Dubai: Deira, Expo 2020, and the Burj Khalifa

Dubai! After my first visit I might have said I’d never come back. Here I am again only four years later. An incentive to make it happen this year was certainly the Expo. I have been curious about these world fairs my whole life and had read good reviews of this one.

I stayed in the Dubai Marina area four years earlier. This time Ferda and I based ourselves in the fun lively Deira neighborhood. We were in an area of twisty alleys full of traders buying and selling mostly textiles and clothes it appeared. Every evening Nigerians were out boxing and packing goods to ship off to their own country. According to one Nigerian trader we spoke with the goods from Dubai are cheaper and better quality than what’s available in Nigeria. He said they ship stuff to Ghana as well but mostly Nigeria.

IMG_20220323_173656 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220325_210304 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220324_052108 by bryandkeith on flickr

The nearby Gold Souk is done up for tourists.

IMG_20220323_155246 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220323_160422 by bryandkeith on flickr

What a surprise to pop out of the souk area to water, an inlet from the gulf, I think, and badgirs!

IMG_20220323_183532 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220323_163056 by bryandkeith on flickr

For our first full day in Dubai we had an early long metro ride with one transfer to get to the expo area. We were there when they opened and went straight to the Japan Pavilion which we had heard was one of the best. Doh! Reservations required which we didn’t have (Jennie had warned me).

They did let us into their miniature exhibit which wasn’t so exciting.

Japan pavilion by bryandkeith on flickr

The longest line we waited in was our next stop, Saudi Arabia, another pavilion that came up as many people’s favorite in my research. Theirs along with Brazil and Indonesia were the most disappointing as they touted their environmental credentials in contradiction to all evidence.

We didn’t go into Palestine, but I liked it from the outside:

Palestine pavilion by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220324_181210 by bryandkeith on flickr

After a bit of a poor start, we quite enjoyed our one day at the expo. Our favorites ended up being Pakistan with good films about Pakistan’s religious and geographic diversity, Uzbekistan which was more culturally and historically based rather than nationalistic, and Angola where we learned about Soma Geometry.

Here is Pakistan from the outside:

Pakistan pavilion by bryandkeith on flickr

inside photos of Uzbekistan:

Uzbekistan pavilion by bryandkeith on flickr

and Azerbaijan:

Azerbaijan pavilion by bryandkeith on flickr

and a couple examples of Soma Geometry:

Lusano -- "Usaki Wa Kamba Kanzanga" -- Drawing representing a place in the "usaki" (forest and crop land) where fruits and animals abound.  Angola pavlion by bryandkeith on flickr
Lusona -- "Tshota" -- Drawing representing a "Tshota" (temple building), which the tchokwé erect near the "mutondo wa tshota" (worship tree) when founding a village and which is intended to work as a community centre, court and reception space. Angola pav by bryandkeith on flickr

Iran does not cease to amaze me:

Iran pavilion by bryandkeith on flickr
Iran pavilion by bryandkeith on flickr

Nowruz was just four days before we were there so of course they had a Haft Sin table:

Haft Sin table at the Iran pavilion by bryandkeith on flickr

Ferda and I had a casual last day of our trip before a morning flight back to Antalya. We took the metro to the Dubai Mall in the afternoon, and I admired the Burj Khalifa again. Amazingly I think I liked it even more the second time.

IMG_20220325_165520 by bryandkeith on flickr
IMG_20220325_165223 by bryandkeith on flickr

Certainly one of the highlights of our time in the UAE was the food. We had Gujarati food one night in Deira. There was a Nigerian restaurant in the hotel where we were staying, but for the last night instead of trying that we went to a Pakistani place that was probably the best meal of the trip. The regular sitting at the table next to us was Nigerian so I guess we made the right choice!

Pakistani dinner by bryandkeith on flickr
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2 Responses to Dubai: Deira, Expo 2020, and the Burj Khalifa

  1. Mike Painter says:

    It’s always fun to read of your adventures, past and present!

    • Bryan Keith says:

      Hi Mike,

      That “Expo 2020” is probably pretty confusing. We visited March 2022. The Expo was delayed one year because of covid so instead of happening in winter 2020-21, it was winter 2021-22. It closed at the end of March 2022. The next one will be in Osaka, but I wouldn’t plan a trip around it. It wasn’t that interesting.

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