Mall Hopping in Dubai: 1 – Mall of the Emirates

With Dubai holding planetary records for having the biggest, the pharaonic, the ultimate and all the superlative descriptions they could come up with about their shopping malls, I thought it would be wise to go on a mall hopping tour while here and see for myself the magnitude of these superstructures, take a lot of shots and start a series entitled Mall Hopping in Dubai.   

To start the ball rolling, I shall talk about Mall of the Emirates (MoE).
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This is the glass and metal dome of the MoE which reminds me of the glorious domes of Europe.  Not that those in Dubai could equal the real thing…

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The spherical glass ceiling which houses the 3-level Fashion Dome

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The world’s third largest indoor ski slope is in the MoE – the Ski Dubai

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The courtyard of the Fashion Dome with the marble stone fountain as its centerpiece.

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One of the four mythical horses supporting the stone bowl of the fountain.   Each horse weighs 3-tonne each made up of marble stone from Sienna, Italy

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The courtyard of the Fashion Dome is bordered by international restaurants, among them is the Tribes (in photo) which specializes in African cuisine as complemented by the costume of the staff

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I never imagined that I could find Fauchon in Dubai!

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The famous French perfumery, Sephora, is in the MoE

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Aahhhh….Galliano.  A fashion giant in the making.  John Galliano is the fashion designer for Dior: quite a mystical personality but a formidable character in the European Fashion scene. 

Driving Out of Town

More photos at UAE 2011

Last Friday, we went on a sightseeing trip out of Dubai, around four Emirates i.e.,  Sharjah, Fujairah, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah. It was a discovery trip of a different continent, at least, with my husband in tow. I have worked in the Middle East for several years (Bahrain and Dubai) but this is the first time I am seeing it in the eyes of a traveller (take note, not as a tourist).

 The UAE is not all desert. There is an amazing  diversity of scenery like mountains, rocky hills, the sea, vegetation and animals such as camels and goats.  Widely noticeable though are the skycrapers seemingly just mushroomed out of the desert sand, with styles of architecture that could easily rival that of Manhattan’s.  But sadly caught among the pre-recession boom are the hundreds of constructions sites that have stopped work midway, leaving them just empty shells of colossal magnitude and with that, our mental calculator gets busy with figures that could easily come up with billions of dirhams of investments gone bad.

But our excitement level goes back up again everytime we see friends and families of different faiths, different cultures doing the same thing – that of having fun time together in the park, playing with their children, enjoying a picnic, chatting, wading on the water….

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The five Emirates we drove around to are marked with the red star. The encircled one is Khor Fakkan where we stopped over for lunch.
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A happy couple

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The camel is a beautiful creature

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It’s a Friday afternoon, a holiday in the Muslim world, so desert camping is a favorite weekend activity.  We saw several of these sights just outside Dubai, in Sharjah.

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This is the cargo terminal in Khor Fakkan.  You can see the shipping containers getting loaded and unloaded.

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A water sports competition is going on…

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 Stopping by in Fujairah to buy some fruits imported from India, Iran and Saudi Arabia

More photos at UAE 2011

A Walk Along the Wharf

We tried the abra the other day to get to the other side of Dubai which is Deira. I wanted to show H the Cargo Wharf which, I think, is the most interesting part of Dubai and he, having worked in ships and submarines in his younger years would definitely be intrigued by the sight of traditional dhows laden with cargo and the men doing the loading, unloading as well as the dealing.

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These are the cargo dhows moored at the Wharf

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A heavily-packed cargo dhow slowly approaching the Wharf

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This is the Cargo Wharf where antiquated wooden dhows load and unload cargo from Dubai to India, Iran, Pakistan, Somalia and further afield

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I must say Dubai is the Venice of the Middle East…..

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A makeshift helm of the cargo dhow

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Some helms are quite stylish

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He must be the cargo controller –

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….writing the reference number of each cargo before loading it into the ship

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Dubai maybe a modern city but thank heavens, the cargo wharf in its traditional sense is still intact……for now

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The cargo could be anything….from construction materials

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… to tea sets

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….. to (airplane) tires

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… to hospital beds

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…even 4-wheel drives

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…. not to forget the refrigerators

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…and the omnipresent “Made in China” goods.

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These men from Somalia making final checks of their cargo

Karama Market

The Karama market I knew of 13 years ago comprise of low white buildings where locals in their red and white checkered turbanstend their fresh produce and newly-caught fish behind white-tiled stalls and the weighing scale they used then was the balance scale where iron weights of 1 kg, half kg, quarter kg were used to level  the weight of the fish or meat on the other end of the scale.  Life then was a bit more charming, no touts, and the Arab vendors were more generous.

But going to Karama market the other day was a shock.  You don’t see Arabs behind the stalls anymore and each fish stalls are enclosed, air conditioned, manned by Indians only and touts threaten you as soon as you step into the entrance.

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The vegetable stalls are also enclosed and looking more like grocery stores

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This store specializes in Filipino products, as you can see by the food flavoring sachets hanging on the ceiling

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These are the touts competing for your business.  “Just don’t mind them!”, my sister says, but I find them too agressive. 

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A fish stall where the seafoods don’t look fresh because of the meager amount of ice used to protect them from the ambient heat.

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Outside the market are shops selling everything from clothing to souvenirs…This is where we found the tallest miniature replica of the Burj Khalifa

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A low cost social housing

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This rooftop sea of satellite dish is very common among Dubai buildings

Jumeirah Beach

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Floral borders actually grow in Dubai’s desert sand

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I like this lattice work on the mosque’s dome.  

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This boutique cafe is where we had a cup of American coffee for 12dhs each.  The Filipino staff are very friendly though.

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Jumeirah Beach is long and sandy, and the turqoise water is so clean

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On walking through it, I saw the signs of “Photograpy Prohibited”.  The swimmers, mostly Westerners, walk to and fro in their skimpy swimsuits as if they are anywhere except the Middle East.

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From the corniche, we can see the line of skycrapers, with the tallest building on the right.

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View from my sister’s office