Posted by: debrakolkka | February 12, 2011

Dubai – big and bold

50 years ago this incredible city in the desert didn’t exist. It is a completely modern city. I think the architects, designers and builders grew up watching the Jetsons. The futuristic skyline just needs some little spaceships flying around carrying George, Jane, Judy and Elroy from place to place.

The reason the city was able to grow so quickly was because of the oil discovered beneath the sand. Oil may have begun the development, but trade, commerce and tourism keep it going.  If you want to see the tallest buildings, the biggest shopping centres, 7 star hotels or go skiing in the desert, Dubai is the place to be.


Burj al Arab

The Burj al Arab, meaning tower of the Arabs, is one of the most recognisable sights in Dubai. It is the world’s tallest hotel. Its shape refers to a billowing sail, and it certainly appears to be sailing near the coast.  I just looked from a distance. It is a 7 star hotel, a little out of my range.  I photographed it from the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. I didn’t stay there either, I just wandered in for a look.


Jumeirah Beach Hotel


a more traditional look at Dubai

old and new Dubai

Dubai boasts some of the largest shopping centres in the world. I went to the Mall of the Emirates. You could shop all over the world without leaving this centre. All the major labels are represented here in beautiful shops carrying the current season stock. As well as shopping, the Mall has an indoor ski resort, why not?  It has 5 different runs and a fully fledged ski school. You could enrol the kids in ski school and trot off to do a bit of shopping, or ski yourself and send the kids off to shop. What fun!


the ski resort at the Mall of the Emirates

just like the real thing

you could pretend to be in St Moritz

the mall is enormous, you could spend days there - if you wanted to

Styles are borrowed for all over the world, to great effect. You could be anywhere, under one roof.


the fountain of the water horses from Villa Borghese in Rome

I think the local men look very dashing, dashing about in their dish dash. Mostly they wear white, though occasionally you see other colours. My favourite combination is the white dish dash worn with  a red and white head scarf. The fabrics are beautiful fine cottons.


beautiful fine cotton

I didn’t creep up behind a man wearing a dish dash to get this shot. I bought 2 head scarves, I think they are beautiful.

The women mostly wear black, but you can see from shop windows that they wear vibrant colours as well, most likely when they are at home with their families. I wanted to photograph a family for you, but I felt very intrusive taking photos of people while they were watching, so I took the gutless option and photographed the back view.


the man in white, the women in black

what the well dressed man could wear

most men wear these

a different colour option


the animal print option - very stylish

for the stylish woman

I enjoyed my stop over in Dubai. I went in winter and found it hot. I would never go there in summer when the temperatures are mostly over 40 degrees every day. Everything is airconditioned and I didn’t see a lot of people walking the streets. I think you would have to drive everywhere, particularly in the hotter months. The public transport is airconditioned and I really liked the idea of air conditioned bus stops.


what a good idea - airconditioned bus stops


  1. 1. I love the mens’ sandals. I’d like a pair. 2. I can’t believe how clean everything looks. That bus shelter looks like someone comes around every half hour or so to give it a polish. Otherwise, the city reminds me somewhat of Las Vegas. Is that nuts? Or is there something to that?

    • I haven’t been to Las Vegas, so I don’t know. Shortly after I took the photo of the Burj al Arab, the city disappeared in a white sand storm. The visibility was almost nil, making it impossible to get a photograph of the tallest building in the world. I don’t want to live there, but it is an amazing place to visit.

  2. Once again great pictures Deb. You will have to come to the USA again and visit Las Vegas.

    • I certainly will – one day soon. I have heard lots about Las Vegas. I have enjoyed everywhere else I have been in USA.

  3. I would live in those purple outfits, given the chance. They are absolutely gorgeous!

  4. wow! SO different from anything I’ve experienced. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. A wonderful post again Deb 🙂 I’ve not seen Dubai although I think most of my family has had stop overs there…, an absolute must I think. Love the air conditioned bus stop, so sensible 🙂 I think I’d have chosen the ‘gutless’ option too with photographs 🙂

  6. Who would believe they had an indoor ski resort? Crazy!

    • Anything is possible in Dubai.

  7. Air conditioned bus stop eh? Imagine that.
    I didn’t know it was only 50 years old.

  8. We could do with those airconditioned bus stops in Brisbane.

  9. Nice post as ever. We enjoyed our stay in Dubai a few years ago. How are the Island projects (The Palm and The World) getting on? They sounded totally crazy, but there are buyers for anything of course.

    • According to our wadi guide, work has been suspended for a while. I think buyers are a bit thin on the ground just now.

  10. I really enjoyed my time in Dubai too. I went to the Burj for afternoon tea and it was amazing! 😮

  11. The men’s clothing is ideal for a hot climate, but I don’t get why the women have to wear black.

    • I don’t understand that either. Black is so hot and most of the women’s clothes are polyester – yuk.

  12. […] here,  here and here for more on this incredible city in the […]

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