Monday, May 30, 2016

Inside Dubai



The striking structures of Dubai's cloud-topping buildings are one of the famous hallmarks of the city but I quickly discovered that the interiors are just as enthralling. Archways, geometric patterns and golden accents filled every hotel that I visited and I was captivated by the meticulous attention to detail.The cascading arches and bold colors against white walls above, was a stand out feature inside the Burj Al Arab, billed as the most luxurious hotel in the world and I have to agree with that description.



The unusual sail shape of the Burj Al Arab is reflected in the layered walls, above.


These rich golden designs adorned an elevator in the Burj Al Arab.




Inside the Madinat Jumeirah Resort, a swirl of marble staircase with finely etched gilded rails caught my eye.


I was struck by this pairing of an avant guarde lighting piece with a flowering arrangement in the Vida Downtown Dubai hotel.



And I was fascinated by this design inside of a mosque. It was the only place that displayed richly arrayed art and it was fittingly, the spot designated for the Imam to lead prayers. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Dubai Skyline


I happen to come from a city with one of the most beautiful,and architecturally striking skylines in the world so its rare that a skyline wows me. But Chicago's skyline and the rest of the world's, have nothing on Dubai. As the home of the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, the world's tallest office building, the world's tallest hotel, the word's biggest mall and the world's tallest office building, over-the-top doesn't even begin to describe Dubai's skyline.


You don't really walk around Dubai because of the scorching desert heat but the few times I did stroll down a street, my jaws started to ache because I was gaping so much. Of course, the cloud topping Burj Khalifa dominates most views of the business district, as you can see from the above image.



But it's not just the Burj Khalifa,the distinctive sail-shaped design of the Burj Al Arab, the most luxurious hotel ever, is also an eye popper. Taking in the clusters of towering buildings felt like watching a sci fi movie. And walking by the soaring structures, there was always a construction site with another building soon to join the others. Dubai and its skyline is unlike anything I've ever seen.


Monday, May 9, 2016

The Traditional Emirati Ayala Dance








Dubai is a fascinating city overflowing with larger than life sky scrapers and crammed with people from all over the globe. But Dubai is also located in the desert, with an ancient Emirati heritage that you can only glimpse if you search for it, since native Emirati's are only about 10 percent of the population. One of the liveliest demonstrations of the culture was watching the Ayala dance during a desert safari. Versions of the dance are performed by people across the Arabian Peninsula but the Emirati take involves sticks used to goad camels. Originally, the Ayala, generally known as the stick dance, was a battle dance performed with swords to celebrate repelling attackers from the camp. The formation symbolizes a battle, with the men facing each other and chanting stirring poetry. Today, the dance is performed at weddings and cultural events. A local told me that the dance requires a lot of leg strength because the steps involve flexing up and down, which you can't see under the robes. These robed men chanting and playing traditional instruments greeted me as I entered the safari camp and I found it to be an exciting display of elusive Emirati traditions.