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Trip Report Dubai September 2013

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Extreme heat, great national wealth, endless buildings under construction - probably gives you Dubai in a nutshell.

We stayed at the Sofitel Jameirah Beach. A nice location, about 30 minutes drive from the port and old town area of Dubai. I’m very pleased that we had arranged a car pick-up from the airport; our flight arrived at midnight, and it was so easy to have someone meet us and drive directly to the hotel. We spent two days travelling on the hop-on-hop-off buses, and getting a good look around in the process.

I don't know what the daytime temperature was; they don't seem keen to display it on buildings anywhere. It was definitely in the mid to high 40s Centigrade. Suffice to say that the only people who spend any time outdoors are the construction workers; everyone else is either in an air conditioned building or air conditioned transport - even the bus shelters are little air conditioned capsules!

In December, January, and February the temperature is a much milder mid 20s Centigrade, but for the rest of the year it remains extremely high.

After the sun goes down people start to appear on the streets. Friday is the local Sabbath, so most places are closed in the morning.

The quantity and quality of skyscrapers is just unbelievable, and they're still building more. In the water opposite our hotel they're creating another island for yet more shops, hotels, and even a Ferris Wheel that's going to be larger than the London Eye. Shopping Malls are full of superb clothes and jewellery - no Susan's or Just Jeans here, thank you.

We also took a ride on the local train, which is fully automated. It’s worthwhile buying a first class ticket (they are so cheap) – the seat is much more comfortable and the carriage less likely to be crowded. First class carriage is at the end of the train, and the next is reserved for women and children. These carriages will be either at the beginning or end of the train, depending on which direction you are travelling. All is clearly marked on the station platform. Of course all is air-conditioned, even the walkways to the stations.

We had stopped in Dubai to break our journey between Australia and Europe. We stayed 4 nights, so had 3 full days – plenty of time to see all that we wanted. If we were to stay again just for a one night stopover, we would choose a hotel close to the airport and not bother with any sightseeing. If you are a keen shopper for high end goods, Dubai has a vast array of choices for you.

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