heritage of the region. There were succulent kebabs, fragrant rice, tender lamb, and an assortment of mezze that were bursting with flavor. Each bite was a delight, and the hospitality was second to none. We dined under the stars, the cool desert breezes a perfect complement to the warm, hearty meal.

 

As I finally made my way back to the hotel, I could not help but reflect on the magic of the evening. The sights, sounds, and tastes of the Al Waha Camp had woven together to create a tapestry of memories that I will cherish forever. It was a night that was truly treasured.

 

 

The Best of Abu Dhabi - 8 May 2024

 

 

As a seasoned traveler seeking out the extraordinary and the awe-inspiring, my journey to Abu Dhabi was nothing short of a magnificent odyssey through a city that seamlessly marries tradition with modernity.

 


Early morning bus ride


From majestic monuments to towering skyscrapers, expansive museums to exclusive dining experiences, this cosmopolitan capital of the United Arab Emirates beckoned me with promises of a thousand interests and a skyline that defies imagination.

 

My adventure began at Union Square, also known as Al Ittihad Square, a place where history and hospitality intertwine in the form of spectacular white ivory monuments.

 

The sight of a large coffee pot and an incense burner standing tall symbolized the renowned Arabic warmth and the deep-rooted traditions of the country.

 

Capturing these moments through my lens, I felt the pulse of Abu Dhabi's rich cultural tapestry.

 

Continuing along the five-mile-long Corniche, I was greeted by a breathtaking waterfront adorned with ultra-modern glass skyscrapers and elegant residential complexes.

 


l Ittihad Square, a place where history and hospitality intertwine in the form of spectacular white ivory monuments.


The juxtaposition of the old and the new, the traditional and the contemporary, painted a vivid portrait of the city's dynamic spirit.

 

My next stop at Heritage Village was a journey back in time, offering a glimpse into Abu Dhabi's past before the discovery of oil in the late '50s.

 

The small museum, reconstructed homes, and artifacts vividly depicted the day-to-day lives of the local community, preserving a heritage that is both fascinating and enlightening.

 


 Heritage Village Museum


Stepping into the House of Artisan, the oldest building in Abu Dhabi, I was immersed in centuries-old Emirati traditions and handicrafts.

 

The intricate artistry and craftsmanship on display spoke volumes about the enduring cultural legacy of the region, leaving me in awe of the skill and dedication of the artisans.

 




The pinnacle of my adventure awaited at the luxurious Emirates Palace Hotel, where I savored a scrumptious dinner brimming with authentic Emirati flavors.

 

From traditional bread and lamb medfoun to a tantalizing array of Emirati desserts, each dish was a culinary masterpiece that delighted my senses and enriched my palate.

 




With a contented stomach, I made my way to the iconic Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE.

 

The pristine white architecture and the exquisite marble courtyard created a serene oasis of beauty and tranquility, inviting me to pause and reflect in the presence of such magnificence.

 


Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque (Part 1)