Arabian Nights

On my way back from Burma in February, I planned a 2-day layover in Dubai for a chance to witness firsthand what this renowned emirate/city is truly all about. Can’t say I was impressed to be honest. True, they now have the world’s tallest building in the world (Burj Khalifa), they’ve managed to build a ski resort inside a shopping mall in the middle of the desert and a 7-star hotel on an artificial island. All these are great accomplishments and marvels of engineering, but for me it all seems a bit too artificial. The city itself lacks character – a blend of a westernized modern city with an Islamic middle eastern undertone, done in a fairly distasteful manner. In my view the phrase “building castles in the sand” is true in this case both literally and metaphorically.

I spent more than half of my time wondering around the malls, but the highlight of my short stay was the afternoon I spent on a safari in the desert. It was quite the experience – being in the back of a 4×4 driving over the sand dunes, witnessing the sunset over the sand hills and having an amazing dinner in a camp in the middle of the desert. To add a bit more authenticity to the whole experience, we also got this beautiful belly dancer to entertain us over dinner.

Belly Dancer - 1920c


Shot handheld with my Canon 60D and Canon 50mm F1.8 prime lens at ISO 3200, F1.8, 1/200sec.


Water tides

Have you ever walked to a restaurant, only to find out that you have to swim back home? The restaurant in this picture belongs to the hotel we stayed at in Ngapali beach. It’s located just in front of the hotel, at the end of a long pier extending into the sea. Inconveniently, this restaurant (the “PVI” as it is known), closes at 9pm, so the latest reservation one can make is at 7pm. Getting there is a short walk, but at closing time the water tide floods the surrounding area, turning the inlet into a small island. Options are that you swim back, or wait for a shuttle boat to take you back to land. Quite the experience, but unfortunately the food there rates mediocre at best.

PVI Restaurant - 1920c

Shot handheld with my Canon 60D and Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 OS lens, at ISO 800, F6.3 at 1/50 sec.