5 February 2017

UAE: Dubai - Tallest, Biggest, Expensive, Outrageous

Location: Dubai - United Arab Emirates
' Dubai Holds the Guiness Book World Record 
... for the City In the World with the Most World Records '


        Lisboa to Dubai 

We enjoyed a wonderful experience with a lovely flight attendant on Air Emirates; Anamarija (2nd from left), originally from Croatia

Whenever she had any free time, Anamarija sat with us and give us tips on what to do in Dubai. She and several of the other flight crew compiled a list of about a dozen must-do things for us. Near the end of the flight she asked if we would come with her to the rear cabin for a photo. Helen even got to wear part of the Air Emirates uniform, a traditionally styled Emerati veiled hat. With staff like Anamarija it is no wonder Emirates is one of the top airlines in the world.

These pretty ladies are our first Journeymaker Group.  

Thank You Anamarija and Friends ...
' Journeymakers  are the people who elevate your travel experience with the passion and enthusiasm for the place they call home and for the interest and kindness they give you, the traveller. '


We're really quite excited about being in Dubai for a few days. This is a small, Muslim country and we have prepared ourselves to experience some significant  culture shock.  


Only about eight percent of Dubai's population of around 2.5 million are Emirati - the other 92 percent are expat and migrant workers. Men outnumber women by around 300 percent.

The building of Dubai is being driven by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. His vision is to build an international metropolis as a center for finances, businesses and a world must go-to destination for tourists.

This is a city of extremes and superlatives ... the tallest, biggest, most expensive, most outrageous, it's  "much, much more than Vegas on steroids", it's a sea of architectural and engineering marvels, it's Eye Candy!

Man made islands are being built in the Persian Gulf northeast of UAE and the country's' coastline is being extended to allow for even more development. 98% of the cities' drinking water is sourced from massive desalination plants. This plant above, produces 8000 megawatts of power and 550 million gallons of water each day.  

Solar too, as you'd expect. We passed a number of large arrays and solar farms; in addition to this creative beach installation for a WiFii hot spot. 

That same spirit is apparent in the design of some communication masts (disguised as a palm tree)

Over the course of 3 days, we've taken a bus to several different parts of the city and I'm positive we've seen more than 1000 high-boom cranes working at construction sites. 

Much of the construction expansion, is in anticipation of the 2020 World Expo that will be held here; the first in the Middle-East. The country will welcome up to 25 million visitors, 70 percent of which are expected to come from overseas.

Over 4 billion AED in new mall construction projects for 2017. Dubai’s construction industry currently has over 3,700 projects ongoing across the Emirates worth an estimated $400 billion.

 This cities' skyscape changes dramatically and annually. Anyone who has visited here before, wouldn't recognize it after being away for just 5 years.

This is a place of contradictions and juxtapositions, a playground for the extremely wealthy and their opulent lifestyles; and it's all being supported by a large, lower class of workers. 

There's a LOT of money here ... but, it's being shared around!   
' The United Arab Emerites has contributed more than one per cent of its Gross National Income annually to foreign aid for the last three years, putting the country among the top donors globally. Over the last five years, the UAE has provided more than US$750 million (Dhs2.75 billion) to support Syrian refugees, mainly in neighbouring countries facing considerable pressure. '

Come for a visit and observe. Then form your own conclusions about ...
This City the Sheikhs are Having Built.


The World's Tallest Artificial Structure is the 829.8 m (2,722 ft) tall Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The building gained the official title of "Tallest Building in the World" and the tallest self supported structure at its opening on January 9, 2010.

Tallest Hotel in the World - The JW Marriott Marquis Dubai Hotel is the world's tallest hotel, a 76-storey, 355 m (1,165 ft) twin-tower skyscraper. The AED 1.8 billion (or 6.4 billion Canadian) complex features a 1,608-room hotel run by Marriott International. The hotel has 1364 standard guest rooms, 240 suites, 4 "presidential suites", a banquet hall, an auditorium, 18 Shops, 19 restaurants and a spa.

Worlds Largest MallDubai is in the process of building the world’s largest mall, they envision a a fully air conditioned city, comprising more than 4,500,000 square metres, 48 million square feet. The original plan includes eight million square feet of shopping areas, the largest indoor game park in the world with a dome that can be opened during the winter time, and areas for theaters, cultural events, medical tourism, and about 20,000 hotel rooms. The mall is expected to be able to receive 180 million visitors annually. Dubai expects to have it completed and open for the 2020 World Expo that will be held in the city.

The World Record of ‘Longest Graffiti Wall’ at 2.2454 km, has been achieved by The Office of H. H. The Crown Prince of Dubai from Dubai, UAE. (Probably why there's no graffiti anywhere else.)

First Ski Resort in Middle East – Located in the Mall of the Emirates – it has 22,500 square meters covered with real snow all year round, there are five different runs and a 3,000 square meter Snow Park featuring a snow cavern.

Middle East’s First Ice Lounge - Almost everything at the restaurant is sculpted out of ice. Diners will sit on ice benches or chairs, eat at ice tables, out of ice plates, drink from ice glasses served from a bar made of ice. Year round temperature of -6 c is maintained, visitors are given parkas.

