In the Emirate of Dubai…

We are in Dubai for a few days, kindly hosted by the OH’s lovely son and partner, whilst we plan and prepare for the road trip we have spent a few weeks organizing.

First off we have to buy a car suitable for long distance travel. In the past we have borrowed Dubai son’s car but can’t continue to do that, as traveling to the south of Oman and back racks up the mileage and adds to the wear and tear, so we decided that he needed another one which is ours to use for travel.

Day 1 was spent in Dubai traffic, which once you are sitting in it in rush hour or school closing time is godawful, and you remember how bad it was on the way to and from work and thank your age (one of the few times you are grateful to be of a certain age)

A visit the to the Car Souk to check out one we had seen online ( looked good, I would have bought there and then but the OH wanted to review the others) and then a visit to a private seller, with more scheduled.

Then a little visit to Dragonmart which is essentially a massive mall full of stalls selling anything you would ever need.Mainly Chinese goods but it’s anything from heavy duty machinery, furniture, clothing, electronics, such random things as swimming pool equipment, fake flowers, beads, vitamins, food, the list goes on and on…it’s quite an experience, packed with buyers and traders and I can’t count the amount of times I was offered Rolex and designer handbags! We went for a few travel necessities and of course ended up with several unplanned purchases. Temptation is rife to flash the card deep in Dragonmart…

I was looking at lighting for my terrace patio, I desire a mosaicked, brass hanging type of light, slightly exotic….well…what can I say, I found them but I think they are larger than my patio, great to photograph though!

Then we headed off to view the other options. It’s probably enough to say that the one in Sharjah car souk wasn’t going to do us any favors on a long road trip and we never actually found the others in the depth of Sharjah industrial estate, (certainly not a place for designer wear, real or a Dragonmart copy) and after an hour of searching down muddy roads, we decided the first car was as good as we were going to get in our price range so we headed back…a paragraph or so above I complained about Dubai traffic, hah! In comparison to Sharjah it is amazing, Sharjah was basically grid locked, every road at a standstill and no way out of it, but to sit and be patient…

It was a gruelling return to Dubai car souk where we negotiated our deal and tomorrow will return to pay and collect. Exhausted by our day of sitting in traffic, we agreed it was just time to go home!

The Dragon at Dragonmart

Burj Khalifa, Dubai… a little light show…

The Burj Khalifa is a spectacular building and landmark in Dubai.

At over 828 meters (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records: Tallest building in the world, tallest free-standing structure in the world, and the highest number of stories in the world (at the moment).

It dominates Dubai, can be seen from everywhere in the city and it is extraordinarily graceful for such a mammoth construction.

My son was visiting me, so we did the tourist trail and watched the early evening light show on the facade.

It was quite an event.

A few photos below, they show how spectacular the building looks with at night with the changing light show…

January 2020: Dubai Butterfly Garden…

Given my interest in butterflies and photographing them, a visit to Dubai Butterfly garden was a must, when I was back in the Emirate in early 2020.

I have never been to a Butterfly garden before, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. The entrance shouted “Theme garden”, but it wasn’t going to deter me, having made the effort to get there..

Beautifully done, as always in Dubai, the building consisted of 4 large garden rooms, full of trees, flowers, sitting areas in small gazebos with different butterflies, organized by region.

So, alphabetically, the butterflies,

(My OH very kindly identified them for me as I didn’t take notes in situ, (slap self for that omission, too much fluttering, and camera action), but it gave him something to do during this morning’s lockdown and as it was an important task, he could avoid home cleaning duty! Grateful thanks to the OH, he did an excellent job, but it’s also a little disclaimer!) Please hover over the photo for the name…



If you have got to this stage of the post, my grateful thanks for looking at the butterflies… I know it’s butterfly exhaustion by this stage, but there are some unusual offerings of butterfly art in the next part of the post…

You exit through the inevitable shop which consists of butterfly souvenirs and pictures that are made by using butterflies….hmmm, you can see for yourself below, some lovely ideas but I wasn’t rushing to buy one, not to my taste, I prefer to see them alive and I decided after my visit I prefer to see them in the wild.


However, reflecting,  I did have the opportunity to see some beautiful butterflies, which I would not have the opportunity see in the wild as I’m quite sure now my future travel is limited for a while…so, whilst I felt slightly uncomfortable about the concept during my visit, whilst I was editing the photos for this post, I did think that I was very lucky to have seen some extraordinarily beautiful butterflies.

Realistically, I have to conclude that given my age and our current world situation, I’m not going to be hacking through jungles any time in the near future, so, I’m actually quite glad I did visit and can look back the photos of these beautiful butterflies…

There are also butterfly pictures of members of the Ruling families of the Emirates, a typically local mark of the affection for the Rulers.

