Dubai is truly a city of excesses, with the largest, biggest, tallest, and most spectacular of everything. Rapid and enormous growth has made the city an exciting place, but noise, dust, and commotion are unfortunate byproducts.
|Beach at Fujairah resort on the Indian Ocean|
As first-time visitors, my husband and I marveled at stunning glass and steel structures and wandered through elaborately decorated modern malls, while also taking in the souks (native markets), forts, and waterways of Old Dubai. There’s a lot of history here, though overshadowed by thousands of building cranes that line the landscape.
After riding the ancient abra (water taxi) across Dubai Creek, buying all the pashminas and spices I could carry home in my luggage, and haggling for that special piece of gold jewelry, it was time to escape the city for a different view of the region. Excursions provide an important perspective to better understand the federation of independent states on the Persian Gulf known as United Arab Emirates.
|Pool and hotel at Fujairah Rotana Resort on the Gulf of Oman|
Another day we explored Al Ain—a natural oasis in the desert about an hour-and-a-half drive southeast from Dubai. Called the Garden City, Al Ain was once a place of respite for ancient wandering Bedouin tribes who traveled at night to escape the heat. It’s an important historical and archeological site off the beaten path for most tourists.
|Historic buildings in Al Ain|
|Riding the desert dunes is like being on a theme park ride!|
|Entertainment by a belly dancer|
on the desert safari
Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier