Sunday, November 02, 2008

Arabian Nights

You might be wondering where I have been so long. I have just returned from a holiday to Dubai and Sharjah. The trip was not exactly a long vacation but it was a vacation well-spent! I lived like a tourist for a change. I also have captured bits and pieces of it through the pictures I clicked. Here's a glimpse of my photolog.


Day 1: Almost There

Dubai truly represented the city of blinding lights, looking pretty in colours of gold and tungsten.

Day 2: Burj Dubai
This building is so tall that I couldn't fit it in my camera frame. I was around half a kilometer away. And guess what, it is still under construction. No wonder, it's the tallest man-made structure in the world.

Day 2: Burj Al Arab from Jumeriah Beach

Jumeirah Beach is one of the oldest and the most beautiful beaches in Dubai. It overlooks three hotels, Burj Al Arab (by far the most elegant), the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and the Atlantis. Needless to say, all are 5+ star hotels and some of the best in the world. For me they are just plain architectural marvels.

Day 2: Ski Dubai

Skiing in the desert? Anything is possible in Dubai with all the kind of money petrol gets them. But you know what? This is inside the Mall of the Emirates. It is a huge paradise for shoppers who like big brands. You name the brand, its there. It is great for bird watching (loads of phirangs wearing the shortest of dresses) and window shopping (great displays, India needs to learn a lot on that front).

Day 3: Diwali

I celebrated Diwali with my parents after 6 years. It felt great. You don't realise what you are missing when you are away. I spent the entire day at home.

Day 4: Desert Safari - Dune Bashing

It is a closest you can get to a roller-coaster ride while you are in a car (ok, that is undermining the beauty of those four-wheel drives). I couldn't get a picture of it while we were actually dune bashing because it gets extremely shaky, but take my word for it, it is loads of fun. Just don't go dune bashing with a loaded tummy.

Day 4: Desert Safari: Kandhoora

If you are wondering what a kandhoora is, it is a traditional Arabic gown worn by men. It is meant to protect you from the harsh climatic conditions of the desert. But somehow, looking at my picture with me in the kandhoora made me crack up!! It's so funny.

Day 4: Desert Safari - Camel Riding

I would still prefer riding a horse. One, the camel is huge and can bite really hard. Two, it has the most obnoxious style of raising itself from the ground, which sure does catch you by surprise. It is a three step process. It raises its front legs partly, so you fall back on your seats. Then it raises its hind legs fully, so you fall forward. At the end it straightens its front legs to finally stand on all fours. But then, its gait isn't very comforting either. I now know why it is the 'ship' of the desert.

Day 4: Desert Safari - Belly Dancing
It is a very sensuous yet graceful dance form that requires extremely flexibly abdomen muscles. I will upload a video shortly so that you know how difficult it actually is to match up with the beats. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole 20 minute performance.

Day 5: Shopping!!
No pictures on this day. You can't think of anything else when you go shopping in Dubai. They make you want to spend (sometimes waste) your money with the offers they have.

Day 6: Mamzaar Park

The pristine waters of Mamzaar Beach

The lagoon facing Sharjah

My MOST favourite beach in the World

Mamzaar park has everything - sprawling gardens, barbecue zones, four beaches, lagoons, water sports, amphitheatre, skate boarding slopes, swimming pools, cottages, lagoons and more. I have been going there since my childhood days. When I went there this time, I still had the same amount of fun as I have always had. I just love lazing around in the beach waters. 

The only blemish this time was, in my over-enthusiasm, I overlooked a wave that was approaching me while I was clicking a close surface shot while in the waters. It splashed all over my camera and caused the cam to conk off. My best gadget is in a state of coma! I want it back up and running, and soon. Pray.

Day 7: The Sharjah Aquarium
(Everything clicked hence forth is with the limited range of my cellphone camera, I hate it)

The View of the World Above

Sting Ray

Lion Fish

A Giant Lobster in Hiding

According to me, the Sharjah Aquarium is a new addition to the list of must-sees! Being the nature freak that I am, I just loved the place. The aquarium takes you on a journey right from the Arabian Gulf to the Indian Ocean. You get a view of ocean life, from the surface, below the surface and at the level of the sea floor. It has a wide-array of creatures, from sharks to rays, to a  large variety of pretty and not so pretty fish, sea anemones and mollusks, to shells and corals. It is exciting to see the animals you see in documentaries live. They are beautiful. Wonder how do people eat them!


Now I know why they say, "It's good to be home again!" The recent trip I made to UAE was in the complete sense a trip down memory lane. From the time I got down at Dubai airport, my eyes kept spotting everything which had changed, but more so everything which hadn't. You think you have forgotten but just one glance is enough to remind you of all that you associate with the place. Nostalgia sure is a good feeling. Coming back with more memories even better. 


Labyrinthine said...

wow!great pics..iam definitely goin back 2 shj yeah nostalgia sure is an amazin feeling.

Anastácio Soberbo said...

Hello, I like the blog.
It is beautiful.
Sorry not write more, but my English is bad writing.
A hug from Portugal

Pallavi said...!!! u lucky dog!!!! I"m so jealous!!!! :(

Vishy said...

Great photos! Those are definitely on my list of places to visit... Happy Diwali by the way :)

The Illuminator said...

Yes, lonely ranger!

Thanks for the compliment. Keep visiting. A namaste from India!

Even dogs don't gt that lucky. Hehe.

Happy Diwali to u too. So when are you planning to go? ;)

Vishy said...

hahaha.. Not in a long time :) But yeah, someday...

Prarthana Ravishankar said...

I am from Dubai too...
Technically very much desi, butI have lived there for 6 years...
Seeing all those pics got me all nostalgic but you'd probably kick me if I complain!! I get to visit Dubai once in 6 months minimum! =P

The Illuminator said...

Ah, I lived there longer so your trips will not be enough to make up. But those visa trips are anyways not true-blue holidays. It is good to go at longer intervals. The novelty factor plays!

Prarthana Ravishankar said...

Oh ho!
I stay there for like a month each time I go there.. And yeah... it is an awesome holiday each time, getting to hang out with friends practically everyday...
Not the 'visa trips' you'd call these... Right?

priya said...

Nice post and awesome photos !!
Tallest skyscraper in the world right ?! Whoa !!

The Illuminator said...

Good for you. My friends are all over the world now, so I CAN'T look forward to seeing them there.

Yup priya. The tallest so far. They are making another one a km tall! Only god knws why they waste so mch money on materialistic achievements.