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2 days in Dubai

Day 1: DUBAI

Start at the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU), where you can have a traditional breakfast and learn about the culture of Dubai and the UAE in general. Tradition remains a strong current throughout UAE society, while it adapts to tolerate, if not embrace, some of the modern social mores of the 80-90% ex-pat population.

The SMCCU is located in an old wind-tower house in the Al Fahidi district (also known as Bastakiya) of Bur Dubai on the western side of Khor Dubai (Dubai Creek). The district is named for Al Fahidi Fort, the oldest standing building in Dubai. The residential area that grew up around the fort was planned to make life in the extreme climate as comfortable as possible. Houses were built around narrow, winding lanes to maximize shade and draw cooling breezes through. Towers on the houses drew air down past water, which cooled the rooms as it evaporated on the wind.

Take an abras (water taxi) across the creek to Deira, where you’ll find the souks. If you’ve been to souks in Fez, Istanbul, Jerusalem and Cairo, Dubai’s souks probably won’t blow your socks off, but they do have local charm and are well worth some poking around. The Gold Souk is really something to behold and many visitors to Dubai come just for the gold.

Then travel in a matter of minutes from old Dubai to the number-one icon of new Dubai, Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. I like buildings and have raved about this one more than once in this blog: here and here. Take the At The Top tour for access to the observation deck on the 124th floor. Burj Khalifa is part of the Downtown Dubai development, which includes the Dubai Mall (for a completely different shopping experience from the souks) and the musical Dubai Fountain.

Day 2: DUBAI

Start the day with breakfast at the Farriers Restaurant with views of horses during morning track work on the Meydan Racecourse. After breakfast, take a tour of the Meydan Stables.

Drive to the giant Jebel Ali port, about 20 miles south of Dubai city, for a seaplane tour. The aerial perspective really helps to take in the extraordinary evolution of Dubai. You’ll fly over the whole city, but birds-eye views of the man-made Palm Jumeirah and World Islands, the Burj Khalifa and the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab Hotel are especially astonishing.

ALSERKAL AVENUE GALLERY, DUBAI, UAE

Come down to earth with a tour through the art spaces on Alserkal Avenue in the industrial Al Quoz district. Since 2007, Alserkal Avenue has developed “organically,” as they like to say, into a hopping arts scene, with the city’s largest concentration of galleries and arts venues. It’s a good place to ground and balance out the hyper-commercialism that built Dubai and keeps it ticking.

BLOG

A Time For Reflection: Acknowledging Our Human Connection
April 1, 2020
Preparing to Welcome the World: Perseverance and Optimism Prevail
March 13, 2020
Mascots at World’s Fairs: A Touch of Whimsy
March 2, 2020
Public Transportation: Getting Around in Dubai
February 14, 2020
The Louvre Abu Dhabi: East Meets West
February 5, 2020
Visiting Dubai: A Western Woman’s Perspective
January 29, 2020
Fun in the Arabian Desert
January 9, 2020
Otis vs Otis: Elevators Past, Present, and Future
December 13, 2019
EXPO 2015 Milan: Food, Glorious Food
November 21, 2019
September 2019: The First Emirati in Space
November 4, 2019
Dawn of a New Day: Television at the 1939 World’s Fair
October 23, 2019
Liberty Enlightening the World – Part 2: Help from Two World’s Fairs
October 18, 2019
Liberty Enlightening the World – Part 1: The Egyptian Connection
October 14, 2019
Chicago 1893: George Ferris’ Big Wheel
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1889 Paris International Exposition: The Iron Lady’s Debut
September 30, 2019
Lisbon and Dubai: Two of the Largest Aquariums in the World
September 24, 2019
Communication and Condiments: The First USA World’s Fair
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A Space-Themed Expo for a Space Age World: Seattle 1962
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My First EXPO
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Why Travel to EXPO Dubai 2020
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