Just nod if you can hear me

by davebarclay1954

Music is from Pink Floyd and copyright is owned by Pink Floyd, Universal/EMI Harvest. Video courtesy of YouTube and, if it won’t play where you are then my apologies for that. You could always check your local video player for a working version of the song.

Returned home yesterday morning, knackered and with a headache but happy to have seen Dubai. Not at all what I expected from a Muslim country, education is open to all (yes women are free to attend school and then go to university and get a degree). Gay and lesbian couples are also able to openly walk the streets holding hands, everywhere there are signs promoting the year of inclusion and if this isn’t eye opening then you must not have read anything about the treatment of women in other Muslim countries where anyone deviating from the normal male in any way is kept behind and prosecuted for daring to challenge the patriarchy.

It was also strange to find a ski slope (with chair lifts and a snow boarding slope) in the desert within a shopping mall (The Mall of the Emirates) there is also an indoor ice rink (at the Dubai Mall) and more shops in the Malls than you can shake a stick at. The Derai City Centre Mall has seating in the tourist lounge but none anywhere else, there is also a free tourist shuttle bus to the main hotels around Derai city (where the airport is located).

Everyone is so friendly and make you feel welcome (not just your money) of course there is the tourist tax to pay at the hotel but as this is in the local currency it isn’t very expensive. Dubai doesn’t have a taxation policy, unlike the US so the prices you see are the prices you pay. The currency isn’t split into anything lower than a 20/100 of a Dirham therefore they will round down your shopping to the nearest 20/100 of a Dirham in the shops we went to in the area of the hotel (we stayed at the Grand Excelsior but, there are many other hotels within easy access of the Dubai Airport).

There are many tourist buses offering hop on/hop off services but we used the City Sightseeing ones (they are the same franchise as the City Sightseeing ones at home in Newcastle, the ones we used in New York and New Orleans as well). We did the blue and red routes, sunset route (night tour) and the guide was very well received. As well as English the narrative is also available in other languages including Arabic. If we ever make it back then I would like to do a day trip to Abu-Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates, and apparently well worth a visit.

My wife didn’t fancy the caravan tour on camel of the desert and then an overnight stay with bedouins at an oasis. There are a lot of mosques as you would expect and the structures are absolutely amazing, much more feeling of a deity’s home than some churches I’ve visited. I got the impression that, although it is a strict Muslim country, there are a lot of foreign workers there and, while drinking is not allowed in open areas, only if you are drunk in public areas will you feel the wrath of the local police. If you drink in moderation then this will not be a problem. I can see why people from all over the planet move to the Emirates to work, with so many ending up in Dubai.

If I manage to find my pictures then I will include these in the next post about my week in Dubai. Till then I hope you enjoyed this post and the music that accompanied it.

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