Dubai, First Impressions

We have been hit by an unusual cold front here in the UAE. Temperatures settle around 17 degrees and the winds are howling. The locals are enjoying the relief from the heat while we are missing the usual 25-28 degrees with sunshine.

I have almost completed my switch of camera gear from Canon to Fuji. The rebates on Fuji gear ended yesterday so we decided to make a trip to Dubai as one lens in particular was calling my name. Andrew offered to drive and also give us a tour of the city. A local Fuji shooter, Bjorn Moerman, had recommended a camera shop which was well hidden in an industrial area. The GPS saved us and we found the place without too much trouble. The service was good and I walked away with an XF 90mm f/2 telephoto lens. This should be handy for the camel races.

Our tour of the city started along the beaches and the Palm Island area which is a completely man made network of islands with impressive infrastructure and hotels along the coast line. Wherever you look construction is happening at a mind boggling scale. Andrew mentioned 80% of the worlds construction cranes are in the UAE. As impressive as this is, it also put me off to some extend. I kept saying the word unbelievable. Today I saw a photo on Facebook of Dubai 25 years ago and it looked very bare. My personal impression of the city in 2016 is a grand copy of a giant city in the western world with 10 lane highways, gigantic parking lots, parkades and huge malls with the same brand name fluff you can buy in the rest of the world. The scale is larger than anything I have ever seen. It is probably not fair to pass judgement so quickly and after just a short visit. We will be going back for sure and plan to dig deeper to see what this city is hiding behind its grand facade.

Andrew found us a cozy spot for lunch by the Dubai Marina. The food was excellent and the surroundings somewhat similar to what you would find at False Creek in Vancouver with a nice walkway along the water. We strolled along the marina in the sunset.

On our way home we had planned a brief stop to check out the Dubai mall near the 828 meter tall Burj Khalifa Tower. We missed the turn off to the parkade and decided to continue on home as adventure overload was starting to set it. We'd had a long weekend with many new impressions. Our initial take on Dubai may have been hampered by both of us fighting a cold and my stomach churning all day. I am sure it wasn't the wine and the late nights we enjoyed over the weekend :)