My friend Enrique had a short stay in Dubai, while on his trip around the world from Europe to Asia. I quickly used the chance to meet up with him and visit the city and the emirate.
After a relaxing 4 hour flight from Athens, I arrived at the hotel. We were supposed to meet at the airport, but somehow it didn’t work out and I was the first to arrive.
First impression of Dubai at night.
We wanted to travel on a bugdet, so we chose a hotel in the emirate Sharjah, which was far more inexpensive than in the Dubai area. Of course this emirate was less touristic and more quiet at night.
First thing to see at daylight. The heart of Sharjah.
After an english breakfast, we decided to walk from our hotel to Dubai on foot. I wanted to have a long walk instead of sitting an hour in the bus.
We came across a small harbour and many, many construction sites. A huge part of the emirate is still under construction.
Sharjah fishmarket. A place to buy fresh fish and meet local fishermen and merchants.
A sleeping guardian.
One of the very other few people going on foot (bike).
A little skiffer crossed under our way.
Random impressions of Sharjah. The architecture in this emirate reminded me a lot of the way the subburbs in Tunisia are constructed. I felt liked being send back in time. Hot temperatures, desert sand, arabic culture and architecture.
Some things that I will always love and miss.
And there is was. The first part of Dubai’s skyline.
We stayed here for a while and had a good, strong coffee. And we enjoyed the view. It was a financial district and very few people walked around.
Me, trying to do some classical street photography.
I still have to learn a lot, since I always feel that I’m offending people with my camera and photography.
But this little man was not offended at all. At least I hope so.
One thing that I have to admit is, that Dubai and its modern architecture confused and overwhelmed me photography wise. I couldn’t focus either on pure street photography, nor on archicture shots.
I’ve tried to capture some moments that impressed me.
Such as the never ending amount of construction sites we came across.
I wonder who is going to inhabit all these towers.
Most of them are plainly build into the dersert sand. It seems as the emirate expects hundreds of thousands more people coming to live here very soon. Aside from the main streets in Dubai, we only came across little shops and large office towers.
And I spotted this letter box somewhere in between.
Time for a postcard?
Our walk continued and after a few hours, moon was rose already in the afternoon hours. A surreal atmosphere.
And there it was.
The world’s highest building.
I was impressed to see it with my own eyes, but I couldn’t put it into context. It was just too high and abstract.
The sun began to set and we finally decided to take the metro to reach the city center of Dubai.
Jumeirah Beach. A disctrict full of fancy towers, shopping malls, bars, restaurants and a little white beach that Enrique wanted to visit. It’s a little tradition of him to jump into the water whenever he visits a new country.
I took this photo free handed at iso 6400.
We got lost in between, but found a map and our way back.
And finally Enrique got his swim and I got my break after 7 hours of straight walking.
We got many impressions and after a good and inexpensive pakistani dinner we headed back to the hotel by bus.
The next morning we decided to visit Burj el Arab and head to the Mall of the Emirates. We took a bus this time to enter the emirate of Dubai. On the way we had a coffee break where I captured this velo infront of the shop.
When taking the metro here in Dubai, you can easily relax and forget the hasty modern life. The metros are comfortably airconditioned and you can look out of the windows and actually see many interesting things – far more interesting than the hundreds of dark metro tunnels from my hometown Berlin.
Enrique – tired but enjoying his ride.
I was kind of disapointed by Burj el Arab. It was surrounded – of course – by construction sites and it was impossible to get closer to it than this. Only for people with permits were allowed to visit the Burj.
Hence we decided to spend the afternoon at the beach.
After some time, we went back to Dubai center and I was allowed to spectate a stunning change of colours, during sunset.
A scene straight out of a movie. Dubai and its endless highways at sunset.
Only one of the very few photographs that I took in the mall. I was again overwhelmed by the sheer size of this place. It took us 30 minutes to reach the middle of the mall – while we used escalators all the time !
Too many shops, too many people and a foodyard that was just endless. At the end I felt very exhausted by this place.
Finally – after some pakistani dinner at the local bus stop, we headed back to the hotel. And I wasn’t the only passenger that took this ride for a nap.
Shopping time in Sharjah. It was time for new flip flops, I guess.
As mentioned before, Sharjah is not the most touristic or eye-candy place to visit. But people were always kind and it was fun to see an area were the locals buy their things and spent their after-work lifes.
One of the countless mosques.
And almost home. Sharjah’s market place.
We grabbed some chips and sweets and went back straight to the hotel room. It was a long day – we started around 8.30 and came back at midnight and I was happy to chill a bit on my bed and rest my legs.
Next morning, next train ride.
Since I wasn’t too pleased with the tour to Burj el Arab, I wanted to see Dubai’s main attraction – Burj Khalifa.
We took some gold tickets to enjoy the front view ride in a fully automatical metro train. Imagine that in Berlin. Clean trains, no scratched windows, friendly passengers.
Ok, I forgot.
Back to Dubai.
I felt like being in a completely different world or planet.
Welcome to the black mesa transit system.
This automated train is provided for the security and convenience of the Black Mesa Research Facility personnel.
Oh, I got carried away again. I’m such a geek. Back to Dubai. I fell in love with the light and the atmosphere in these districts. Everything was full of concrete and glass and seemed to be absent and full of life at the same time.
And still hundreds of new buildings being constructed.
And finally we made it to the plaza around Burj Khalifa.
If you don’t own a wide-angle lens – forget to take photos here. This place is just insanely narrow and difficult to capture. I had a hard time of getting a proper portrait of Enrique.
We enjoyed the location, but it was far too crowded. I wanted to jump into this artificial lake in front of the Burj.
A candid close-up.
No keystone correction here. My 35mm f1.4 wasn’t just wide enough. I hope to show at least a bit of the vastness of the Burj Khalifa.
We got some tickets for the visitors plattform and it was definately worth the price and wait.
What a stunning view ontop of the highest building on the planet.
All these towers and buildings left me standing there speechless.
Time to capture some moments for the family album.
I’ve been to the Empire State Building in New York, while I lived in Washington D.C., but I enjoyed this view a bit more since the city wasn’t cramped with skyscrapers.
The tourist Enrique.
And the pool area from above.
We stayed for around two hours on different floors and platforms because we wanted to see the sunset and view from Dubai above at night. Unfortunatly the sky was a bit hazy.
Time for a selfportrait then.
A piercing shadow-needle.
And finally it began to get dark.
While the sun went down, all the other lights went on.
And soon the city began to glow by millions of lights.
An evening that I will never forget.
So far I enjoyed my short trip to Dubai, even if I was a bit too overwhelmed by its huge amount of concrete, glass, shopping malls and pure urbanity.
If I ever come back, I will bring my analogue camera with me – instead of my digital Canon 5d and try to capture more of its backyards and daily life aside from the main attractions.