One of the landmarks of Arab culture in Portugal is the “nora”, a very ingenious device to pull water from the wells, using an animal.
I thought that the device standing in the museum’s yard was something alike, but it doesn’t: it is hands driven, more primitive or maybe, more suitable to elevate water from deeper wells.
Near Jumeirah Mosque I was attracted by a beautiful building, reflecting the Islamic style.
I couldn’t decide if it was a school, or a mosque, or both, but, once again, I had the confirmation that we shall never rely exclusively in the promoted highlights, even if visiting time is short for the large top alternatives.
“Out of the beaten paths” it’s possible to see some contrasting sights of tradition and modernity, hi-tech and improvisation.
The hidden side of each city is quite often the most authentic, and rather important to those who like to have an independent idea of the visited places.
Not easy, but possible in Dubai.
Many people enjoy taking the wheel into their own hands & heading-off into the sands, underestimating the lethal potential of the desert, no matter how close or far you are from the city.
I've taken my Jeep off-road many times and here's a useful check-list:
1. MAIN RULE: Never drive into the desert with less than 3 cars!
2. The most experienced driver leads the way
3. Let someone know where you're going and when you expect to return
4. Examine the radiator for leaks
5. Turn off the air conditioning to avoid the car overheating & watch the temperature gauge
6. Check all the car's fluids: oil, coolant, brake fluid, gear oil etc.
7. Be certain your headlights, taillights & brake lights work
8. Bring a map. A good one is the "Offroad Explorer" hand book for UAE & Oman
9. Check your tires; don't deflate them too much! Otherwise you'll need a pump
10. Make sure at least 2 persons have tow-ropes & an especially designed balloon-air-jack for the sand (any normal jack will, of course, sink!)
11. Keep your distance! You cannot break abruptly in soft sand.
12. In case of having to pull a stuck car, stand well clear of the towing rope & close all windows. If the rope snaps, it could easily cut someone's head off!
13. Bring plenty of drinking water.
14. Pack a first-aid-kit... it can be a long drive to the nearest medical help
15. If you want a camp fire, bring wood... there's no wood in the desert!
16. Make sure you have at least 2 fully charged mobile phones in your group
17. TAKE YOUR RUBBISH HOME WITH YOU so you don't affect local wildlife & so the next person can enjoy the beauty of the desert!
If you want to take part in an organised desert trip by professional tour operators, click here for info: http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/tp/1300d9/
Marhaba is an assistance service available at Dubai International Airport. It is quite useful to use Marhaba service if you have family, relatives or friends who come to Dubai for the first time. The Marhaba crew will wait for them when they step off the plane at Dubai International Airport.
The service of Marhaba including escort from gate until outside including porter service. Or if you use Marhaba service on the departure, they provide escort service from check-in area to the boarding gate. Marhaba also provides services such as bouquet service, Limousine service and also wheelchair for people who need it.
To use Marhaba service, you need to contact them through Dnata Travel or Emirates Airlines Reservation, or appointed travel agencies. If you come to Dubai Airport, just go to Marhaba counter. You will be required to fill in the form, depending on what package service you need.
Services available are among others, Diamond Service, Family Package, Normal Service, Marhaba Lounge and Wheel Chair. The price range from 60 Dirhams to 185 Dirhams, depend on the package. You can also request for staff who speak certain language to asisst your beloved people.
Send your friends postcards and have an opportunity to win 500,000 Dirham.
Sounds like a dream, isn’t it??
Instead of sending the conventional postcard, people are encouraged to buy a pack of postcards and send it to friends or relatives. One pack contains of 4 postcards and sold at 30 Dirham. You don’t need to buy stamps, since each postcard is paid stamp, and you can even send them for people abroad. Just pay attention where you drop the postcard in the post box. There are two post boxes, for delivery in Dubai and abroad. The postcard packs is usually about Dubai heritage, culture or natural scenery.
Once you purchase the postcards, You will be given two number sections. The first section is an instant scratch & win section. The second section has a ticket number on top of the coupon.
The interesting part is, even you are not residing in Dubai, you can also take part. If you visit Dubai, you can buy the postcards and send them to your friends. After that, You just need to check your number in the website (hopefully you are the lucky one : ) )
971 600 5665 665 (Outside the UAE)
600 5665 665 (UAE)
In and around the United Arab Emirates, (UAE) there a numerous road trips and desert trails which take you to a mirage of different landscapes. People automatically presume that being in the desert, we only have sand dunes and dust surrounding us, but no so. There is an abundance of oasis's and large rock mountains (as shown in the pic).
This photo was taken when my family and I went on a road trip to a place called Hatta(That is not me in the photo).
The Hatta heritage village is constructed around an old settlement and is a recreation of a traditional mountain village set in an oasis. The village helps you discover the old world charm of barasti (palm leaves) and mud houses. There's a large central fort and tower which overlooks the village. Other added attractions are falaj, an oasis and vegetated seating areas where you can cool your heels.
Signs in Arabic and English will guide visitors to various sections of the site which includes an old mosque dating back 200 years and the Al Husen Majlis, where the governor of the village received guests and visitors.
It is also worth while popping into to the Hatta Fort Hotel, which is very down to earth and relaxed. (By down to earth I don’t mean dump!) It is a different feel from Dubai and you won’t feel like a fashion alien if you walk around the grounds in shorts and a t-shirts. Lunch by the pool is also lovely and if you have kids with you, make sure you pack their costumes for the trip, because there won’t be much of a chance to hold them back once they see the pool!!
