Dubai Fountain video for your viewing pleasure

In case you missed the update to that Dubai fountain post last week pointing to the video of the Dubai fountain posted at my friend’s blog, here’s the video of the dancing Dubai Fountain, taken by my friend Stacey:

Thank you Stacey for taking the video and letting me post this in my blog!

Dubai fountain is almost here

As the mighty Burj Dubai nears completion, the establishments, residents and tourists are getting ready for it.

The developer has been hurrying up with another milestone – the completion of the world’s largest fountain. Remember about that huge (supposedly bigger than the one at Bellagio in Las Vegas), spectacular fountain I posted before? Well, there had been a rumor circulating that it will be unveiled on Valentine’s Day.

So we went in the morning to see what has become of the Burj Dubai development and the surrounding areas and we came upon this:

Burj Dubai fountain

The surrounding area of the Burj Dubai was filled of emerald green, clean water! They sure were ready to show off the fountain.

Burj Dubai fountain

The Address Hotel looked like a huge boat with all the water below it.

The Address Hotel

So on Valentine’s Day night, we all went, anticipating the fountain display. There was water under the bridge connecting Souk Al Bahar and Dubai Mall.

Souk Al Bahar-Dubai Mall bridge

Strangely when we arrived there was no rush, no traffic on the way and certainly nothing like something big is going to happen that night. Everything was peaceful around the area, except for couples having Valentine dinner or strolling near the lake.

Burj Dubai Lake

The Address hotel looks amazing at night.

The Address Hotel

I asked around and got shrugs. “No, madam, not yet ready!”

Burj Dubai fountain

~ Look closely. There’s someone submerged in the water and working on the fountain! ~

In true Dubai fashion, the fountain show opening was cancelled.  We will be on the lookout and will definitely blog about it when it spurts out and do a show.

The desert metropolis, from afar

I discovered a new off the beaten path part of Dubai a couple of days back, away from the touristy center but still having a great view of Sheikh Zayed Road (the road where the tall buildings are) at night.

Burj Dubai sunset

M (my hubby) took me to Za’abeel, an area very near to Sheikh Zayed Road where one can see Dubai’s beautiful skyline during sunset. He longed to take me there and I am glad he did. I had to tell him to park the car when I saw the view. I get excited with tall buildings – especially those with a lovely backdrop like this.

Burj Dubai sunset

He also took me very near Sheikh Mohammed’s (ruler of Dubai) royal palace. I think taking photos is not allowed so I can only share the details the way I saw it. The main entrance resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, only with a bunch of golden horses on top. The Sheikh loves horses. Inside were colorful water fountains and lots of guards – we sped away before they ask us what we’re doing near the palace!

M said we’ll come back during daytime and take Pristine with us because there are so many peacocks roaming in that vast green area. Pristine gets really excited with peacocks now. Let’s just say that these flirty birds are her latest obsession. I still have a difficult time explaining to her that the pompous one was actually the male (or the boy peacock as she calls it). I think she’ll finally understand that fact a few years from now.

I’ll definitely take any guests coming to that silent strip, away from the chaos and traffic but offering a superb view.

Burj Dubai Sheikh Zayed Road

Do you have a favorite “off the beaten path” in your area?

Day 4, Dubai Mall and checking out the monster


Read Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 Part 1 & Part 2 if you want to catch up with this series.

It’s rather surprising – after a gruelling bout of migraine the day before and an almost sleepless night because of (single) bed sharing with Pristine, that I would wake up alive, alert and ready for another long day.

My friend was still sleeping even when the sun was already up at 8 am. Pristine and I woke up at 7:30 and got dressed for breakfast. We have a long day ahead. Outside, the Creek is already bustling with activities.

Pristine and I went to the restaurant for breakfast because my friend had no plan of waking up at this time. Oh, single women! She can really sleep until 12 noon, if possible. But me? I have not slept past 8 am for almost six years now. Well, this is not complaining, just sayin’!

There were so many tourists in the restaurants and I am surprised to see lots of Japanese there. The last week of December is off for many Japanese so they tend to go out and explore the world. Some remain in their warm kotatsus like my in-laws, though. Anyway, I find it really uncomfortable for people to stare at me whenever I am with my daughter if my husband is not around. They are clearly confused as to why a non-Japanese looking woman is talking Japanese to a child who looks Jap but not quite. Finally, someone was not able to resist and ask: “Is that your child?”


Should I just carry her birth certificate with me all the time? *shudder*

We were able to go out at 11 am when my friend had finished her round of breakfast, shower and makeup session. It’s another sunny day today and it got pretty warm when we arrived at the taxi stand. Since it’s a working day, there was traffic on the road and the usual war to get a taxi. They are either with passengers in them, the driver refusing to stop (for whatever reason ranging from because it’s prayer time or simply because they didn’t want to work). It took us one hour waiting at the stand. Luckily one passenger got off and I immediately opened the door and called in my friend and my daughter. A man standing a few meters away from me shouted, “Hey, I called that cab!” Well, random man, I called that cab too, as the other people on that side of the street but the cab stopped in front of me and I had the delicious opportunity to open the door and get in.

