2010-06-12 -- Dubai

Our first full day in Dubai. We had a terrible city tour by bus in the morning, followed by dune bashing and a bedouin dinner in the afternoon.

Why terrible? Dubai is just a bunch of new buildings. No history. No stories. No mystery. No back alleys to poke around in. Just new buildings and tower cranes. Glorious, fantastic building, sure, but nothing to hold ones interest.

The dune bashing was fun though. We piled into three Toyota Land Cruisers, then the driver (professional driver; special license needed for this) tore around in the sand dunes, trying hard to make it seem like he is just shy of flipping the truck. We'd scream up a dune, turn quickly at the top, then full-power slide almost sideways/backwards down the dune.

From there, we had champagne on a blanket/rug in the desert while watching the sun fade away into the haze -- not really a sunset; it just slowly faded away into nothingness well above the horizon. Then a short drive (still in the desert) to a 'bedouin camp' for an Indian inspired dinner (good) and a blonde belly dancer (fair).


Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 16.0 mm; 30 sec, f/8.0, ISO 800
The view from the Burj Al Arab, at night.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 20.0 mm; 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO 800
The view from the Burj Al Arab, at day.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II at 19.0 mm; 1/80 sec, f/5.7, ISO 400
Looking up, waay up, from the lobby of the Burj al Arab. It's a fun hotel to look at, but I'm also the guy that painted his upstairs rooms M&M colors.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/5.7, ISO 400
Yes, it's a terrible picture, but you probably stopped to wonder why such a terrible picture is here. While on the Palm Islands we drove by this building. I thought the name was curious -- Palm District Cooling, so I took a picture to look it up later. Turns out the palm island is cooled by using treated waste water. Read the link for more.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 60.0 mm; 1/640 sec, f/5.7, ISO 400
Dubai is a tall, new town. It is also a somewhat hazy town. Somewhat hazy, in the same sense that it is somewhat sunny in Phoenix.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/800 sec, f/5.7, ISO 400
Even with the haze, there are still a lot of neat buildings....even if they are clones of others.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 47.0 mm; 1/640 sec, f/8.0, ISO 100
Our first real good look at the Burj Al Arab, from the Palm Island.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/1250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200
A great picture, except for the haze. If you look real close (closer!) you can see an airliner between the two buildings.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 45.0 mm; 1/10 sec, f/8.0, ISO 800
We went to the Dubai Museum. It was filled with dioramas of 'life in Dubai'...I hate dioramas. It wasn't until the very end that we saw actual stuff from the real world, like this pot. I liked I was taking a photo of the real pot, and also of a photo of the pot. I didn't so like that the pane of glass was a pain in the ass. No matter the angle, I always ended up with the glass edge in the photo. Crop!



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 82.0 mm; 1/80 sec, f/4.0, ISO 400
In the Dubai Museum, a "restored glass jug decorated below the rim (9th - 12th century A.D) - Jumeirah"



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 93.0 mm; 1/160 sec, f/4.0, ISO 200
We wandered briefly through the Souk, first spices then gold. These shoes were in the gold souk, lined up along the edge of the curb. I couldn't resist, but I should have done another shot with the action on the sidewalk above. I'll claim the action wasn't very active though.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/6.4, ISO 400
The Burj Khalifa (nee Dubai) (wikipedia) with a typical Dubai building....under construction.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/320 sec, f/6.4, ISO 400
Yet more typical Dubai skyline.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 92.0 mm; 1/50 sec, f/6.4, ISO 800
Dad was mesmerized by the fountains in the Burj Al Arab. To be fair, so was I.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/200 sec, f/8.0, ISO 80
Dune bashing in Dubai. Tens of white Land Cruisers trying to not hit each other.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 80
Us, just before bashing. The dunes are ~45 minutes out of Dubai, and at the last bathroom before bashing we both got head wraps. If only we remembered how to wrap them...



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/1000 sec, f/2.7, ISO 80
Journey Leader Thierry and Journey Boss Anais.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/160 sec, f/8.0, ISO 80
After bashing. Note two things in this picture: the open hoods indicating lots of high RPMs in low gears, and the lack of sandals. The sand wasn't exactly HOT but it was just barely tolerable. Bare feet was definitely better than having sand stuck between feet and cork though. Plus, I've had my feet in the Arabian Desert, so there.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/60 sec, f/8.0, ISO 80
After dune bashing -- and for some odd reason, everyone finished at the same time -- it was a literal convoy of white Land Cruisers driving slower than normal (they let the air out of the tires) to various bedouin camps for dinner and a show.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/160 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
We probably should stop feeding the animals.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/400 sec, f/6.4, ISO 200
The rest of the group hassled me about this picture. See, I was down on my knees taking a picture of...sand. I claimed there was a lizard out here, which there was, just maybe not quite this far up the hill. And, well, maybe not above the sand (he dug in the second I moved closer).



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 24.0 mm; 1/25 sec, f/5.7, ISO 6400
A falcon, on my arm. I'm surprised this came out as good as it did. The falcon is on a glove on my left hand. In my right hand is the 5D with a 6-inch long lens -- three pounds of camera? Fortunately, it was set to aperture priority, autofocus, and zoomed out.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 55.0 mm; 1/15 sec, f/5.7, ISO 6400
Mom's expression here is priceless. Complete wonderment (I made that word up, no, really, I did). "Wow! There's a gigantic bird on my arm!" She told me later that it was closer to terror than wonder.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 47.0 mm; 1/15 sec, f/5.7, ISO 6400
This picture, however, actually shows the bird. Slight differences in Mom's eyes and mouth detract.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 40.0 mm; 1/5 sec, f/5.7, ISO 6400
Maybe we're having a little too much fun here. (This picture is slightly out of focus, but the in-focus one is a terrible expression.)



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 84.0 mm; 1/100 sec, f/5.7, ISO 6400
A blonde belly dancer in Dubai?



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 97.0 mm; 1/20 sec, f/5.7, ISO 6400
Just so much wrong with this.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 96.0 mm; 0.4 sec, f/5.7, ISO 6400
RODS! I photographed a ROD! Read either the boring story or the amusing story (ok, no story there; maybe I'll find a better link) to find out what a rod is. Oh, I guess I should say that during the belly dancer, the guy with the camels (giving rides outside) moved to the top of the dune. It was a wee-bit dark; this is a hand-held nearly 1/2 second long exposure. I love image stabilization.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/15 sec, f/2.7, ISO 800
Sorry, kids. Ma and Pa moved to Dubai and bought a Phantom.



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/13 sec, f/2.7, ISO 800



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/10 sec, f/2.7, ISO 800



Canon PowerShot A3100 IS at 6.2 mm; 1/8 sec, f/2.7, ISO 800
Argh! I was going to use this to say we took the Phantom from the airport to the Burj Al Arab (and back again), but those stupid people in the reflections annoy me.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 32.0 mm; 10 sec, f/8.0, ISO 50
The Burj Al Arab, in blue, at night.



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 35.0 mm; 13 sec, f/8.0, ISO 50
The Burj Al Arab, in red, at night (a few mintes later).



Canon EOS 5D Mark II with Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS at 105.0 mm; 1/10 sec, f/4.0, ISO 400
Seven star hotel? Yeah, and my volume knob goes to 11. They left us little gifts on the pillow at night. Like this seven-star chocolate Kiss (two halves, one white one dark).



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