I find it quite hard to imagine, that in either the UK or the US, anyone would think of creating Boris or Donald in such an affectionate platform. It was all a little strange, but, it is a popular attraction and as I’m in lockdown away from the UAE, I’m very glad I did take the time to visit…



Al Qudra Lakes, Dubai…

In Dubai there now seems to be a huge awareness for ecological protection which is very positive, given the fact that the city is ever-growing.

Maintaining the natural wetland environments and creating new ones seem to be part of the city plan.

Al Qudra lakes are around 30 km into the desert from my flat. It’s now a popular place for city dwellers to drive out to in the cooler evenings, take the family for a walk, observe the birds, meet up with friends and eat al fresco. It’s beautifully maintained and there are cycle tracks all around the drive down area.

I took a trip out tonight, maybe a mistake on a Bank holiday weekend as it was extremely busy, and as I drove up I did wonder if my desire to photograph the wetland birds would be thwarted by the number of cars and people around.

But, not so, I think the birds must be used to being on show…

Some shots from the wetland…


Weekly Photo Challenge, Growth…

This week we are asked to portray “Growth”. Hard in nature, clever time-lapse shots would be perfect for portrayal, but I don’t have any! So I had to think practically, what had I seen during 2017 that showed growth….

Well, Dubai is a prime example. It’s growing daily, but I really don’t think WordPress readers want to see the developments of motorways, roundabouts or building sites.

However the view from my little window in Dubai, to the left, through the small gap is quite impressive ( 35 floors up, this is not a window that allows you to even consider wriggling out much and who would want to at that height…not me! )

But it’s enough to poke a zoom lens through and my view to the left is of Dubai Marina, where the Al Ain Wheel is under construction, forecast to be the World’s biggest wheel ( of course, this is Dubai) and I have had an excellent opportunity for an eye on it’s development during 2017.

This is my take on growth…

December 2016, the base in situ…

December 2017, the wheel minus one section, plus a whole load of development behind…

It’s running a little overdue, but hopefully on my return late January I will see the completed version. Watch this space…



Weekly Photo Challenge, Pedestrian, Kite Beach, Dubai…

My online dictionary (easier to copy & paste) tells me that, as a noun, Pedestrian is defined as a person walking rather than traveling in a vehicle. 

I was the noun, talking a walk down the back of Kite beach, Dubai, before the weather made it impossible.

Then I came across an event, which was the complete opposite of Pedestrian as defined when the word is an adjective lacking inspiration or excitement; dull.

Pedestrians having fun at a Kite festival, Kite beach, Dubai.

Anything but Pedestrian!

Weekly Photo Challenge, Windows…

Your inspiration this week is windows…..or of a landscape or piece of art that’s like a window to another world for you.

Windows of Mirbat.

A town in Southern Oman that is slowly crumbling away.

Wandering around the streets, there is a shot at every step, but it’s the windows that my lens points towards.

These little wooden, arched and shuttered Omani windows; I wonder at the lives led behind them in the days when old Mirbat was thriving.

Windows on another world…



Random Moments, 8/8/17, Aquarium fever…

In the summer in Dubai, the only options for recreation are inside, in air-conditioning.

Malls, cinemas, a ski-slope, hotels, brunches etc. all figure quite highly at weekends.

But, not having small children to occupy and entertain, or a desire for a long, lengthy brunches every Friday, the lure of the above fizzled out pretty quickly.

We would try to head out of town most weekends, crossing the border to Oman frequently to haunt our favorite beaches in search of the eternal missing link shell we hadn’t yet found.

But in order to do that in a comfortable climate, an 8-hour overnight drive was needed to get to the areas of Oman that were cooled by the Khareef season (Monsoon).

This wasn’t always feasible, so we tried to spend summer weekends collating the shell collection, photographing and recording data for our ongoing and seeming eternal project to update the Eastern Arabian data for shells. An immense task that will take us through retirement!

But, on some weekend days, flat-fever was inevitable so we would head off out into the 45+ degree heat to shop for food and quite often pass by the aquarium shops.

It made me feel as if I had feet in the sand on those scorching days where Mad dogs and Englishwomen really should be terribly sensible.

Surfing around the aquarium, checking out the fish and coral tanks would give me the outdoor connection and the Philipino guys who ran the coral, fish and mollusk tanks came to know us well.

We have an aquarium, so would often buy new reef fish and they tolerated me and my camera on those hot August days very kindly.

A few Aquarium shots, under-sea life is mystical, even in a tank….

