Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Our Journey Home

We ended our wonderful holiday off with 3 days in Dubai and I thought I would share some of the extremes that this country is. It is an amazing sky scrapper filled city in the middle of a dessert with every conceivable comfort that any modern city has to offer, an extraordinary feat by those who have built this metropolis literally in the middle of a dessert.

Taxiing  along the runway at Crete on our way home out last glimpses of this ancient island

Some of the islands and islets counting to approx. 6,000 that make up the necklace chain of islands off Greece 

Our first views of Athens Greece

Landing in Athens for our brief stop over before flying onto Dubai
Taxiing along the runway in Athens on our way to Dubai

Last glimpses of Athens

Sunset from the skys

Our home in Dubai
Dubai is a city in the United Arab Emirates. The emirate of Dubai is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that make up the country. It has the largest population in the UAE (2,106,177) and the second-largest land territory by area (4,114 km2) after Abu Dhabi. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the only two emirates to have veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country's legislature. The city of Dubai is located on the emirate's northern coastline and heads up the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area.

The earliest mention of Dubai is in 1095 AD, and the earliest recorded settlement in the region dates from 1799. The Sheikhdom of Dubai was formally established in 1833 by Sheikh Maktoum bin Butti Al-Maktoum when he persuaded around 800 members of his tribe of the Bani Yas, living in what was then the Second Saudi State and now part of Saudi Arabia, to follow him to the Dubai Creek by the Abu Falasa clan of the Bani Yas. It remained under the tribe's control when the United Kingdom agreed to protect the Sheikhdom in 1892 and joined the nascent United Arab Emirates upon independence in 1971 as the country's second emirate. Its strategic geographic location made the town an important trading hub and by the beginning of the 20th century, Dubai was already an important regional port.

Today, Dubai has emerged as a cosmopolitan metropolis that has grown steadily to become a global city and a business and cultural hub of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf region. It is also a major transport hub for passengers and cargo. Although Dubai's economy was historically built on the oil industry, the emirate's Western-style model of business drives its economy with the main revenues now coming from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events. The city has become symbolic for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, such as the world's tallest Burj Khalifa, in addition to ambitious development projects including man-made islands, hotels, and some of the largest shopping malls in the region and the world.

On our first day in Dubai we visited the Mall of the Emirates which was just a couple of doors from our unit.
The shopping resort opened in September 2005 this 223,000 square metre centre offers a full range of shopping, leisure, and entertainment. Features 520 international brands, including department, fashion, lifestyle, sports, electronics and home furnishing stores and the largest Carrefour (supermarket) in the city. It includes a Magic Planet family entertainment area, a 14-screen multiplex cinema, the world-renowned Ski Dubai, a five star Kempinski Hotel, The Pullman Dubai Hotel, the Mall's 500-seat DUCTAC community theatre and accompanying arts centre, and over 85 coffee shops and restaurants. Welcoming over 31 million visitors per year, thanks to its burgeoning reputation amongst residents and tourists alike.


On our second day we went to Deira City Centre which first opened its doors in November 1995. At the time, it virtually redefined the concept of "malls" for the region. As the first large-scale, mixed-use shopping destination, complete with retail outlets, restaurants, entertainment facilities and a hotel.

Encompassing over 115,000 square metres of retail space and features over 370 retail stores and services. Its entertainment facilities include Magic Planet, one of the region's most popular indoor family entertainment centres; VOX Cinemas, an 11-screen cinema multiplex with 3,000 seats, as well as Bowling City. The Centre also provides direct access to the 5-star City Centre Hotel & Residence, managed by Pullman. The Centre also features the MAF Tower, an 11-storey office building. One of the most successful shopping malls in the world. With average annual footfall traffic in excess of 20 million for both residents and tourists alike.

We caught the Metro from our unit

Once we arrived at the centre we walked through to the fountain and the Burj Khalifa Tower which is situation in the centre of downtown Dubai. At over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) and more than 160 stories, Burj Khalifa holds the following records: Tallest building in the world, Tallest free-standing structure in the world, Highest number of stories in the world, Highest occupied floor in the world, Highest outdoor observation deck in the world, Elevator with the longest travel distance in the world and the Tallest service elevator in the world. The contrast of these vast buildings and shopping centres set in the midst of the dessert where there is no grass or trees and just bare sand, unless planted by the complexes themselves is one that coming from Australia is very hard to get use to.

We then jumped aboard the Metro again to see the downtown Dubai area. You can get a feel of how desolate the land is looking at the power station which is directly across the road from the shopping centre with it's themed sections covering different countries significant to the Dubai.

One of the power stations
On our last day we headed for IBN Battuta Mall, the world’s largest themed shopping mall and a must see experience in Dubai. Uniquely designed to celebrate the travels of the famous Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta, he set off to journey the world at the age of 20 and soon became acknowledged as a scholar and a man of great wisdom. The exciting mix of over 275 retailers, 50 restaurants and food outlets, 21 cinema screens including the UAE’s only IMAX theatre are all found amongst the Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India and China themed sections of the mall.

Inside IBN Battuta Mall Dubai  

The photos do no justice to the splendour of the mosiacs

It would be easy to think that you were at Disneyland not in a suburban shopping centre

It was then time to final return to our homeland Australia after 4 1/2 months away. As we soared into the sky's over Dubai we glimpsed the last sights of the city.

Sunrise over Australia

The mountains catch the first rays of the sun as the clouds start to dissolve

Home safe and sound after an amazing journey through land of such culture and history, our lives have been enriched and our souls have so much to process and meld into the cauldron of our essence. Today's message I received from the seemed so fitting as I sit in the silence of the house after all the comings and going, sights and tastes of life, it is now time to sit and ponder on my path and journey from here and what will make my soul sing and my heart radiate love to the world. This is the beginning of my life from this point and where do I wish it to take me, who do I wish it to include, what do I wish to do. I will leave you with these thoughts. Namaste

"Most living things belong to a particular soul group and are born knowing their purpose in life. An animal will spend its day foraging for food, taking care of itself and its young, and creating a home. No one tells an animal to do this, yet it instinctively knows how. Humans, for the most part, are not born consciously knowing what their purpose is.

Purpose gives our life meaning. When you discover your purpose, you can live your life with intention and make choices that serve your objective for why you are here on the planet. Finding your purpose is not always easy. You must embrace life wholeheartedly, explore many different pathways, and allow yourself to grow.

Your purpose is as unique as you are and will evolve as you move through life. You don’t need anyone’s permission to fulfill your purpose, and no one can tell you what that purpose is. Finding and fulfilling your purpose can be a lifelong endeavor. To figure out what your purpose is, ask yourself what drives you – not what forces you out of bed in the morning, but what makes you glad to be alive. Make a list of activities that you wish you were involved in or think about a career path that you would love to embark upon. These are the endeavors that can help you fulfill your purpose and bring you the most satisfaction.

Picture yourself working on projects that don’t interest you or fulfill your purpose, yet they help satisfy your basic survival needs. Imagine how living this way each day would make you feel. Next, picture yourself devoting your time to projects that spark your imagination, inspire, excite, and satisfy you. More often than not, these activities are some of the ways that you can fulfill your life purpose. Time spent on these endeavors will never feel like a waste. Live your life with purpose, and you will feel significant and capable because every action you take and each choice you make will have meaning to it."