This is the way it works here in Dubai. If you’re a tourist reading this, remember that. If you’re a resident, I know you’re nodding and nodding.

Dubai mall was a blah on a weekday. The huge mall only had few shoppers. I took my friend to the giant aquarium. Pristine is always delighted to be here.


There was a diver inside the huge aquarium feeding the fishes! The sharks, were in their usual intimidating selves.


The Mall had a giant Christmas tree with a height that spanned 3 floors.

The Christmas tree changes lights every x seconds or so.  I have compared the size of the tree to a normal adult here.

Since I have talked about the Dubai Mall and all its glory here and here, I will share what’s outside of the mall. Dubai Mall is built at the foot of the Burj Dubai, the world’s would be tallest building when completed.

The world’s largest fountain is underway:


I guess those black covered things on the ground are for the lights and water spouts. And in case you’re wondering how tall the monster has become:


Burj Dubai now stands more than 780 meters. The final height is still undisclosed. My husband looks forward to the opening of the observation tower located somewhere in the one hundred xth floor. I am not sure if I can share his anticipation. (I’m afraid of heights)

We walked around a very nice community of old-style apartments. The area is called Old Town. I can’t believe I have not taken enough photos during our tour. I’ll upload photos of the area I have taken in another trip.

On Day 5, my friend and I are going to the Mall of the Emirates. Have you heard of it? It’s another popular huge mall in Dubai. The one with a ski resort, complete with ski lifts and of course, snow (however artificial) in it. All that snow jazz inside a mall – my friend can’t wait.

It’s raining but I don’t mind

We’re having continuous bad weather for three consecutive days now. Dubai bad weather means gray skies and dropletsof rain but this morning, we woke up to a real downpour. The forecast says more rain will be expected today. Rain is a rare occurrence here in the UAE (although it has rained a lot in 2007 than in 2006) so I don’t mind a little rain every now and then. If only it doesn’t immediately flood, that is!

The rain clouds behind me.

Jan 15 morning rain

Photo taken on my side mirror while driving to work today.

By the time I reached Deira (and got stucked in heavy traffic), the skies have cleared up.

clear skies in Deira

Here’s an interesting photo from Gulf News taken at night in Sheikh Zayed Road, where the tall buildings are. Notice how the Burj Dubai, the world’s tallest building also the world’s most popular lightning conductor (due to its height) – was struck by lightning last night.

So it’s a little bit chilly again today and I like it. I’ll enjoy this weather until the dreaded summer comes.

Wandering around Dubai like a real tourist, Day 1


A friend of mine, who is so interested in Dubai even before I hopped on the plane to relocate here came to see me last month, just after Christmas. Japan offices are off on the last week of the year so she had the chance to finally come, bringing all her guide books and t-shirts. She really never believed me that it’s quite chilly here in December.

After picking her up at the airport at 5:30 am, we went to have breakfast at the Riviera Hotel, a small B&B hotel at Baniyas Road, facing Dubai Creek in Deira. They offer very affordable breakfast buffet at 50 dhs only. I say “only” although I don’t want to spend an amount like that for my breakfast everyday, because it is still inexpensive compared to the other hotel restaurants in the city. They had Japanese food also, with menus changing daily thanks to a resident Japanese staff they have.

After a sumptous breakfast, I took my friend for a stroll along the Dubai Creek – a very relaxing thing to do on a Friday morning where everyone, I suspect, is still sleeping. The usual rush of the dhows and the traffic was not there, just us and the sea and the very pleasant winter weather.

A funny coincidence: a man drinking tea near a giant brass pitcher along Dubai Creek.


My friend smiling despite still jetlagged from her long flight.


Then we went to Radisson SAS Hotel, just on the same road. I love this hotel in Deira. Sure it is not one of the newest and most sophisticated hotels in the city right now but this was the first five star hotel in Dubai so it has a lot of history. They recently underwent major renovations so the establishment is good as new and with great service.

There were lavish Christmas decors at Radisson SAS.

A giant tree:


A huge ginger bread house where the walls are really made out of biscuits!



That same day, my friend and I were to board a bus, along with 10 other tourists for a city tour. My husband acts as a guide and we got special approval from the tour coordinator to join for free. I thought it was a great opportunity for my friend to tour around Dubai (for FREE) and a rare chance for me to see my husband at work.

He was very impressive. To say that I am extremely impressed would be an understatement. You could say I was awed, amazed, dazzled by the way he handled the tour. He really takes his work by heart. I am proud of my man – and what he had become compared to what how he was the day we arrived in Dubai. He’s a totally different person. From a man very dependent on his wife on everything because of the language barrier (he didn’t speak English that well 2 years ago) to someone beaming with confidence and being fluent on the language.

I feel like a mom looking at her grownup son. * sniff *

Moving on before I start looking for tissues for my tears….

The tour took us to Sheikh Zayed Road first to see the buildings – those tall, unique buildings you see in every Dubai guidebook and postcards.

