Breakfast in our hotel was good. There were lots of choices on the buffet, both Western, and Arabic. I’ve never seen so much lamb turned into breakfast foods. Pork bacon or sausage, are not to be found.
Our guide, Mohammad (Egyptian), picked us up about 9:20am. We joined a single woman from Karachi, Pakistan (spoke decent English), and a family of three (4-year old boy) from Italy. Our guide gave all the information for the tour in English, and then repeated it in Italian. As the tour progressed, the Italian family spoke enough English to converse about the fact they were from Sicily, Taormina, specifically. Our guide told us he sometimes has as many as three languages for tours off a cruise ship, English, Italian, and Spanish. And of course, he speaks Arabic.
Our first point of interest is “The Palm of Jumeirah Beach”. It’s the famous man-made islands built in the shape of a palm tree. A large Atlantis hotel (same company as Bahamas Atlantis), is at the very tip of the islands. A monorail runs the length of the trunk from the mainland out to the hotel. There’s a really nice boardwalk (18km) along the rock breakwater protecting the entire complex. Thousands of trucks were required to haul all the rocks in from Oman. This was a HUGE project. Lots of building still going on, hotels, residences, etc.
Atlantis, and they’re building and even bigger one next door
Next stop was a viewing of the Burj Al Arab hotel, the iconic “Sail”. You can’t get on site without a booking or restaurant reservation. Our hotel concierge worked to get us a reservation in the restaurant at the top of the hotel, but the starting price for a fixed meal was nearly $300 USD per person. I guess pictures from afar will have to do. The only rooms in the hotel are large suites encompassing two floors. It’s very exclusive.
We had time to visit a shopping area nearby. It’s part of a complex of three hotels connected to each other by canals, referred to by the locals as Dubai Venice.
Next stop was the Marina District. It’s a man-made waterway with some very exclusive hotels. We walked around the boardwalk, admiring the boats, and amazing spiral tower.
The Dubai Mall and the Burj Al Khalifa is our next stop. The mall is advertised as the world’s largest with more than 2500 name brand stores. It contains a lake with fountains that “dance” similar to the Bellagio in Las Vegas. There is a light show that displays on the Burj Al Khalifa – the world’s tallest building. There’s also a huge (5 stories) indoor waterfall at one end of the mall. The mall is huge. We walked our legs off. As we entered today, we saw some of the huge aquarium that’s also part of the property
It seems so much better when we stand in front of it.
From the 125th floor observatory
Lake where the fountains dance
Our tour ended around 2:00 after our trip to the top (125th floor) of the Burj Khalifa. We decided to stay at the mall and eat, walk around, while we wait for the fountains and light show that began at 6:00. We ended up in the Five Guys restaurant enjoying a vanilla shake, with a view of the fountains and light show.
The water show seemed average to us, nothing special. We finally decided to head home, and as we were leaving, a light show began, displayed on the Burj Khalifa. It was something! With only 10 minutes left when it ended before the next fountain show, we decided to wait. The 2ndfountain show was much better. Different music and fountain actions made a difference. After the show, we walked to a taxi stop, bound for home.
Day 1 in Dubai has been one amazing thing after another! What a blast, and our guide was good, getting us in and out of places quickly. We can’t wait till tomorrow.