I arrive in Dubai at lunchtime. Excitingly, the Dubai metro was opened since I was last here, so I have the opportunity for a ride. It's actually pretty good. Slick and convenient for most of my journey. I only have a short walk at the end, conveniently through the Mall of the Emirates.

At least, that's what I thought. Actually, it's quite a long walk when you're carrying two holiday's worth of luggage, you get lost in the mall, and then you discover the Novotel Mall of the Emirates isn't actually in the same block as the mall. And that's where it starts getting complex.

laterooms confirmed my booking and then neglected to let Novotel know about it. Result: Thanks to them, I'm in Dubai on New Year's Eve with no hotel room booked. It's a nervous wait while the hotel has a rummage and eventually pulls an accessible room out of their back pocket.

Later on, I wander back towards the metro. As I purchase my return ticket, the queue is looking menacingly substantial. It's a long, carefully regulated wait to get on the metro back toward the Burj Khalifa.

There are already thousands of people milling around when I get there. Most of them in the metro station. The crush starts on the platform and crawls agonisingly towards the exit. It takes a good half hour to reach it, and then I can start walking relatively easily towards the Burj. I've no idea where I'm going, but by coincedence I manage to get a reasonable spot to watch the fireworks. They're spectacular, if a little unimaginative in the way they use the tower.

The queue on the way back is staggering though.

I get a pretty good start as the fireworks end, but even so I can quickly see that there's no point in trying to use the Burj Khalifa station. I walk a mile down the track to the Business Bay station, and I'm one of the last people in the station before they lock the doors.

This place is a menace too, but at least the crush is moving. A few feet every ten minutes or so. After maybe an hour, I get close enough to see that what I assumed was the ticket barrier, is in fact just a barrier. I have the option of jumping it or getting crushed. I do feel bad about doing it though.

The train, when it arrives is freakishly empty. Looks like the metro staff are severely limiting the rate of people getting on.

Next morning, I have an appointment scheduled.

The Burj Khalifa station is a little more sane in the morning sunlight. I'm going up the world's highest building, which means starting in the Dubai Mall, next door.

The observation deck isn't actually that high up. It's about 2/3rds of the way, and not as high as the CN Tower. However it is outside in part, and that's enough to freak me out slightly.

Dubai is clear with only a little haze so the view is excellent. Unfortunately the glass isn't and the outdoor section doesn't quite face in the right direction. All in all, it's a successful visit.

I just about have time to invest in some camera bits before it's time to get on the metro for the last time, for my flight home. Emirates have thoughtfully laid on an A380 for the handful of people making the journey.

Posted Sat Jan 1 00:00:00 2011 Tags: Dubai

Dubai is everything you could possibly want from an oil emirate. The city is populated by any number of glass-and-steel towers, many of them finished. The newly opened metro runs along the main road in from the airport with stations perched over the line like golden shields.

During a break from the meeting, I get a tour of the Palm Jumeirah, one of Dubai's three palm-shaped residential developments reclaimed from the sea. I've seen it before through the power of Google Satellite, but that doesn't bring home the scale of the place.

Posted Thu Nov 5 00:00:00 2009 Tags: Dubai

So it's off to Dubai this afternoon with Saudi Arabian Airlines. We leave from Saudia's flagship terminal in their home city, which reminds me mostly of one of the tinpot Greek island airports. Dubai International, on the other hand, is vast sprawling and shiny. I even get the most grudging "Welcome to Dubai" possible from passport control.

In a clear example of poor planning, we engage a car to take us to the hotel and discover that it's across the road from the airport.

Posted Wed Nov 4 00:00:00 2009 Tags: Dubai