Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dubai Global Village

Lanterns in the Turkish section of Dubai Global Village
Another fun thing to do when the weather is good in Dubai is head out to Global Village.  Located off of Emirates Road, Global Village is a kind of amusement park, market and festival.  It only runs a few months a year in winter, and is usually close to the Shopping Festival.  It brings together traditions and goods from many countries and cultures around the world.  There are also shows with local dances from each country, different foods to try and many rides and games for the kids - and big kids too.  

A painter in the African market of Dubai Global Village

My favorite part is the market.  Each country has a market in a different section with several vendors.  There are so many countries participating that I have still never been able to make it through all the countries.  

There are a few I do not miss.  The Turkish market is always crowded - great olives, cheese and Turkish goods.  They also had some good looking lahmacun and live music this year.  

Spices at the Global Village in Dubai

There is also one honey for "married only".  My husband was out at the rides with my son while I shopped, so the vendor would not let me taste any!  I don't know what the big deal is because I am married. The honey claims to be a miracle cure.  According to the description, it could cure any reproductive ailment you could think of - both male and female! Move over Dr. Oz, I've found the next cure-all!  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Dubai Camel Races

Last week I finally got to see the camel races in Dubai at the Al Marmoom camel racetrack.  For those of you in Dubai, this is located just after the Rugby Sevens stadium on the Al Ain road.  It is not well marked, so it is easy to miss.

The beauty of this experience is that it is not that crowded, the venue is nice and casual, and you can get close to the action.  The track is 8 kilometers long, which is just under 5 miles.  It took the camels a good 12 minutes or more to finish this.   There are two small televisions in the stands for the handlers to watch how their camels are doing.

A jeep with a camera follows the camels as they run to record the race.  There are several other jeeps that follow the camels with what I assume are the guys who control the “robots” on the camels.

Robots are the result of international protest.  Young boys used to jockey the camels until a few years ago.  The robot has a whip on it, and what seems like pockets for walkie-talkies.

If you are ever in Dubai during this time, I highly recommend a visit to the camel races.  It was a great experience.

During the regular season, races typically run twice a week – 7am and 2pm.  If you cannot get there at that time exactly, based on my experience, there are plenty of races so you can still enjoy it if you are running late.

The camel jockeys are ready to go!

Long necks cannot get out of the gate quick enough

And they're off!

There is one camel with a human jockey on it.  He is just the starter.
He runs with them for a few seconds, and once they are on their way he turns back to help start the next race.

After the race, the camels head back to their pens

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mubadala World Tennis Championship - Abu Dhabi

Djokovic at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, Abu Dhabi
December 2012

Just a few days before the new year, we ventured to Abu Dhabi for the Mubadala World Tennis Championships.  We have been to the Dubai tennis tournament a few times since living here, but never to Abu Dhabi.

The Abu Dhabi tournament is equally as good, if not better.  The payout is much less, and more importantly the results do not effect rankings.  As a result, the players were more relaxed and put on quite a show.

When we arrived, Ferrer was playing Tipsarevic.  Ferrer won, but it was a close game.  We then got to witness the final between the world's top ranked Djokovic and number 11 Almagro.  Djokovic won a very exciting and entertaining match.

Here are a few shots of the action.

Ferrer at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, Abu Dhabi
December 2012.  He moves so quickly, he was often a blur in my images.

"Tennis Meets Matrix".
Tipsarevic playing against Ferrar at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship,
Abu Dhabi, December 2012.
Almagro playing Djokovic in the Mubadala, Abu Dhabi finals.  

Djokovic playing Almagro in the Mubadala World Tennis Championship Finals, Abu Dhabi
December 2012


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

Burj Khalifa did it again.  We were witness to another great New Year show in Dubai.  Like last year, we opted to stay in and enjoy the scenes from our balcony.

In theory, it seems like a good idea to venture out to the desert or somewhere to the heart of the action to get some different shots.  But in reality, we enjoy watching it from the comfort of our home with good friends.

I think my son (who much to my surprise was still awake with his friends to witness it) pretty much summed it up when he shouted "I love you Burj Khalifa!" during the show.  So do we.

I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2013!  Happy New Year!

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE, NY 2013

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE, NY 2013

Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE, NY 2013 - After the fireworks
As far as the shots above, I did not do too much to them outside of correcting the lens distortion.  I used what is often referred to as "light painting", which is basically just a slower shutter speed.  The first two were at 10 seconds, f/13, while the last one was an experiment at 20 seconds, f/4.