Burj al Arab, Heritage Village, The Souks in Deira

Dubai, United Arab Emirates
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The day started with a quick trip to the store, but there’s nowhere in Dubai where there isn’t something to gaze at. One of the world’s most recognizable skyscrapers has been duplicated in Dubai, then duplicated right next to it. Not only does Dubai have two buildings styled after the Chrysler Building in New York, they even bought a 90 percent share in the original!

We then headed back out to Deira and the souks where Dubai gets its nickname as the City of Gold. Even after driving around Dubai for the past several days, I still get amazed at some of the sights…

Dubai gets so unbelievably hot and humid during the summer
that the bus stops are air conditioned.

Just as you see churches on every corner in the south (of the U.S.), you see mosques EVERYWHERE in Dubai.

The sand storms in Dubai gives the skyline almost this mystical appearance, as if the city existed in a dream slowly revealing itself the deeper you go into it.

Dubai’s version of graffiti.

On the site of former ruler Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum’s office on Jumeriah Beach Road, a replica of the “Roundhouse” has been constructed to honor the site where documents were signed in 1972 for the formation of UAE, uniting the emirates of Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Fujairah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman. Ras Al Khaimah joined later. This roundhouse is called The Union House with a huge UAE flag snapping in the wind above it.

Dubai’s Union House where the formation of UAE happened in 1972. Well, it’s somewhere back there.

Burj al Arab

But one of Dubai’s most famous structures sits at the other end of Jumeriah Beach Road — on its own island. The Burj al Arab is not only one of the world’s most recognizable hotels, it’s one of the most posh. Five stars? Try seven. Each suite is two stories. Nightly rates can reach in the tens of thousands. Looking at photos of it can’t describe the view of it in person.

I took about 100 pictures of the Burj al Arab, but no matter how many I post, it won’t do it any justice. But we did take these other photos in the area. Some are of the other really cool looking hotel called Jumeriah Hotel, designed to look like a wave.

The lobby of the Jumeriah Hotel

Heritage Village & Deira

On the way to Deira in search of gold, we stopped by Heritage Village for a bite. As usual the food was good. The only distracting things were these malnourished-looking cats that staring at me eating. I felt worse than when I walk past panhandlers in DC. These two persistent cats just wouldn’t take no for an answer. I eventually gave them some pieces of meat which they ravaged.

Heritage Village is an ode to the way things used to be before the skyscrapers buried the desert in asphalt, glass and steel. It has a nostalgic feel to it, though just across Dubai Creek you see modernity rising out the ground.

Hummus

Though Dubai is in a desert, this is the only camel we saw.

We then headed across Dubai Creek to Diera.

It’s in Diera that you’ll find the souk. The souks sell anything you can imagine in the desert, and a ton more you couldn’t imagine. Gold is everywhere though.

The world’s heaviest gold ring, literally, is the Najmat Taiba (Star of Taiba), found in Diera, Dubai

World’s Heaviest Gold Ring, Literally, in Dubai

There’s really no one way to describe the way the souks feel, sound and smell. Pictures are just a split second captured in a 4D motion picture. Your ears hear hundreds of people speaking at once and can’t understand a word of it. You think you know what cardamon and paprika smell until your nose whiffs the real thing. The number of vendors selling gold is mind-boggling. How can anyone make a profit out there?

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