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Dubai’s best feature is its architecture… so if cool buildings are your thing …

Dubai is one of the cities on this circumnavular voyage that I have visited several times previously - on the way in and out of Afghanistan.

It is a gleaming metropolis where the main points of interest are the jaw-dropping examples of 20th century architecture.

But, in terms of culture, history (Dubai was a fishing village until oil was discovered in the 1960s) or sheer exoticism ... all of the things I booked this trip to experience... it is a bit bereft. You are never going to spend an afternoon with glasses of wine at a quaint streetside cafe in Dubai.

It's kind of an upscale Vegas, but with more modern glamour and very little fun.

So, even though we stayed two days there, this post is gonna be quick and dirty.

The first day, most of us English speakers piled into the same excursion bus where they took us to see some of the aforementioned buildings. Many of them are hotels which, I can tell you from my previous visits, are extraordinary in terms of the service offered.

This one below replicates one in the Bahamas, apparently.

Then we went to a port.

And finally they took us to the Dubai mall (the biggest in the world, naturally) where my friends and I jumped off the excursion.

Josie, Virginia and I went to the aquarium (their call) in the mall where we first walked through a long arch with fish (including sharks and stingrays on all sides).

Then we strolled what the mall billed as an underwater zoo which was mostly fish but also these otters.

And an it had area for penguins.

All of the fish, including the sharks, are born and raised in this place so they know no other home. And they seemed happy enough - but, hey, what do I know?

Then we walked around the mall which boasts things like entire floors of upscale shops - Gucci, Armani, Chanel etc. - catering only to children.

I bought nothing.

We ended the day watching the light show (oddly almost all in English) on the Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the world (it costs $200 CAD to go to the highest observation deck so we opted against doing that).

And there was a fountain show.

We returned to the ship by taxi and had wine on the top deck in fabulous weather.

The next day, Virginia, Tilka and I went to a local indoor souk. I was picturing live chickens and snakes in jars like we had seen in Vietnam but, no, this was just a giant indoor shopping mall where all of the small stores are privately owned.

They did have some nice stuff for good prices.

So I bought a couple embroidered pillow shams for my boho bedroom at Bala and a nice silk shawl.

And that was Dubai.

But this morning I woke up to this view from the cafeteria window in Oman. And I have a four- wheeling trip in the desert booked for this afternoon so, I am pretty stoked.


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