Weekends in Dubai are my time to explore the city. Even though views from my flat are of the Palm Jumeirah (just) and it seems a stone’s through away, getting there is another matter. You really have to plan your journey in this city, no random heading off in “that” direction, the road network is superb, but requires advance planning otherwise you can be many miles from your chosen destination, spoken from experience!
Time to re-visit the Palm, winding around U-turns and flyovers to join the road over the bridge onto the island. Construction on the vast project had slowed over the last few years, but my window view showed cranes and new builds rising up.
The trunk of the Palm, 6 kilometres long, is mainly for apartments and the fronds are private housing, gated, so, sadly no wandering around checking out the big houses on the beachfront plots.
Driving to the outer road, 12 kilometres from end to end, it’s a fascinating project. The outer circle is where the hotels are, with the famed Atlantis at the centre. Hotel after hotel, luxurious and beautifully placed with seaward views of the Gulf, the Dubai seashore and the Marina, depending on your choice. All hotels back onto the inner lagoons of the Palm, their private beaches lining the shores.
More construction around the outer sea wall, a boardwalk is under progress with eventual piers and al fresco dining. This artificial island will be enhanced by this addition.The Atlantis Hotel attracts many sightseers, it’s hard to park, but pushing on to the outer edges, the views of the city are stunning.You can rent a “Byky” if you are feeling energetic, a side of the road bike for all.
A Dhow race was in progress and we arrived at the outer edge at the same time, a chance for some photographs as they dipped gracefully in front of the Burj al Arab hotel and then a long walk to blow away the cobwebs.
Driving around to the Marina side, the weekend parachutists were just floating down to the air club. Watching them descend in front of the cityscape behind the beach, jet skis and large motor boats out on the water, a winter Saturday afternoon in Dubai….
Walking in this city is so rewarding, everywhere you look something of interest is happening. Hedonistic lifestyles abound, wealth is there for all to view and the contrast of those who are not so fortunate is apparent. Dubai is now making itself more available to all its residents and visitors, vast sums are being spent on developments such as the Palm boardwalk and, so far as I can see, it will be there for everyone to enjoy and pretend for an afternoon.
All this pleasure almost for free, just the cost of petrol. Taking a bottle of water, snack bar and an outdoor afternoon of pacing the Palm, soaking it all up, brilliant… Although I’m pretty sure I won’t be repeating this pleasure during the hot summer months!