[personal profile] akarasuma

Last September, my then boyfriend and I went to the UAE for ten days. We were visiting some friends of his in Abu Dhabi, so we didn't do as much sightseeing as I would have wanted, but I got to see and experience things I never thought I would.

Here are some of them:

The Burj Al Arab in Dubai, probably the most famous building of the UAE. You have to pay to go in, so we didn't. We were told the decoration inside is a big disappointment compared to the awesome architecture of it.

You wouldn't believe how hot it was. That particular day the temperature was 113°F/45°C. This little "market" (actually a shopping mall inside the hotel right in front of the Burj Al Arab) was actually indoors, air conditioned. We just ran out to take pictures and ran right back in.

That's probably why the sight of this:

is so amazing. That, and the fact that it's in the mall (the Mall of the Emirates, largest in the Middle East).

We went a desert safari, riding the sand dunes on a 4x4. It's an unbelievable experience, I loved it.

After the safari they take you to a "camp site", where you eat a traditional dinner, and there's usually a belly dancer (even though belly dancers are not from anywhere near the UAE). We were there for Ramadan, so no belly dancer for us. I read there are tour companies that offer falconery exhibitions instead.

A wind tower at the Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum House Museum... That's how Emiratis used to keep their houses cool.

And now, what was probably the most amazing part of the trip: the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Grand Mosque, in Abu Dhabi:

One of the largest in the world. Honestly, it's hard to imagine such luxury without seeing it for yourself. It's a magnificent building, and a very special place for the Emiratis, since Sheikh Zayed, who unified the Emirates, chose to be buried in it. You can't take pictures of the place where he was buried (a separate building near the Mosque).

As massive and exquisite as the building itself is, I think my favorite part was the guided tour, where we were told about some of the principles and beliefs of Islam and some Emirati customs. It was truly fascinating, and it's so sad that even the word Muslim has such a negative connotation in the Western world... It's hard to believe some people could twist principles based on love and respect into... murder, and the sacrifice of innocent people, and-- oh well. I don't mean to get all deep. I just found it so interesting.

If you'd like to see some more pictures, including some of the Emirates Palace (the only seven-star hotel in the world) and the Burj Dubai (the tallest building in the world), here's a link to the full set on flickr.  All I ask is you leave a message here so I can keep track of who's looking :)

Date: 2009-01-10 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hiddenstarlight.livejournal.com
Wow, the pictures are absolutely gorgeous. The Grand Mosque is breathtaking. I can't even imagine being there and surrounded by it. You have been to some amazing places...I'm so jealous!

And I agree with how the word Muslim has such a negative connotation.

Date: 2009-01-10 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasumaa.livejournal.com
Thank you! I've been pretty lucky, I have to say :)

Date: 2009-01-10 07:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aske.livejournal.com
Great set of pics!

Did you get a look at that new building going up in Dubai? I think it's called the Burj Dubai...?

Date: 2009-01-10 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasumaa.livejournal.com
I did! It's still under construction, so you can't really go in and see it, but I got to take some pictures of it from the car: here's one (http://www.flickr.com/gp/88668336@N00/wi297N) and two (http://www.flickr.com/photos/atnavarrete/2888454125/in/set-72157607500126352/).

It's very pretty... They say on clear days (when the sky isn't all sandy) it looks amazing. It's still pretty spectacular to look at on a regular day, though :O

Date: 2009-01-11 02:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aske.livejournal.com
Heh, I've heard that the crane operator at the top doesn't bother to come down, like, ever. :P

Date: 2009-01-11 08:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karasumaa.livejournal.com
I wouldn't be surprised... It's not like construction work ever stops over there anyway :O

Date: 2009-02-06 09:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] promo3.livejournal.com
Unbelievable pictures! I'm going to Dubai next month for Spring Break for like a good 10 days. Mainly going to see friends I met on a trip to Amman, Jordan for a Model United Nations trip last year, but since they'll be at school for most of my visit there, I'll be doing some sight-seeing for sure. I wanna see the Emirates Palace and the Burj Dubai more than anything there.

Date: 2009-02-07 02:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adeline-q.livejournal.com
I live in Dubai and i hardly ever been anywhere you did. I've been to Ski, desert, and burj al arab only

Date: 2009-06-22 08:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rkledgerwood.livejournal.com
Hi, my name is Ron. LOVE your photos and your traveling. Therefore, I have added you . . . .



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