Cruise Flashback; Galveston to Dubai 2013
Dubai, United Arab Emirates; May 21, 2013
APRIL 8, 2021, DALLAS – My strongest take-away from Dubai is that there must be lots more people than I thought with money who have the interest and financial resources to live in modern skyscrapers.
As I wrote eight years ago, all day long I just kept saying “wow!”
The city reminded me a bit of Las Vegas on steroids. Groups of high-rise apartments clustered for several miles along with Persian Gulf. It also reminds me of Beijing and Shanghai, China, with their scores of building cranes. But really it is like nowhere I have been before.
As my 30-day cruise from Galveston to Dubai ended, three of us hired a guide/driver for the day. We left the Mariner of the Seas and carried our luggage with us for the day, getting to the airport in time for our late-night flights home. We packed a lot into the day – the Dubai museum for some history, stops at the gold and spice markets, a water taxi (or abra) ride on the river through the old city center, wading in the Persian Gulf, stops for selfies and gawking everywhere.
The large Atlantis resort at the far end of the Palm development (a manmade series of islands shaped like a palm tree stretching into the Arabian Gulf) served as a fitting bookend to the cruise. It mirrored the Atlantis resort we saw at our first port, Nassau, but with an Arabian twist.
We ended the day with a visit to a modern shopping mall (with a lot of familiar store and restaurant names), and a visit to the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa, still the world’s tallest building eight years later.
I hesitate to compare the vast richness of Dubai with the poverty I observed earlier along this epic cruise that started in Galveston. Dubai has its problems, especially with its treatment of foreign labor upon whose backs much of its opulence is constructed. Everywhere we stopped, from Cairo, Barcelona, and even Galveston, had its pockets of poverty. It’s just as tourists we don’t typically see these. The seven-star hotel shaped like a sail (the Burj Al Arab in Dubai) or the hotel with a boat seemingly stretched across its three towers (the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore) draw our interest.
If Holland America’s 2022 World Voyage goes as planned (I think the odds are against it), I’ll visit Dubai again about a year from now. Since my first visit I’ve traveled to many more large cities and “world-wonder” sites. I wonder if my reaction to Dubai will once again be a repeated “wow!”
I had one last post to publish to my blog after this trip – a plea to my new friends Robyn and Helen, whose contact information I had failed to obtain. Fortunately, one of them subscribed to this blog, so I was able to reconnect before my 2017 Grand Asia cruise stopped in Sydney. We had a wonderful day as they showed me their home city and how to get around on the famous Sydney ferries.
And so my most treasured memory from my 30-day Galveston-to-Dubai cruise is of the friends I made along the trip. Barbara — one of my closest friends from both the recent 2020 world cruise and the 2018 Asia cruise – also was on this 2013 cruise aboard the Mariner of the Seas. We just didn’t meet each other among the 3,000 passengers on the ship. It truly is a small world.