19 April 2012, Gail’s trip log

Dubai was not what we expected – really. It was foggy and hazy right up until we docked and we could not see any buildings or landscape in the port area. There is a huge cruise terminal – there were three ships in port today. Lots of activity. Right from our deck the 1st thing we saw about 500 yards away the QE2. Dubai bought it and is turning it into a floating luxury hotel. The weather never did clear up – very little visibility, but it was only in mid-80s, so that was good, since we did a lot of walking. Our tour started at 915 and we had an excellent tourguide, a Russian woman, who spoke excellent English. We learned a lot about the history of Dubai and the UAE and the economy and their plan to market “Dubai” as a brand name to not depend on oil, which will run out in about 20 years – the Sheik is very forward thinking and modern – much like the Sultan in Oman. We drove past many unique buildings, including the Burj Khalifa (the tallest in the world), which we will tour tomorrow. Dubai seems to be an architect’s dream – in many ways it reminded us of driving through Las Vega (without the neon at night) where each building is more innovative and creative than the next. Our first stop was at the Burj Al Arab – the hotel on the private island that looks like the sail of a ship. We had a photo stop only – no one can go there or to the adjoining Palm Island complex without a reservation for lodging or a meal in the restaurants. We stopped near Jemerah Beach – beautiful aqua water – only really public beach [but in midsummer the water is too hot for swimming]. Next was a quick photo stop at a mosque, then to the historic district. Here we got out of the bus and walked quite a ways to the Dubai Museum [almost a mile of walking total there, which was very hard on some of our fellow tourists]. Then back on the bus to the wharf of Dubai Creek where we boarded a wooden dhow to ferry us across the creek to the spice and gold souks (markets). We spent about an hour in the markets – very interesting and exotic. Back to the ship about 215, totally exhausted. Quick lunch, then I gathered up two loads of laundry and Dan took his computer to the cruise terminal to use their free wifi – many doing the same thing. He even spoke to Cinda for a few minutes via FaceTime. He came back for a quick dinner and I went back with him to check the bank and Amex bill via wifi. I didn’t stay long, but we are here overnight – so don’t expect Dan to be back much before 10 or 11. We have another tour day tomorrow – hope less hazy.


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