The fish are Blue Tang,a species of Indo-Pacific surgeonfish, fancifully portrayed, aquarium lighting is always blue-toned so a little masking helped with outside fantasy in the heat.

The corals…well, I wish I knew more, but they are ethereal underwater, so beautiful and if there was ever a precedent for saving the world’s reefs to preserve these most intricate life forms, I hope this could add to it…



Random Moments, 6/8/17, Dubai in fog on the daily drive…

Every work day in Dubai, my route took me up Sheik Zayed Road, the main artery through the city.

If I left home at 6.45am I would be in work at my desk by 7.30 at the latest, insha’Allah, إنشاءالله (God willing)

If I left it too much later, then it was anyone’s guess, insha’Allah, what time I would arrive depending on the volume of traffic, accidents and traffic diversions. Luckily there was no pressure at work to clock in, all management had to drive these roads too. You just needed to make sure you didn’t abuse the potential excuse.

At times Dubai suffers intense humidity and I’d love to see the tower blocks shrouded in mist in the early morning. It made for some nice atmospherics to view, sitting in the queues to exit Sheik Zayed road at Defence roundabout (or maybe the name changed, the roundabout changed out of all recognition into one of those confusing( at first) daisy-loop exits which now appear all over the main highways in Dubai)

My route took me past Business Bay where the Burj Khalifa ( currently the world’s tallest building) is situated. The surrounding area is full of architectural delights so I would be quite happy when I was stuck, stationary in interminable traffic queues to get the chance to just shoot an angle on my iPhone. I don’t think I was alone in this indulgence.

I played with the photos using Snapseed for iPhone (not in the car, of course) and I loved the fantasy of the results.

It turned a foggy Dubai into a real-life Gotham City for me.

These are a few from a very humid September/October 2015.

And one day when I got into the lift, there was just me and this little fellow, quadrupled. Sadly the 6 seconds only let me photograph him, I wonder where he went to…






Random moments, 4/8/17, Blue ones…

Today WordPress tells me that it’s three years since I created my blog. Where has the time gone?

At this point, a grateful thank you to all those who are following me, your likes and comments are always most welcome and hugely appreciated and inspire me to carry on.

I didn’t really do anything with the blog until January 2016 when I thought I’d best get started and joined into the Blogging-U courses and I seemed to spend January, February and March 2016 with my head down in all sorts of wonderful courses which gave me the confidence and desire to start blogging and I dived into the April 2016 A-Z challenge with great enthusiasm.

For most of 2016 and early 2017, I followed weekly challenges diligently, posted about my travels when I could but since April 2017, I’ve not been quite so motivated.

Dealing with a personal loss, doing quite a bit of travelling and I haven’t caught up with the photo organisation for my travels since April, as, even though I no longer work, I seem to have too much to do or maybe I take longer to do too much!

When I was working I was far more attuned to a schedule and deadlines.

I suspect it’s time to add some daily task scheduling into my life to make sure I don’t let my days drift away. However, I haven’t drifted for many years so I’m quite enjoying the feeling, especially in the Cyprus summer heat where it’s too hot to be rushing around.

Whilst I am tediously trying to lose the iCloud from my life and re-organise photos in another cloud storage, so I am not constantly reminded by Apple my storage is full and to pay yet more money to preserve my data, I’m coming across some random photo moments.

So, to keep my hand in and re-motivate myself, I’m starting some “Random moment” posts from my life and travels over the past few years.

Here are a couple of slightly surreal shots taken at the Dubai Mall in August 2015, when the outside temperature hit 50, taken through the aquarium window, viewed from mall walkways.

The 10-million litre Dubai Aquarium tank, located on the Ground Level of The Dubai Mall, is one of the largest suspended aquariums in the world.

It houses thousands of aquatic animals, comprising over 140 species. Over 300 Sharks and Rays live in this tank, including the largest collection of Sand Tiger Sharks in the world.

The main Aquarium tank, which measures 51 metres in length, 20 metres in width and
11 metres in height.

Monday Window: View from a Dubai window 27/2/17…

I have been lucky to have had a window with spectacular views whilst in Dubai. Sadly it isn’t often pristine and there’s not much I can do about that being very high up in the sky. Few shots are taken directly outwards, reflection and sand streaks stop you getting a good photo.

So I often take photos through the little gap to the left and the right. The window opens outwards at an angle for 8 inches. That’s enough to get my lens through to get shots of whatever may be interesting. I will say I do have the camera strap securely around my neck whilst leaning out, I would not want to have any dropping accidents from this height!

Some window shots over the last year… Continue reading