Dubai Marina by night

Dubai saves the best for last.

Forget the Khalifa tower you saw some time ago. Yes, it’s the biggest thing ever and yes, all tourists have the obligation to take a selfie with it in the background. Never mind that. I discovered the best things about this city by venturing into the Dubai Marina. I was expecting a simple bay with a pier with hundreds of stores and stands. But what I saw was the future Manhattan. Parts of Manhattan. Just a sliver. Goddamn, there’s not enough time to see it all!

The sun was still shining when I was taking my first photo in the Marina. Great place, great view, but I was waiting for the night. That would prove fruitless.

An elegant restaurant. I bought the cookies earlier (I had to try them because you wouldn’t stop telling me to do it. You owe me 50 dollars!) I ordered an espresso and a can of Pepsi and then I sat down on the pavement. I stayed there for two hours, trying to take the perfect picture. My waiter was struggling to take a picture with my iPhone. He almost managed to get me in the shot.

I dabble with the settings, wait for people to move out of the shot, keep waiting… In the meantime, I get to know all of the restaurant’s workers, tell them where I’m from and explain why I seem to be so comfortable sitting on the floor. I didn’t manage to take a better picture than I did during the day and the one I took with my iPhone.

Working with a tripod is challenging. The cars on this road seem to be making attempts to break the world speed record while my camera is standing on a slender wall and I’m praying to god that no speeding sheikh blows it over to the bay.

The red arrow symbolizes where we are today. It’s nearly on the outskirts of Dubai, around 30 kilometers from my hotel. The green arrow also marks a place I was planning to visit. The renowned al-Arab hotel. I saw it from the subway. It’s about a 10 minutes ride from the marina. The orange and green destinations constitute tomorrow’s plan. I’ll go there during the day.

I don’t want to hear anything about the small number of pictures from the Dubai Marina. Taking these photographs took me 5 hours, from 6 p.m. ‘till 11 p.m. I took 389 photos. Most of them ended up in the trash. That’s how I roll. I can wait for a long time for the perfect moment. Alright, enough talking, I’m distracting you from the pictures.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Even the above picture only illustrates about 5% of the Marina. The rest of it looks pretty much the same, but I didn’t have enough time to see it. I’ll probably get back there tomorrow to smoke a hookah for the first time in three years, sit by the water and enjoy the view.

I wish I was staying at a hotel in this neighborhood… Don’t ever repeat my mistake. It’s all about the Marina.

I kind of understand why people have been calling Dubai the ‘city of the future’. And I’m not talking about these few skyscrapers erected in the middle of the desert. I’m talking about a certain futuristic vision. This city is truly ahead of its time and no European capital can even come close. They’ll never catch up, not even in a hundred years. History is coming full circle. In the ancient times, the Mid East had the most awe-inspiring architecture. Though the oil reserves will one day dry up, which the Arabs are well aware of, they will survive thanks to their cities. The wonderful cities we’ll flock to from our old, beautiful, atmospheric, but fairly uncomfortable European cities. I’m not trying to scare you. Cities like this are just so inviting… Especially since, compared to Egypt and Tunisia, the cultural barrier is not as strong.