Then on to Souk Madinat Jumeirah, a shopping area styled to resemble typical Arabian market. The Burj Al Arab can be seen from here. The group shopped for souvenirs while I cautioned my friend that she can have the same particular item at half the price at the local market in Deira! We were the only ones empty handed.


I don’t know what this is for but I found this near the washroom. The rose petals were lovely.


My favorite tree in all of Dubai was still standing, very beautifully against the blue skies.



Next, the group went to Atlantis Hotel at Palm Jumeirah. In case you don’t know, The Palm Jumeirahis the largest manmade island in the world. There will be three Palm Islands in Dubaibut the one completed right now is only Palm Jumeirah yet. The contractors are still busy hurling big boulders to the see to construct the othe two.

(Atlantis Hotel photos to be uploaded shortly!)

Then the group proceeded to Jumeirah Beach Road and because there is not much to say about this “New Dubai” part of Dubai except for the the opulent lines of villas, the Jumeirah Mosque and Mercato Mall, my husband talked about the history of Dubai and the UAE – of how it was become what it is now from the time when pearl diving was the only means of living for the people. Everyone was listening at every detail and asked questions which our tour gladly answered.

The final leg of the group tour landed us in Dubai Museum in Bur Dubai. I love going to this museum as it has galleries and dioramas depicting people and their way of life during the olden times. The group was to have lunch at Basta Art Cafe – an outdoor cafe with great ambiance and good food. My friend and I had to go since we will be leaving for desert safari that evening.

The 4×4 picked us up at 3:30 pm. The desert will be cold at this time of the year so we packed jackets, scarves, winter hats and even gloves. My friend almost laughed at us. She’s from Japan where the temperature was zero at night when she left.


This is my second desert safari but the first time taking Pristine with me. It might be because we have a kiddo in tow that the driver made the safari very mild the first one was a blast. I only let out a few screams and didn’t break my mother’s arm everytime the car dove down sand hills.

We stopped by to take photos.



On a regular desert safari, the cost of the tour will include pickup and drop-off,dinner buffet, camel ride, henna body painting, belly dance show (where you can participate if you like), dressing up in National costumes and of course, the safari itself.

After the mad driving in the sand, we reached the camp site and took advantage of the camels resting. Some of the tourists haven’t arrived so we had the pleasure to get on the camels many times until the camel grunted with anger. I need to lose weight before getting on in one again.

Pristine and my friend posed with the camel and a handful of tourists.


It’s my mom’s first time to ride a camel. She was so nervous, but I bet the camel was too!


This man asked my two friends to pose with him and his wife so he could say when goes back home that he has THREE wives in Dubai!


Night fell and cold crept in but we were ready. My friend was not. She wished she brought the winter jacket she left in her cabinet in Japan.

After dinner, we were treated with a belly dance show.


She pulled a man from the crowd, who gamely put on a costume on his hip and shook his booty.


By 8:30 pm, it was time to go home. You bet everyone fell into a deep sleep the moment we closed our eyes!

Whew, it was a long day and this, a long post. Are you sure you still want me to continue writing about Day 2?

World’s largest fountain to be built in Dubai

Dubai’s prominent developer, Emaar Properties said on Monday that it plans to build the largest fountain in the world as the centerpiece of its Downtown Burj Dubai project.

What’s in store when the project is completed next year:

dubai fountain

The $218 million project is said to be 25% larger than the iconic fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Like the fountains of Bellagio, Emaar’s fountains will include an integral light and sound show and is expected to become one of the city’s major tourist attractions, drawing over 10 million visitors per year. Over lights and color projectors will create a vibrant visual spectrum of over 1,000 different water expressions accompanied by selected music.

dubai fountain

The fountains will shoot 22,000 gallons of water in the air at any given moment and feature over 6,600 lights and 50 color projectors.

dubai fountain

At over 900 feet (275 meters) in length, it is equivalent to the size of over two football fields. The fountain is also capable of shooting water 150 feet into the air.

dubai fountain

Simply beautiful and astounding!

dubai fountain

dubai fountain

One thing to REALLY get excited about? Emaar is offering AED100,000 (US$27,247) cash prize for naming the world-class water, light and sound spectacle! The competition will be open to all UAE residents only (as of this writing) so if you have a kicking-smart-out of this world-perky name for this, whisper it to me…make sure no one is around when you do! Promise, we’ll split the loot if I win.

DEAL? 😈 

I am no longer accepting name suggestions by email due to spam and some people who took this very seriously, it’s tad scary.

Burj Dubai revisited

Ever wondered what happened to the world’s tallest building being constructed in Dubai?

Burj Dubai in December 2007

~The Burj Dubai on December 2007~

We last visited Burj Dubai last exactly one month ago in December and surprised to see that the glass panels are in place already. The full height is not disclosed and looking at this photo, it looks like the construction is not going to end just yet. 

Even when still under construction, Burj Dubai has surpassed Taipei 101 and became the tallest building in the world.

By the way, aren’t you amazed how the cranes end up at the top?