Dr Plokta (drplokta) wrote,
Dr Plokta

Holiday Snaps

We've been away. We got back yesterday from five nights in Ras al Khaimah (one of the United Arab Emirates, an hour's drive north of Dubai). We seem to have chosen the right week to get five days in the sunshine and warmth (mid 20s during the day, low teens in the evening), although coming back to sub-zero temperatures yesterday was a bit of a blow.

We were staying in the Banyan Tree al Wadi, which is a desert resort in the middle of a wildlife preserve (and also has a beach resort half an hour away that we never actually got to).

This is part of the resort taken from a handy sand dune (they have a lot of those).
The Banyan Tree al Wadi resort

Here's the view from our villa's pool terrace.
Arabian Gazelles outside our window

And here's the pool, which backs directly onto the desert.
Flick in the pool

This tower was outside our front door (I'm pretty sure it was built two years ago along with the rest of the resort — it's not a historic building or anything).
Tower on a dune

One reason we chose this particular holiday was that they have stables on site. We went for a moonlit horse ride across the dunes on Tuesday night, which was the full moon. It turned out to be just us, the stable manager (who is from north Wales) and a trainee instructor who had started the day before. But no photos, since the light was of course on the dim side.

But the next day we went for a camel ride, while the sun was still up. Camels turn out to be easier to get on than horses, because they will lie down while you mount them, but their walking gait is a good deal less comfortable.
Us on a camel

Us on a camel

Our camel-driver

(Our camel-driver was actually from Bangladesh and had never even seen a camel until he moved to the UAE a few years ago.)

Here's a close-up of Flick, I think taken right after the camel ride (and using my nice new 45mm (90mm 35mm equivalent) f/1.8 lens that I got for Christmas).

We went into Dubai for one day.

Here's Flick again in the Creek Park, outside a place where we did not have lunch.
Flick outside Malik Burger

The Dubai Mall, built as part of the Burl Khalifa complex, claims to be the largest in the world. It was slightly underwhelming, and very full of familiar brands (except strangely no Apple store). It has a good (if small) aquarium and a nice waterfall, though.
Waterfall in the Dubai Mall

The Burj Khalifa itself is a ludicrous size — generally speaking there's great debate about what's the tallest building in the world, depending on whether you measure to the stop of the structure, the highest usable floor, or whatever. But the Burj Khalifa is the tallest by any measure, nearly three times the height of the Shard, which is itself going to be the tallest building in the EU. Alas, we timed our visit wrong to see the fountain display — they were just starting as we waited to be picked up to go back to Ras al Khaimah.

Here is the Burj Khalifa, all 160 floors and 828 metres of it. Bear in mind that the buildings to the sides are good-sized skyscrapers in their own right.
The Burj Khalifa

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