So to change things up, I went to Dubai early Friday morning to spend the day over there. This is my second visit. I focused on seeing two sights: Palm Jumeirah and the Dubai Marina. I will post pictures from the Dubai Marina at a later date.
Palm Jumeirah is an artificial island extending into the Persian Gulf. It is shaped like a palm tree with its trunk, 16 fronds, and a surrounding crescent-shaped island that forms the area's breakwater. See photo below:
Palm Jumeirah is full of residential housing and resort hotels. There is a monorail that takes you from the entrance, the Gateway Station, to the tip, Atlantis Resort Hotel. In between, there are two other stops, Trump Tower and Palm Mall, but have yet to be completed. The monorail line will eventually link up to the Dubai Metro, the recently opened city train line. I drove all the way to the tip and parked my car near the Atlantis Hotel. The hotel has a private beach, a water park, an aquarium complete with a shark tank, and a dolphin bay. Inside the hotel are shops and restaurants. Just outside is the monorail station. I rode the monorail train, roundtrip, to get a better view of the island.
Atlantis Resort Hotel, facing inland, as seen from a monorail train ride.
The hotel from the other side, facing Persian Gulf.
Other shots of the hotel.
Me in front of the hotel.
Inside the water attractions side of the hotel complex.
The water park adjacent to the hotel.
The monorail station.
The monorail tracks with an incoming train. The high rise buildings in the background are on the mainland and not part of Jumeirah Palm.
Inside the monorail train.
View from the monorail train ride approaching the gateway station, which is the first station leading to the Palm Jumeirah.
Imagine the trunk of the palm is where the picture is taken from, with two of the palm fronds on each side where the houses are located and extend outward, and with the water beachfront in between. I did not find the houses spectacular.
There are still a lot of facilities and infrastructure that are under construction and many other areas where construction has yet to commence. It will take awhile (at least 5 more years) until this project is fully complete.
A "frond" without yet any significant construction.
Ongoing construction on the "trunk" part of the island.
I had lunch at Ronda Locatelli, an Italian restaurant, located in the water attractions side of the hotel. For a cannelloni dish with ricotta cheese and spinach, bread, mineral water, and cafe latte, I paid $50 -- way too expensive. It was a nice restaurant with great decor. The food I ordered was above average.
At the tip of the Palm Jumeirah with the Persian Gulf behind me.