Monday, September 17, 2012

Travel Diaries - Dubai,UAE [Part 1]

Last year I signed up for a study tour around the Alps in Europe as part of my design paper with my class. This year in April we started the tour with a warm up, quite literally, in United Arab Emirates on the way to Milan, Italy. I've only recently finished sorting out and editing 85% of the total photos taken on the tour and finally I can share some of them~! Dubai was a complete surprise since it wasn't really planned as part of our tour until the last minute when we decided to make most of our stopover(s) and take a break from our 24 hour travel schedule from Auckland to Brisbane to Dubai to Milan.

Above: With no preconceptions of Dubai, arriving at the airport, we entered a futuristic metallic world... By this time we were all dying to see some green and some fresh air after our 14 hour long haul.

Below: First stop was to the Heritage Village in Dubai and stroll along the Dubai Creek. Looking across the creek, there is a sharp contrast between the shiny new developments and the traditional vernacular.

Below: Souvenir souvenir souvenir! Stop off at the marketplace to have a gander. Everywhere you look is gold trinklets and tourist groups. Sadly, didn't have time to exchange some money beforehand. The more 'interesting' shops were along the narrow side roads and man... a whole new level when it comes to spices and garnishes.

As we travelled to the more developed areas of the city, the towers begin to become more bizarre as if there was no restrictions on the design. It gives the impression that Dubai is an architect's dream playground however, most of them seemed to be empty or only partly leased out.(The issue of the code of practice in Dubai is another issue.)  We happened to visit the city just after a dust storms and what is really funny is how the facades of the towers that face the street are the only surfaces cleaned and the rest remain dusty. It doesn't help when the majority of these buildings have no operative windows and rely heavily on air conditioning. Therefore it puts into question the purpose for such tall structures in such an unoccupied city...or we visited during a very offpeak season.

 Above: Dubai Mall, massive and...has everything! Main entrance to the Burj Khalifa is through the mall.

Below: View from the top.

Ended the day at the luxurious Yas Hotel. Amazing food and friendly service... even though there were a few hiccup with the rooms. It just happened that our stay coincided with Earth Hour and for once Dubai turned off its lights....when I was about to start photographing the building... ah le fail~

 Above: Lights slowly turning on again on the facade at a rediculous hour in the night... really wanted to go to bed after the wait.

NOTE: More to come. Day 2 of UAE before the start of the tour.

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