Friday, April 28, 2017

Dubai by Rail and Foot

I checked in to my Dubai hotel at 2:00 a.m. this morning, fresh off an eight-hour flight from Guangzhou.

In the lobby, people were still enjoying the night. Two thirtysomething expatriate women emerged from the pub in summer frocks, looking like they were on their way to an English garden party.

This is a city where expatriates outnumber the locals. For the majority, Dubai is a temporary place.

This morning I got on a metro train at Internet City station, near my hotel.
Dubai works hard to be a city of bling and worldly superlatives. On the metro I passed a ski slope (indoors, of course), the world's largest shopping mall, and the world's tallest building. I stayed on the train.

Eventually I got off the train near Dubai's old town. I walked a few blocks, and found myself in a neighborhood of immaculate alleys. Maybe they're a little too immaculate, but I tried not to overanalyze.
I was taken by the juxtaposition of contemporary art pieces, including the reading hands at the top of this post.
The amplified  call to prayer from a nearby mosque added to the atmosphere. Men were coming from all directions, removing their shoes and heading in for prayer.
Dubai is hot and humid, which is to be expected. Air conditioning addresses that issue.

I stepped through a little doorway into a cafe in an air-conditioned courtyard. A fabric ceiling, like a tent, helped contain the cool air.
After nursing an espresso, I continued exploring the alleys.
Eventually I reached a souq (market) that sold stuff people actually need.
Nearby, the Dubai Creek looked just like a river.
But, of course, it is not a river: Dubai is hemmed in by desert.

I noticed I was close to a metro station. It was time for the afternoon portion of my explorations for today.
I took two metro trains, a light rail train, and a monorail to reach the outer limits of Palm Jumeirah.

A mosaic in the monorail station depicted Palm Jumeirah, land created in the Gulf in the shape of a palm tree, with an outer ring of more artificial land.
The monorail runs up the trunk of the palm tree and terminates on the outer ring. Here is a land of big resort hotels with water parks. I could be in Florida, or the Bahamas, or the Gold Coast.
I walked around for a while, and stared out at  the Gulf.
Then, it was back on the monorail, back to the light rail, back to the metro, back to Internet City, and back to my hotel.

1 comment:

  1. Your photos are impressive, on so many levels. Thanks for sharing!