Within presentations and reports for work, I try to make the boring text and numbers a little more interesting. In the main, I use photos of terminals, tank farms and refineries from a distance; but I also like using shots from a nearby town. Last year I used an image of Sur in Oman when discussing the LNG terminal located there. It gave the people who don’t leave the office a feeling for where our equipment ends up around the world.
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I returned last night from a very frustrating trip to Dubai. I’ve always known integrity is rare in the business world; now I add decisiveness. People are so busy covering their backs. Half – if not more – of their energy is invested in avoiding decisions. Result in our case: A year’s work – of putting small pieces together for a business deal – fell apart yesterday because of one man. He was born without a spine.
Anyway, this is a positive blog, and positive it shall remain. My meeting was in Jebel Ali and I had to rent a car to go in. I therefore had some free time in the afternoon, and for the first time in Dubai I had a car. I’ve driven there before, but I was stuck often there with colleagues. Non-photographers are not as patient when, say, we’re waiting for the sun to be at exactly the right angle…
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A short hop to Dubai for a day. I didn’t bring my camera this time, so it’s another old photo I’m afraid. You can tell from the columns on the left bank of the road. These are now the supports for the metro track, which is almost complete including stations. The photo above was taken in February 2008.
Dubai is still quiet – but the queue for the taxis at the airport was unbelievably long.
From 30,000 feet, a dust storm is rather beautiful. That’s what we should do in fact: we should build stations high up where the weather is both cooler and dust-free. Just look at that blue sky!
Even dust seems to produce beauty: I love the view above – taken from our cruising altitude. Dubai wasn’t anywhere near as dusty as Kuwait – but it was a ‘yellow’ journey from start to finish. Below are a few shots from the trip, starting with the airport, Dubai, the ‘World’ and Kuwait.
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Dubai is awake again. Whilst it’s still not to the Dubai I knew before the recession, there are plenty of positive signs. I used the Sheikh Zayed road to measure the activity level on a previous trip. This time I was actually stuck in traffic on a few occasions. There are still unfinished buildings with no obvious signs of any work in progress; but roads, shops and restaurants are reasonably busy. With the summer heat, malls feel busier and I’m told hotels are taking more and more bookings for the summer.
Work-wise, some of the projects previously on hold have been dusted off and are taking shape – even if only on paper. In all my meetings, I sensed a readiness to do business again.
I hope this continues and I wish Dubai all the best.
I’m in Dubai again today. Although I thought I had imagined it last time, the place is really very quiet. The airport was virtually empty with no queues for immigration and taxis. The roads are, in Dubai’s standard, deserted!
The above is a view that I’m very familiar with. I stay at this hotel many times during the year. The main road, Sh Zayed Road, usually has bumper-to-bumper traffic most of the day – and the early part of the night. The swimming pool is always, and I do mean always, so busy that I never thought of going down for a quick swim. During the busy afternoon time on a glorious sunny day, there were four people there.
I’m sure Dubai will pick up again. I pray it’s soon. They deserve it with all the hard work that has gone into it.
I visit Dubai almost monthly and I’ve never seen it this quiet. The airport, the roads, the shops and restaurants – all seem to be looking for disappearing trade. Taking into account the financial crisis around the world, and how much Dubai relies on foreign trade, it’s not a surprise. The place has been exploding into something much larger than its own foundations, and this was simply unsustainable.
There are challenges and many projects are being shelved, but this is a breathing time for Dubai that is well overdue. There is also a shy positive feeling when you talk to business leaders. I saw a manufacturing company, a petroleum terminal manager and a banker. All agreed that this is not a collapse but a correction. A correction that Dubai has needed for some time. A moment for reflection to avoid going too far (more than now).
Signs of progress are as visible as the cancelled projects. I saw a train moving on the tracks at Sh Zayed Road. On Monday, there was a visit by the leader of the UAE to all the major Dubai projects. It was a clear signal to the region, and the world, that Abu Dhabi stands behind what Dubai is doing. Sure, they will probably buy a nice portion of it, but I hope it’s a clear indicator that this magnificent ship on the Gulf will continue to sail.
A short trip again. This time to Doha.
Last time I was in Qatar was just before the Museum of Islamic Art opened. It was very frustrating and I hope I can make it up this time. I will hopefully have 2-3 hours free between meetings. Can’t wait…
Photograph above was taken at Dubai airport last week.
It’s been a while since I’ve been to Dubai. I will be going there a few times over the next month or two. This doesn’t mean I haven’t stopped there on the way, or the way back, from somewhere. I suppose anyone with wings has to stop there at some point.
I managed to catch a glimpse of Sh. Zayed Road from the air very early this morning. You can see Emirates Towers if you open the larger version.
My travel agent had told me that the only direct flight to Muscat yesterday was KLM. I arrived at my gate and saw an Oman Air flight parked at the gate next door. It was bound for Muscat and even taking off a few minutes before the KLM flight!
While waiting for my blood pressure to drop back to 3 and 2 digits, I asked the suit by the gate entrance, and he assured me that I had made a better choice. The Oman air flight stops at Dubai on the way!
The national carrier of Oman doesn’t have direct flight to Muscat from Kuwait – but the Royal Dutch Airlines does. Crazy world!
I haven’t had a chance to see Abu Dhabi. This is my second trip here and the photograph sums up my experience of this changing city. I zoom around from meeting to meeting and back to the hotel in the evening for a flight the next day.
I am so impressed by how much is happening in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In Kuwait, we have new towns and towers being built. In these two cities, cities are being built within them. I am a little concerned about who will fill these buildings? but impressive is too weak a word to describe the progress.
Driving out of Abu Dhabi, I saw Khalifa City. This is four phases of houses after houses and more. The other side of the highway has office blocks and apartment buildings. Malls and leisure facilities are all around. Huge road bridges connecting the two sides are being constructed. Reem Island is another massive development with everything that you can imagine (and some that you can’t). Good luck Abu Dhabi.
My absolute favorite sight today was the Grand Mosque. The driver was going fast so I couldn’t get a good shot. It’s definitely on my list of photographs for my next trip. I hope I get more time.
With my telephone connection finally fixed, I can do some catching up…
Last time I went to Dubai, I stayed at the Crowne Plaza in Festival City. I am rarely impressed by hotel rooms and their decor, especially with modern builds. However this was a little different. The room/toilet are small, but by using a glass wall in the middle, it fealt like I was staying in a suite.
This is my view from the hotel which I captured during my February visit. I’m staying at the same room again.
With my new job I’m travelling to or through Dubai quite often. There is no doubt in my mind about how much this emirate has achieved in the past 10-15 years. I don’t want to say that I like everything about the place, but my god can we learn a thing or two!
On an official tour-bus of the city, they mention how in the 1970s, Dubai took loans from Abu Dhabi and Kuwait for Medical and Educational spending. Today the story is very different. 92% of Dubai’s GDP is non-oil based.
Think about what we’ve been doing in the past 20 years…. or more importantly what we’ve not been doing.
Well done Dubai. I wish you more of this well-deserved success.