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My travels to UAE and Oman in 2015 – part 1

I am back from my six days visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I was able to do some sightseeing and cross over the border to Oman for scuba diving.

In summary, I spent two full days in Oman and three full days in the UAE sightseeing and shopping.

It was hot at this time of the year. The temperature was 39 degrees Celsius whilst the sea temperature was 29 degrees Celsius.

My hotel was in the old part of Dubai known as Deira and was near to Dubai Creek.

Dubai itself is a city famous for its modern architecture and luxury shopping malls. The city has expanded at an enormous rate over the last few decades and the population now stands at 2.5 million (mostly expats and immigrants). In the 1950s the population was 20,000 people. With the discovery of oil, the city rapidly expanded and it wealth has led to ultramodern projects such as the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago project. Many of the construction projects in Dubai are now on hold due the 2008 banking crisies and the current decline in oil prices.

When I arrived, my first sightseeing was to Dubai Marina. This is a residential district of Dubai where many westerners expats live.

Dubai Marina is a residential district.

Dubai Marina is a residential district.

Many of the skyscapers here are residential blocks.

The skyscrapers of Dubai Marina.

The skyscrapers of Dubai Marina.

Having known many expats living here over the years, a lot of these residential towers were built by dubious developers and many expats have lost their investments to these crooks. That is typical of how things are done in Dubai. So becareful if you are considering investing here.

The Torch Tower had a twenty storey fire last February. At the time of construction I had spoken to many expats who purchased off plan into this tower and many expressed concerns about the poor construction of the tower including lack of fire protection coatings. Their concerns proven to be correct.

Me posing next to the residential skyscrapers.

Me posing next to the residential skyscrapers.

All over the marina, new towers are still being built.

Construction is still ongoing.

Construction is still ongoing.

I took a small RIB boat from the Marina to visit the artificial archipelagos.

Dubai Marina can accommodate 120,000 people.

Dubai Marina can accommodate 120,000 people.

Taking the boat out, I saw the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago project and also the Burj Al Arab hotel. The hotel was opened in 1999 and it is a symbol of modern Dubai.

The Burj Al Arab hotel is the world's only 7 star hotel.

The Burj Al Arab hotel is the world’s only 7 star hotel.

This hotel is the world’s only 7 star hotel. Living on my £145 per month army pension, I was not able to afford to stay here for my holiday.

This is the fourth tallest hotel in the world.

This is the fourth tallest hotel in the world.

With gold plated toilets and personal butlers to chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce services, this hotel has been repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel.

The distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab hotel.

The distinctive sail-shaped silhouette of Burj Al Arab hotel.

From the marina, I had to cross the famous Sheikh Zayed Road to get to the metro station.

The traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road.

The traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road.

I took the metro back to the old city.

The metro with the Burj Khalifa tower in the background.

The metro with the Burj Khalifa tower in the background.

Whilst on the metro, I passed the Burj Khalifa tower. This is the tallest tower in the world, standing at 829.8 m (2,722 ft) tall. The building gained the official title of “Tallest Building in the World” at its opening on January 4th, 2010.

The world's tallest building.

The world’s tallest building.

Arriving in the old city of Dubai, I first went to see the Creek.

The old port of Dubai Creek.

The old port of Dubai Creek.

Dubai Creek is the old part of the city and was originlly a small port for numberous dhows that traded with East Africa and India. It is still used for trade using the traditional dhows.

Me posing next to one of the dhows.

Me posing next to one of the dhows.

A short walk later, I came to the Al Fahidi fort.

The fort is now a museum.

The fort is now a museum.

The fort was built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. It is now a museum and is 3 AED (£0.60) to get in.

The courtyard of Al Fahidi Fort.

The courtyard of Al Fahidi fort.

After my sightseeing, I went to do some late night shopping.

The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall based on total area. Opened in 2009, it has over 1200 stores.

The shopping mall's interior.

The shopping mall’s interior.

In March this year, more than a hundred foreign labourers protested in front of Dubai Mall due to overtime wages not being paid. Despite all the ultraluxury developments in Dubai, there is a lot of poor pay within the city.

The fashion avenue of the mall.

The fashion avenue of the mall.

The Mall comes with a interior aquarium so that shoppers can stare at the fish whilst shopping.

Window shopping was never like this!

Window shopping was never like this!

The Mall of the Emirates has over 700 stores and a ski slope! The Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park.