This drive takes about 1hour 1/2, and has beautiful views all the way through if you go off road and do it in a 4x4 (a must) , otherwise you will be restricted to the vivid colours of tarmac!
The Abu Manara Mosque is a fine example of Islamic architecture. The Abu Manara Mosque project started in the second quarter of 2005 and was completed in the first quarter of 2006.This mosque was built for a member of the royal family.
You can watch my high resolution photo of Dubai on the Google Earth according to the following coordinates 25° 10' 1.48" N 55° 12' 40.13" E or on my Google Earth Panoramio Abu Manara Mosque.
In my humble opinion, it might be a bit longer, but recommend driving on the south-west side of the mountains. You could to the coastal route on the opposite direction and cut off some time.
Pass Al Ain, and enter south into Oman.
Go through Ibri, to Bahla. You can go up to Misfat Al Abriyyin among other places. Nice mountain stop!
Continue to Nizwa. There's some places to stop on the way. Last stop is Muscat.
On the return, if you take the coastal route, make an inland detour to see Nakhal and Ar Rustaq
Why don't you choose to sample some real "1001 Nights" (I am not talking about a touristy desert safari with Russian belly dancer) and jump off the beaten path, into a taxi & tell the driver "Dubai Creek, Al Seef Street, near British Consulate", you won't be disappointed.
Seef Steet really comes alive after dark. Stroll along, watch the boats & abras (water taxis), and the numerous families that enjoy the grass and play areas with their children. Watch traditional wooden Dhows (boats) and modern yachts cruise by on the creek, and the spectacular skyline on the opposite shore.
Walk down (with the creek on your right) towards the Ruler's Court & experience some of the inticing traditional eateries:
(Unlicenced - these restaurants do not serve alcohol)
At the Ruler's Court, close to Dubai Museum, is BASTAKIYAH NIGHTS. A lovely courtyard restaurant where you can sample Arabic cuisine, fresh fruit juices, hot Maroccon mint tea and of course Sheesha (water pipe). Tel: +971-4-3537772.
Or continue walking past HSBC Bank until you reach the Sheikh Saeed House. This is where you'll find the KAN ZAMAN Restaurant (see seperate restaurant tip) with plenty of indoor & outdoor seating area for more than 400 people. Tel: +971-4-3939913.
These are some of my favourite spots to sit for a relaxing evening with great Arabic food & aromatic Sheesha. You're in the middle of the city, yet you're not sat right on a main road inhaling car fumes & shouting across the table to your friends. These are the spots that radiate the "original Dubai-feeling" that is increasingly hard to find in our modern & changing city.
PS: If you do fancy a beer after dinner, you can even walk back up towards Bank Street, across the traffic lights & straight into Rock Bottom's.
More details in my Nightlife tips
It's actually not a museum...it's a warehouse...a huge hall with a labyrinth of anything/everything that you can imagine! If you need a souvenir, a gift, pashmina scarf, a bed cover, a cushion cover, an arabic lamp, a waterpipe, a rosewood chest...you can find absolutely EVERYTHING there!
It's very hard to find...most of us get lost and can't find it the first couple of times. So just call that number and they will explain to you how to find it.
Remember to go there with a lot of patience (you easily spend 2 hours there) and bargaining skills...
If you love reading and can't stand the expensive malls in Dubai, you should go to the "House of Prose". There are 2 shops in Dubai.
One is on Jumeirah Beach Road, in the Jumeirah Plaza (when you get in the main entrance, walk all the way to the back, and turn left...it's almost on the exit of the little mall)
The second one is at the Ibn Battuta Mall (A bit farther from the city, you should only go here if you are staying nearby). It's harder to find, as the entrance is actually outside of the mall. You have to go to the last parking (after Geant supermarket) and walk to the end of the building and it's just on the corner.
Although you’ll always see some skyscraper in the background, the Deira side of Dubai’s old town is surely the best to see a more traditional side of Dubai. Not only all the souks give you an idea of pre-boom Dubai. What I would like to recommend is a short walk along the Creek between the two Abra stations (Old Souk and Sabkha). Here, archaic, wooden cargo ships are being offloaded. The goods you see here are not those you’ll find in the shopping malls. Here, you see cheap far-eastern household products as feel as some food and spices for the nearby shops. Don’t expect it to be too traditional as most stuff comes in boxes. But it’s apart of the Creek you won’t find in many tourists guides. Be careful, as it is a working harbour and not a purpose-built tourist attraction, and see one of the most authentic parts of the city.
Located just 45 minutes from Dubai International Airport, the Resort features 115 rooms and suites appointed in traditional Gulf decor, complemented by the region's first authentic open-air Arabic desert restaurant, and a superb range of recreational facilities.
For those seeking a unique desert experience within easy reach of Dubai, Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa presents the ideal destination.
Offers comfort and entertainment, at Jumeirah Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa you can experience the history of Dubai.
And do not miss the dinner at Al HAdeerah Resturant - it will be a wonderful experince of Arabian night !
Try hotel apartments, if you are travelling in a group. It is more economical and you have an option of cooking your own favourite meals to your taste. Most supermarkets are well stocked with fresh and canned foods local and imported. Try fresh local fish , but you need to go to the fish market in Diera Dubai near the Gold souk(market). There are some stalls were you may find local fisherman selling local fish. Facility for cleaning the fish is available . You can get your fish fried in a restaurant at Shark restaurant(located in meat & poultry market) in the same market near the parking lot.