After two week-long adventures over the countries of Europe,and upon returning back to Russia, it was decided to go elsewhere, and preferably somewhere warm.
Being accompanied by Marat and Vadim, a decision was made to fly to The United Arab Emirates and its biggest city of Dubai.
The only things I knew about the UAE is that it claimed to havethe world’s tallest building, Mission Impossible 4 was filmed there, and it was home to countless amounts of skyscrapers.
The destination was set, tickets were purchased, bags werepacked – we were ready for take- off.
1. Our first rooftop with a view of the world’s tallest building, “Burj Khalifa”.
2. Myself with a residential complex, Etihad, in the background. Photo by
3. A European guy with two Philippine Girls relaxing on the roof of one of the hotels.
Turns out, getting on the rooftops in Dubai is fairly easy. Just walk through the reception desk at the entrance, and at the top you will most likely find an open door to the roof. There are a lot of rooftops with pools, observation decks for the hotel guests,and helipads. It doesn’t make sense to lock up the roofs there,because no one is going to get the idea to jump, hang an opposition banner, or sit out with a sniper rifle. The quality of life in Dubai is very high, and due to that, people live calmly and without paranoia.
There is a little problem with getting on the rooftops of the Hotels mainly because the elevators run on digital key cards; you can push the button leading to the top floor but the elevatorwont go anyway without them. In this situation, you either have to wait for the residents and ride with them, or stand in an empty elevator waiting for somebody to call it to the level above.
Also, reception, and security personnel in hotels and residentialcomplexes is not made of douche bags unlike in R.F., but of polite and respectful people. For example, we walked into one ofthe Hotels, and into a key card-type elevator. The doors closed,and we stood thinking to ourselves, “what are we going to do now”. 30 seconds passed, and the elevator was called by the receptionist, and without saying a word she smiled, and showed us the exit, followed with a bow.
There was another time when we got caught at the entrance to the rooftop. It was at the world’s tallest residential complex – Princess Tower (yes, in Dubai they love everything tallest and biggest). “My apologies, but you will have to follow me down” – said the security guard. Later they were questioning us on who we were and what the purpose was of our attempt to make it on the roof. They also asked if we are from the Russian Mafia, and let us go.
4. Even a regular highway intersections in the UAE look incredible.
Dubai has very few residents in the UAE. The immigrant population there is more than half from what I’ve heard. Visitors mostly come to Dubai from third-world countries – India, Pakistan, Philippines. Yet, there is no nationalism; nobody is yelling “Dubai for Sheikhs!”
The diverse local population can be seen on the subway system, which, speaking of, is very modern. Loading and unloading of the trains during rush hour – is something else. All of the visiting Indians, who are used to such a lack of space in their overpopulated country, don’t follow any rules of right of way for train unloading. As soon as the doors open, they rush into the train pushing back those who are trying to exit.
In addition to the immigrants, there are also tourists. Themajority are Russians come to shop at the Dubai Mall (the biggest mall on the planet) and see the Burj Khalifa.
It would seem tourists are all-around tourists, but no, Russian tourists are special!
Very quickly we were able to recognize them by their faces;tense, sometimes full of thoughts, and always squinting. But what makes them the most distinguishable, is that in Dubai they feel themselves at home. For example, only a Russian Tourist can demand in their own language in UAE: “Two tickets to the Dubai Mall and back!” or “I said two fries! Are you stupid?! I said TWO!”
That is all very disappointing, although maybe the situation with tourists from other countries is the same way.
6. The city’s main highway is the E 11 also known as “SheikhZayed Road”. To the left of it lies Dubai’s over-the-ground subway lane built in 2009.
As far as the transportation system goes, I want to say that it’scheaper to travel by Taxi than the Subway if you have a group of three to four people.
7. Night view on Burj Khalifa.
In Dubai it is very difficult to travel by foot. Everything is closed off due to the large amount of construction, very few crosswalks, and really wide highways, which are impossible to make across. The most optimal means of transportation is the Taxi, and the Subway System as a last resort.
The city of Dubai was built in the bare desert, so all the green trees in Dubai are artificially planted.
It is not allowed to hold hands or kiss in public (even for the tourists), but no one will ever make a female wear hijab, unless she chooses to wear it herself. Marat said that in UAE women are untouchable; no one will try talking to them or touchingthem. We didn’t get to make any attempts to, so all of our adventures were in an all-male company.
Overall, I have a lot of good impressions from the city; many things seemed unusual and interesting regarding the ways of their life.
8. On the second day we went to the financial district, which is fairly small, but has a lot of buildings 300 meters (~980 feet) and taller.
9. Without any problems we even got to go up on a few of them. For example, a five star hotel, but sadly, I don’t remember its name.
13. The building with the white spire is UAE’s first skyscraper. On the horizon you can see Sharjah, a neighboring emirate 20 kilometers away from Dubai.
14. UAE is mostly desert, so if you turn your head 180 degrees away from the skyscrapers, the landscape will look like this.
15. A view from a nearby building. Here we met some very friendly Indian people, with their silence they allowed us to go all the way up-top.
18. “Address Hotel” rooftop. From here opens up probably the best view on Burj Khalifa and the fountain show.
19. First fountain show begins in the evening, around 6pm, and lasts 3-5 minutes. It repeats every 30 minutes. To be honest from the bottom it didn’t impress me at all, but from the top it looks incredible!
20. I’d like you to meet this “cosmic thing”, by the name Dubai Mall, which happens to be World’s Biggest Mall. Many Russian tourists come to Emirates just to shop here. Sometimes it would take Vadim, Marat, and I more than an hour just to walk through the mall to exit to the Burj Khalifa.
21. Residential district Etihad, night version.
22. Financial District.
24. Closer to the last days, we went to possibly one of the most interesting places in UAE. Residential District Dubai Marina. I have not seen so many awesome and beautiful skyscrapers within a single square kilometer anywhere else.
26. Dancing Skyscraper. By the way, Moscow International Business Center is building the same project, except 100 meters shorter. The tower is called Evolution.
27. Dubai Marina Channel
29. The Palm Jumeirah Island.
30. In the background on of the world’s most expensive hotels – Atlantis.
31. Another hotel from the list of the most expensive stays, BurjAl Arab Hotel. I heard all of the suites are two floors, and have their own personal concierge.
32. Skydiver’s Drop Zone.
33. Also, about the sunsets and the golden hour. In Dubai it gets darker a lot earlier than in Moscow, and the golden hour is much shorter, in about 20 minutes everything goes dark.
38. Financial Center on the horizon.
39. We left Burj Khalifa on the last day. We had hoped to attempt to climb on to the spire from the inside, but had no clue how to get to the fire escape ladders. There was a slim chance that we would be let inside of the building; the guys were wearing shorts, and I had no suit. We decided to try to go from the observation deck.
41. We got to the observation deck well before sunrise, not for the purpose of photography, but because the tickets cost 4 times less during the morning times.
44. As you probably guessed, we didn’t make it to the top of the spire. The local security systems were too well thought out. Or it could be that we simply didn’t get lucky.
47.And this is the end of Dubai.