Dubious About Dubai Part Two #travel #dubai

Back in 2017 I travelled to Dubai for a short break while my son worked there. These few posts recall my impression and how Dubai took me


When I think about the Middle Eastern states I’m thinking Sun, I’m thinking Blue Skies, I’m thinking Sunnies and Shorts – no, maybe not shorts – but I’m not thinking…


Mist and Mizzle.


Sand storms and swaying trees.

But, hey, I said I was going to be open-minded, see behind the excesses. The largest this and the costliest that and the grossest the other. I just didn’t think I do so from inside a parka.

‘What shall we do dad?’

The Museum of Dubai maybe? The Old Port?

‘What about 9 holes of golf and you can see the Marina.’


Marina. The mermaid in Stingray.


Ah innocent days when having strings attached was a good thing.

We did golf, grinding out a score and the sand from our eyes.


We looked at the golf club, built like a three masted dhow


I quite liked it in a Sydney Opera House meets a Jamboree kind of way – took in the yachts and floating gin palaces, mused on whether the silvery looking coral was real or fake and had lunch.


It’s expensive here, more than I imagined but if you shave gold on your cappuccino rather than chocolate I guess that’s inevitable.

‘What next?’

‘Something erm middle eastern?’


We went camel racing. Not us. Not any humans in fact.


Seems they used to use children who got horribly injured so now it’s cambots on their backs. Camels are wonderful animals, the epitome of the nobbly  bit. Their knees are like root vegetables and with lips like those 50 Shades truly would have gotten darker.


I digress. The camel race, a few miles out of town was sparsely attended and oddly amateurish.


Maybe it was the lack of (obvious) betting, maybe the weather which felt more like Easter in Morecombe. Anyway we watch the start, with a dozen camels followed by a phalanx of SUVs, from which a hubbub emerged – very much a Muezzin with a migraine – to urge the beasts on.


They lollop 8 km, disappearing into the mist and reappearing 10 minutes later amongst the cars which now resemble the vanguard of revolutionaries just told their dictator has left the building; the only difference being the lack of Kalashnikovs peppering the firmament.

We chose to cheer the one in Crystal Palace colours (I suppose they may have been Barcelona too) who came second. And that seemed to be that.


We needed a beverage and I’d had my bit of local so I was expected to endure enjoy the Dubai Mall, self declared biggest in the world.


Like I cared.

Some of the decor was neat.


As was the aquarium in the middle…


There was this cheesecake emporium with over 30 different cheesecakes.


At least I grabbed a coffee while others imbibed something more methylated.

‘Can I have a shower now?’


Apparently I could but for my good behaviour we were taken to the Dubai Glow Garden and Dino Park.  I thought ‘great, legoland’ but you know my snob gene sometimes has to give best to a smile spectacle. If you ignore the ridiculous excess of energy use that is.


There was something beguilingly innocent about it and if the animatronic dinosaurs wouldn’t scare a neurotic pumpkin I would be the first to admit I’m hardly the demographic they are aimed at.


Unlike the Burg Khalifa, the tallest yadayadayada… and its light show.


That was stunning but rather soulless. Somehow the reflective lights of the Glow Garden were that bit more human. But the fountain displays, coordinated with local music, like aquatic belly dancing had me smiling.

This was a long day, starting at it did with a 7.30 wake up call (my body was screaming ‘go away it’s only 3.30) and my feelings so far? Sensory overload, a tinge of sadness that something traditional like camel racing doesn’t generate a following unlike the Mall and a small hope that if Dubai do things on a slightly smaller scale they may get them right.


And I did enjoy the key lime cheesecake

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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39 Responses to Dubious About Dubai Part Two #travel #dubai

  1. Darlene says:

    I loved Dubai, but that was in 2000 and the little boys still rode the camels in the race. They were sweet and loved having their pictures taken. I had lunch at the very same golf club and shopped in the Dubai mall. Also took a trip around Dubai Creek on an Abra. The young man operating the boat shared his orange with us, carefully dividing it in three. We felt bad taking it as it was probably all he had for lunch but he was so proud to share it, we couldn´t refuse. We found the people there so kind and friendly.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Yes, everyone was nice to me. Not necessarily to the foreign workers building it… and i feel guilty around gratuitous excess – my problem – which does take away from the enjoyment. That and a congenital lack of irony. Anywhere that doesn’t realise it’s a caricature of itself feels hollow. Brits and Canadians understand that. We prick pomposity. In Dubai, they hand it a pump to inflate itself a little more


  2. M. L. Kappa says:

    Yes, it’s finished now. They didn’t know when to stop. Back around 2000, there was still empty desert between the airport and the town. Strings of camels with babies at foot, we even visited a camel farm full of the cutest babies. Lovely spice market, too. Those probably still exist, but they’re submerged beneath the plastic…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mmm, cheesecake. They can keep the rest, I think. Scratch that one off my list (it wasn’t really on my list).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Erika says:

    It must be very impressive. My daughter stopped in Dubai on her honeymoon and she loved it. It has never intrigued me, to be honest.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My nephew lives there. He doesn’t want to come back. So want to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Worth a visit but in the end grey skies, rhubarb and cricket obsessives make Yorkshire a far more appealing prospect – and that’s a dyed in the wool southerner speaking. Even Hull… no, maybe not Hull…


  6. V.M.Sang says:

    I suspect you either love it or hate it. It’s the Marmite of the yravel world. My daughter was working there (well, in Abu Dhabi, actually but living in Dubai). I took her 2 children, then aged 7 and 8, so that would be around 2012.
    I’m glad I’ve been, but would be in no rush to go again. I agree that the dancing fountains were fun. Sadly, though, it was Ramadan in August when I was there, so very HOT. There were no food places open during the day, except for a few that had curtained off a section for the infidels!
    I agree that the people are extremely pleasant. We hardly had to wait any time to cross a road before someone stopped to let us cross. We were met with nothing but politeness everywhere we went.
    Dubai Mall is impressive, but I preferred the Mall of the Emirates.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I watched an evening game of cricket on the rough field – a maiden if it was in India – opposite the apartment where i stayed. It was the foreign workers and they were having a ball. But the next day, in the heat I knew they’d be on some exposed building site. It was difficult not to compare their lives with those like me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Mary Smith says:

    I had a stopover there once, trying desperately to get my son to sleep so he’d be awake and cheerful for the flight. When I discovered there was no restaurant in the hotel the staff were wonderful and sent out for food for us – a banquet. A taxi – the size of a stretch limousine – was called to take us to the airport where exhausted son grizzled and moaned and eventually fell asleep on the luggage trolley. I haven’t been back.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Reminds me of Las Vegas without the gin.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. willowdot21 says:

    It’s not for me either 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  10. JT Twissel says:

    Does kind of seem like a bizarre dream! I’m more the village in the country sort though.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      I’m a city guy but I do like a mix


    • V.M.Sang says:

      I’m with you there. I enjoyed the city when I was young (Inwas a student in Manchester, England) and loved living in a big city, bit now I live only 20 or so miles south of London, I’ve not been in years, and have no desire to go. My small town near the coast is ideal.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Everyone to their own preferred pond. I grew up in the countryside, ending up in nowhere- it didn’t even have a middle back then because that would suggest a boundary with somewhere and I never found it in the New Forest. When i escaped to Bristol for uni at 18 I knew one thing. I wasn’t living without street lights thank you very much…


  11. So, not to be recommended, then

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Chel Owens says:

    Was it key lime and gold cheesecake?

    Liked by 1 person

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