Dubai

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I can honestly say I’ve NEVER seen anything like Dubai before. It’s like a brand new futuristic metropolis being built in real time. Huge skyscrapers being tossed up all over the place, even now. It’s sleek, clean, wealthy and super modern with incredibly sexy new buildings.

I stayed at the Taj Dubai hotel and think this is the best hotel I’ve stayed in so far and that’s with me having spent as much as $800/night for hotels in the past! It’s not just their well appointed and amazing rooms, it’s the state of the art gym, the beautiful restaurants, the views, the stunning lobby and the helpful staff. The welcome drink and front desk agent escorting me to my room was a nice touch too. It’s a complete picture. Waking up each morning in a suite overlooking the Burj Khalifa for what I considered to be a steal of a price certainly helped! My only small complaint was with whatever chemicals they use to clean the carpets as it leaves behind a latent odor. I actually changed rooms because of it but it didn’t help but I did get used to the smell.

The most famous (and the tallest) building is the Burj Khalifa. Measuring in at 163 stories tall, it is the tallest building in the world!! And stunning. Located adjacent to one of the biggest indoor shopping malls in the world, it’s part of a huge luxurious complex of stores (including an Apple store!) and restaurants and the Dubai fountain, it’s a happening little spot.

Below is a nighttime view of the Dubai fountains. Even though it looks serene there were about a thousand people out there all around me enjoying the space so I had to elbow my way into a lamppost spot to carefully setup my tripod and hopefully not have some kids knock over my Nikon. Fun times.

The photo below shows the incredible view of the Dubai waterfront skyline. Of course, there are probably dozens of skyscrapers in Dubai not in this picture, including Burj Khalifa and the world famous Burj al Arab. I didn’t even get to shoot the Burj al Arab this trip. I think I’ll make a point to return again soon. At the rate they are building, pictures like this one will soon be out of date anyway!!

I had the great fortune of going on the Dubai Sundowner Dune Dinner Safari with Arabian Adventures one evening.  The dune drive was a bat shit crazy experience that everyone with a strong stomach should do once in their lives! The tour also included a falcon viewing, belly dance show, camel ride, Arabic style, three-course buffet dinner, and drinks at their traditional Bedouin style camp. One of the highlights for me (aside from the crazy dune ride) was stopping to watch the sunset in the desert outside Dubai. The sun seems to set much faster in the desert and the unabashed natural beauty of the glowing dunes fading into darkness is one of many memorable moments that will stay with me from my Middle East trip.

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