So I came back to Dubai and meanwhile the holy month of Ramadan has started. This time comes with a separate set of rules to follow. No eating or drinking in public, no… not even water! Since the UAE is a very hot country it limited my possibilities a little to what I could do when and how much I could cram into one day. There are restaurants, mainly fast food, that open for non-muslim and children under the age of 10 for take-away or eat inside if the windows are covered but they are not everywhere and it means you have to get by with very little water during the hot daylight hours. This is a little inconvenient but not really bad.
I got a great deal at the Shangri La Hotel during Ramadan and with that came access to a rooftop terrace with an amazing view! I wanted to stay at this hotel from the beginning but it was just too expensive. During Ramadan, many tourists stay away from the UAE because of its limitations that come along with this holy month. Therefore, many stores reduce their prices and hotels as well. For me it was the perfect oportunity to take the images I wanted to.
The rooftop has a spectacular view towards the city but is limited.
The hotel has built its own panoramic camera at the corner of the rooftop right at the best spot. Sadly the Camera housing is so wobbly you cannot use it as a base to put a tripod on so I had to work my way around it. I managed as you can see but it was a bit more effort involved than usually 😉
I stayed here two nights hoping for a nice sunset and maybe even a foggy sunrise but non of that really happened. The sky was very hazy during the day and the sun just vanished gradually into the clouds instead of giving a nice glow.
For the sunrise I managed to persuade management to send a security guard up to the terrace with me and open the door prior to regular opening hours so I could take photos of the blue hour before sunrise. Normally the terrace opens from 7am to 11pm but sunrise is at 5:40am… I was up there at 5:00am! 😀 Sadly no low hanging fog came in and the city looked very similar to the blue hour I captured the evening before, just a few less lights on.
So the next morning I didn’t bother getting up so early and instead wondered around the historic part of Dubai and found a little market.
Vendors here are very friendly but also very pushy in trying to sell you something. Once you looked a split second into their shop they start! „Hello Sir, you want buy scarf, maybe souvenir?“ A simple „no thank you“ will not help you… „Come on my friend, I want to show you something, come into my store“ and then you’re toast! Now you can try everything the vendor brings you and if you don’t like it, they will bring something else. If you don’t need it they will tell you to bring it home as a present for you wife or kids… The hardly ever want to let you go before you have not bought anything. It was noon ant I was the „first customer“ in at least three stores!!
They do have a lot to offer though! Spices looked very intriguing but I have zero space in my bag. I did find out though, that Saffron isn’t cheap around here either. What I thought was a super great deal in Bangkok (where I bought 200g of Saffron for about 4 Euros) is nothing more than Saflower and used for tea… The real deal looks a little different and is just as expensive as back home.
I walked on in the midday heat and found something that you wold call an open-air-mall. It was built recently but made to look old or traditional. It was fun to walk around but the place was nearly deserted. My guess is the locals would come here after sunset and specifically during Ramadan after iftar. Iftar means „breaking the fast“, it is the first meal after sunrise.
Since only the poor and tourists walk the streets of dubai, you have a car park underground, integrated into the historical scene of all the buildings but the luxury of modern architecture.
All these cars need to be parked somewhere 😉
The next day I left Dubai hopped on a bus to Abu Dhabi and was very excited to see the city.