Dubai by boat and rail
03.06.2011 - 03.06.2011 42 °C
Now that we are into our last 2 weekends here we really started turning on the sightseeing jets. On Friday (the first day of our weekend) we boarded the Dubai Ferry (looks more like an upscale tour boat) for a trip down and out of the marina area and then up and along the coastline, through the Palm Jumeriah, past the Burj Al Arab and up along the coast past the shipyards and finally up into the Dubai Creek - all places we have visited by car but not seen from the water side. The trip takes almost 2 hours and cost about $13 each. What they call Dubai Creek is a large inlet that extends probably 5-7 km inland, where there is lots of shipping traffic. It is far from what we would normally call a creek.
The Dubai Ferry - a sleek craft which carries 100 passengers.
Inside the Ferry it looks like this. This is the "Silver" class section - the Gold Class is up front and looks a bit like business class in a plane complete with very large chairs and side tables.
We left the marina area where we also happen to be living and all its skyscrapers...
Went out to the Arabian Gulf and up past the JBR - Jumeriah Beach Residences - all those sand colored buildings are the JBR and the little white building on the right is the Sheraton. There are a number of big name hotels in the same complex.
We headed away from land and over towards the Palm Jumeriah development with all of its resorts and upscale housing developments. Here are a couple of the homes at the end of one of the palm fronds. They reminded us a bit of some of the gorgeous homes on the canals in Ft. Lauderdale. These all have spectacular beachfront and it is all open - no fences.
We passed in front of the beautiful Atlantis Resort and got a look at its waterfront as well.
We next passed the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab - the 7 star hotel with the helipad at the top on the other side - see previous blog.
and the wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel which is right next to it. There are so many hotels and resorts with "Jumeirah" in them that it is VERY easy to get confused.
We continued on up and into the Dubai Creek where the ferry docked. Now it was our task to find our way back home which must be a good 25 km away. We had been told it was very easy - just take a water bus (another part of the excellent Municipal transit system) across the creek and then walk over to the Metro Station and catch the Metro back to the Marina. They were absolutely correct - it was not only easy, it was very inexpensive.
We boarded the water bus - this is what it looked like on the inside - it would carry about 30 passengers.
We walked about 5 minutes over to the Metro Station. It was a welcome relief to get into the air conditioned comfort and out of the 40+ degree heat. Here is what it looked like inside as we were waiting for the train. Even the floors are done in beautiful inlaid patterns of stone.
The system mostly runs a hight elevated track system that follows the main arterial roads but there are parts particularly in the older part of the city that run underground like a conventional subway. The trains are electronically controlled and driverless although they do have conductors who roam between the cars checking your pass.
You initially buy a metropass card at one of the ticket booths at any of the stations. You then load it with however much money you want to put on it. There are no cash fares, it is electronic card or nothing Fares vary with how many zones you go through and they are very inexpensive - especially if you go silver class instead of gold class. Yes they even have "Business Class" on the Metro. Business Class is the front car of the train and has big comfortable seats like an aircraft with little fold down tables. Gold Class is about double the cost of Silver Class but is still cheaper than the Toronto subway. When you walk into a station you pass your Metro card over the card reader at the electronic turnstyle and it opens and lets you go through. If the conductor is in your car she/he may ask to see your pass, especially if you are riding in the Gold class car. When your ride is completed and you go to exit the station you pass through another turnstyle with a card reader. It reads your card, calculates your fare in accordance with how many zones you travelled and deducts that amount from your electronic account on your card. The card reader also displays how much your fare for that trip was and how much money is remaining on your card. It is truly a marvel of electronics. The trains are super modern, clean and comfortable. They are also very quiet so must ride on rubber tires or something similar. We had been given a couple of "gold" cards so we travelled in the gold coach which is first car of the train. The second car is for women and children and the last 3 are the silver class.
The trip was quiet, clean and fast and we were back to our departure point to pick up our car and do a quick shopping trip. Tomorrow we are going to make the 120 km treck down the highway to Abu Dhabi to visit the Grand Mosque and Dave's friend Kevin Fearn and his wife Donna.