To Dubai – 2537 km (air, calculated as continuing eastward from Cyprus)
& 34617 Fit Bit steps
Our travels eastwards began again when we flew to Dubai from Paris to visit our nephew, David, and his family, and Lois’ brother Brian and sister-in-law, Anne, who were spending Christmas with their children and grandchildren. Changing planes in Beirut, we arrived just in time to bring in the new year.
Our first experience of Dubai, It was interesting to see how this Emirate has developed and grown over the last 100 years. The foresight of the ruling family assured development of a port for the region, which was a boon when the economy took off after the discovery of oil in the 1960’s. As Dubai oil reserves are expected to run out in 2040, The Emirate is well on its way to becoming a prime luxury retail and tourism destination. There are multiple upscale shopping malls and more on the way, a presumably welcome escape from the extreme heat (average summer temperature is 41oC). The downtown architecture is exciting and innovative and contrasts with the old fort (museum), the bustling old town and water front. It does appear to be a very car-based city, however, perhaps in part a response to the climate.
In contract to the glitzy modern high rise-dominated city, a long cycle ride with David and Yaneth on a new bike path into the desert was peaceful and restorative and a reminder of the desert foundations of Dubai. We also sighted oryx, which was a surprise. It was wonderful to be back on bicycles, especially for Paul who felt good after his first 50km ride since May. The rental Trek road bikes were a treat to ride, even without padded shorts! That evening, we all enjoyed a delicious Indian meal in the beautiful Bab Al Shams’ Oasis.
The next day, we headed off to Mumbai together with Brian and Anne, who were going to see old friends and colleagues from their 2 1/2 year stay in India from 2012.