This shopping mall has a ski slope!

This shopping mall has a ski slope!

After buying my sexy gal a sexy skirt and several dresses, I headed back to my faulty air conditioning hotel room.

The next day I was going to visit Al Ain, the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

To be continued….

For more information about the UAE and Dubai please visit:

www.uaetourism.ae

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My travels to Russia in 2014 – part 1

Yesterday, I flew back from Moscow in Russia. I spent eight days in Russia as the head negotiator of a Unitied Nations peace talks to discuss the Crimea crisies with president Putin. Would he listen to the monkey? I also had time to do some sightseeing in both Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

It was cold when I flew into Moscow but not as cold as I was expecting.

Arriving at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport.

Arriving at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport.

After checking into my hotel, I headed to the Red Square.

Me at the entrance to the Red Square.

Me at the entrance to the Red Square.

The Red Square is the heart of Moscow and together with the Kremlin was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990, due to their inextricable links to Russian history.

The buildings surrounding the Square are all significant in some respect. Lenin’s Mausoleum, for example, contains the embalmed body of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, the founder of the Soviet Union.

The Red Square is the heart and soul of Russia.

The Red Square is the heart and soul of Russia.

The Red Square get its name from the Russian word красная (krasnaya) which can mean either “red” or “beautiful”. It is the latter that implies the Red Square. Many tourists falsely thinks the Red Square get its name from the red walls of the surrounding Kremlin walls.

Me in the Red Square.

Me in the Red Square.

The Red Square hosts the annual military victory day parade. Russian military vehicles are paraded through the square. Last years parade is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjeW74XcAvc

Next on my sightseeing was to visit the Kazan Cathedral on the northeast of the Red Square. This is a reconstruction of the orginal cathedral built in the 17th century.

Kazan Cathedral was rebuilt in 1990.

Kazan Cathedral was rebuilt in 1993.

The orginal cathedral was destroyed in 1936 under orders of Stalin.

The cathedral is very pretty.

The cathedral is very pretty.

The new building is an exact copy of the orginal cathedral.

Next on my visit was the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the walls of the Kremlin just next to the Red Square. This tomb contains the remains of unknown soldiers killed in the Battle of Moscow 1941.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dedicated to the Soviet soldiers killed during World War II.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dedicated to the Soviet soldiers killed during World War II.

Since 1997, a Guard of Honour of the Kremlin Regiment guards the tomb.

The changing of the guards takes place on the hour.

The changing of the guards takes place on the hour.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was unveiled to the public on May 8th 1967.

The soldiers perform their steps in synchronize steps.

The soldiers perform their movements in synchronize steps.

The changing of the guards attracts a large tourist crowd.

I then inspected the guards.

I then inspected the guards.

Next on my visit of the Red Square was Saint Basil’s Cathedral. It is no longer a church but now a museum.

The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral.

The Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed, commonly known as Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

As part of the program of state atheism, the church was confiscated from the Russian Orthodox community as part of the Soviet Union’s anti-theist campaigns and has operated as a division of the State Historical Museum since 1928.

Me admiring Saint Basil's Cathedral.

Me admiring Saint Basil’s Cathedral.

After visiting the cathedral I went to the exclusive shopping mall next to the Red Square known as the Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin (GUM). With the collapse of communism, nowadays the GUM is very exclusive and the rich and famous shop here for top end fashions and jewellery.

Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin (GUM) known as the State Department Store.

Glavnyi Universalnyi Magazin (GUM) known as the State Department Store.

I was looking at the exclusive yellow diamonds at Tiffany and Co. I was considering getting my auntie a yellow diamond pendant. I was quoted 14,000 Euros. On my army salary I will have to save a while.

It was now getting dark and I wanted to see the Red Square at night. The colour scheme of Saint Basil’s Cathedral is best seen by night.

Saint Basil's Cathedral at night.

Saint Basil’s Cathedral at night.

After dinner, I went to the Kremlin for my first meeting with President Putin. I told him that he must not invade the Ukraine. He then pour his glass of water over my cotton fur and walked out of the conference. I have to be more diplomatic tomorrow at the next scheduled meeting.

With my failure at the first day of the peace talks, I decided to get drunk and visit a brothel.

I went to a exclusive gentlemen's club.

I went to a exclusive gentlemen’s club.

To be continued….

For more information about Russia please visit:

http://www.visitrussia.org.uk