8th Wonder of the World - Palm Island Dubai (Jumeirah Palm Island) is one of the most ambitious real-estate developments on earth, heralded as the 8th Wonder of the World as it can be seen from space along with another major landmark, The Great Wall of China. 

This is the main road in and out.

Worlds Three Largest Artificial Islands. The United Arab Emirates knows that the oil isn't going to last forever. Its prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed, is also the Emir of Dubai, and he has spent the last two decades working to turn his city into a world-class tourist mecca that can survive without petrodollars. But many of his challenges have been geographic: there's only many miles of beach on the Persian Gulf. It's not easy to add hundreds of miles of coastline to a crowded city, but that's exactly what Dubai is trying to do—by building the world's three largest artificial islands; Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali, and Palm Deira.

Burj Al Arab, Considered the Number 1 7-Star Hotel in the World. Built in 1999 at a cost of 650 million dollars. This luxury hotel stands on a man made island around 280 meters away from Jumeirah Beach. It is the fourth tallest hotel in the world at 321 meters high and it is connected to the main island by a private curving bridge. The exterior was designed to look like the mast of a dhow, which is a type of Arabian ship. It has 28 double-storey floors that can accommodate 202 suites. The most expensive room is the Royal Suite, which can cost nearly $24,000 per night. Can you see the helicopter pad, look below - (centre, near top)?

Each building in Dubai will get a full wash about 5 times a year.

As an example, it will take a team of 36 window cleaners three months to wash the Worlds Tallest Building, the 2717 foot Burj Khalifa.

' As the washers don their red coveralls, prepare their gear, and check their harnesses, support workers fill dozens of plastic containers with water and detergent. On the ropes, each climber will have about 20 litres of soapy water with them, plus their bucket, sponge and squeegee.

A site manager checks knots and each harness to ensure everything is in order, offering adjustment tips when needed.

The washers then shuffle confidently along the narrow parapet of the roof, as if a misstep will be a slight inconvenience and not the 283-metre drop that awaits, were it not for two robust ropes.

When given the signal, they start their slow descent, washing off a few weeks of dust and dirt, one window at a time – first applying soap, then using a squeegee to wipe it down. 

The desert heat will dry the window almost instantly. Once their bucket is empty, they will refill with one of the four refill bottles they carry with them, slowly lightening the load.

Others clean the buildings facade.


Often, if your time is limited, particularly in a major foreign city, the best way to orient yourself and absorb the atmosphere quickly is to take a city bus tour ... and so we did, a couple of times.

Dubai is surrounded by sand and when it gets windy, the horizon in the distance gives the appearance of being smogged-in, humid or rainy. It's actually, air born sand and after a days walking your body feels quite grimy.

During our second day here, the region experienced record wind and cold temperatures ... then it rained! 

Toppled this crane over, three cars burnt, one person sent to hospital.

Malls - canals - drummers & dancers - birds - food - street & market & dock scenes - fountains ...


When you are able to capture any of the buildings in good light, it becomes obvious that Dubai's most spectacular feature is its ... 

       Overwhelming Architectural Gallery


You can only purchase alcoholic beverages 'legally', in restaurants that are attached to hotels.  

The wording used in signage advertising that wine is available is handled discreetly. A liquor license is required to purchase alcohol for personal consumption in Dubai; and is only available at a special government controlled store. We learned later, (from an Irishman working here), that you can get anything you want very easily, including alcohol, if you just know who to ask.

Some typical prices that might affect a traveller.
Apartment: 1 year rent, includes housekeeping and 1 meal a day - $50000 CDN
Laundry: wash & dry 1 load; (in Canada $4 to$6) - $19 CDN 
Lunch: fish tacos (2), chicken fajitas; (in Canada $30 to $40) - $110 CDN
Wine: (1) bottle of Argentinian Chardonnay; (in Canada $12) - $80 CDN 


The city is extremely clean - this fellows job was to dust, wash and polish lamp standards at a hotel.

There are no rusty vehicles here; even old ones, even old trucks - salty air doesn't cause rust!

There are very few dogs in Dubai (we saw one) and therefore no 'shoe-poo' - dogs are considered unclean.

You can hire a remote vehicle wash service to detail your car at a mall parking lot.

Prostitution is legal - apparently about $400 dirham /session if anyone is interested.

Screens on windows aren't needed - no biting insects here.

There is no litter - literally no litter, people actually use garbage cans here.

There is no graffiti, except on that Guiness World Record wall - major consequences otherwise. 

An alarm clock is not needed - 5:30am morning prayer is announced through a LOUD city-wide PA system  

Next stop ... Changhi, Singapore. See you there.

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Wry & Crusty ... What An Astonishing City!


  1. Wow. Thanks Dann and Helen. You did such a bang up job, I can now cross Dubai off my bucket list. Feels like I have already been there. Bob P.

    1. HI Bob - thanks for the kind comment, glad you enjoyed. Quiet the place.

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