Dubai

Burj Khalifa

Dubai’s kind of a weird place.

It’s one of the richest cities in the world, home to the tallest building in the world (the Burj Khalifa, at 830m/2200 feet) and the biggest mall in the world (the Dubai Mall, with 1,200 shops, an aquarium, and an Olympic-sized skating rink). It’s one immense construction site, but at the cost of serious human rights abuses among those who are doing the building. Before 1970, it was just a small – and poor – fishing and pearl-diving village. Now it’s one of the planet’s “world cities.”

Never mind. Even weird places offer opportunities to run.

Like Amsterdam, this was a stopover – just a couple of days before setting out on a cruise. So, of necessity, my run started and ended at our hotel. The hotel (a Holiday Inn Express, no less) was between the “old” city and the “new” downtown, along a busy stretch of road on the way to Jumeirah Beach.

Jumeirah Road

It was an interesting piece of road. I passed a big construction site in the first 500m (for the upcoming Etihad Museum, designed by Canadian architects Moriyama & Teshima), then moved into a mixed retail and residential neighbourhood. On the way, I passed the elegant Jumeirah Mosque, where, the following day, we attended an “Open Hearts, Open Minds” presentation. As I approached the mosque, I heard the call to prayer, which I’ve always found a lovely experience when visiting Muslim countries.

Jumeirah Grand Mosque

My turnaround point for the run was just passed the Dubai Zoo, with its pungent smells and sounds of animals large and small behind its walls. Then it was back along the same route to the hotel. The run, which I did in my Bedrock Syncline 1.0 sandals, took about an hour. Temperature was about 18C (it was, after all, winter in Dubai).

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