Dubai and the UAE
[12/01/2013] I hope to provide some commentary and details of my visit to the United Arab Emirates. Thus far it has been a very enjoyable trip, and I have seen and done many of the things I had hoped too. I'll provide the grids ( , ) to help you find your way around Dubai.
Arrival: I arrived very late on Saturday night and was picked up by a co-worker and taken to my apartment. I am on the 26th floor of an apartment tower located in the Jumeirah Lakes Tower (JLT) area ( 25.074976°, 55.144613°). There are many apartment buildings here with shops, restaurants and other facilities on the first floors of the buildings. Across the freeway is Dubai Marina, which is another set of housing towers, hotels, a mall, and of course a marina.
My flights were tolerable, but I the plane from Chicago to Frankfurt was completely packed and I was in the middle of the middle, and had virtually no room. I got no sleep on this portion of the trip. I did have a 6 hour layover in Germany (extremely boring and I only got about an hour of sleep). The flight to Dubai was much more comfortable as I had an aisle seat, but still very little sleep.
Dubai Mall: I slept until about noon on Sunday and then headed out to the Dubai Mall (25.197725°,55.278974°). I explored many of the shops at the mall and grabbed something to eat (some nice Lebanese food). The mall is incredibly large and has 4 levels. Just about anything you can purchase can be found. There are plenty of American restaurants some that are surprising (like Steak and Shake and Church's Chicken). I took pictures of Burj Khalifa (25.196852°,55.274099°) and watched the fountain show. The fountains were nice, on par with those at the Bellagio, but certainly not World of Color. I did take a video of the show.
Mall of the Emirates: I started work on Monday and then after a few days of getting used to the routine I finally ventured out again. I hoped the Metro to the Mall of the Emirates (25.119563°,55.200145°) and explored more shops. This mall is not as large as the Dubai Mall, but while scaled back it seemed to be more grand in construction. I found a nice Japanese restaurant that over looked Ski Dubai, it was quite fun to look through the glass and see skiers coming down the slopes. There are some large toy stores in the mall, but the prices are much higher than those in the States.
Dubai Motor Show: There are always events happening in Dubai, and I was fortunate enough to be here for the Auto Show. It was an incredible collections of vehicles. The event was held at the World Trade Centre (25.225163°,55.286208°) and I've included pictures of my favorite and most interesting vehicles. At the entrance to one of the pavilions were the variety of police cars that are used in Dubai; including, a Ferrari, Audi, BMW, and Lamborghini. My favorite vehicle is the Aston Martin DB9, unfortunately I was unable to sit in this one.
Other cars of note:
The GTR was awesome to sit in, not the most comfortable, but sure would be a lot of fun to drive.
While the R8 was probably the fastest vehicle I say in, it was very cramped and uncomfortable.
Surprisingly the Jag XKR was incredibly comfortable and spacious inside.
The vehicle that I would buy was the Land Rover Defender. I cannot fathom why this is not available in the states. Tons of room on the interior, lots of aftermarket parts available, and it looks better than any other off-road vehicle made (stupid US emissions rules).
Toyota had a cool interactive display. They had taken a GT-86 and paired it with Grand Turismo, and created a track simulator that tilted and gave force feedback to the steering wheel. The only down side is that it was an automatic, but it was a great deal of fun driving around a racetrack in that car. While I was in line the fellow who had the fastest time had another run (it must be all he has done at the event for the previous few days). His best time was a 1:27, and I managed a 1:30 which was faster than anyone else I saw infront of me, so I felt good about my skills, and I know the two places that I made my mistakes that cost me that time. I've got a new project when I get home.
Shopping and Souks: (coming soon)
Burj Khalifa Observation Deck: (coming soon)
Jumeirah Mosque: (coming soon)
Burj Al Arab: (coming soon)
Al Ain Zoo: (coming soon)
Jebel Hafeet: (coming soon)