Here's a selection of shots taken here and there during a recent trip to Dubai. I should point out that this is by no means a balanced and representative view of this extraodinary city. I was limited both geographically and for time with my camera, so these are all taken within a 10 minute walk of the Downtown area, where we stayed.
Dubai is a city designed for cars. Sheik Zayed Road that runs parallel to the coast is 12 lanes wide in parts, and always busy. Nobody seems to walk anywhere in particular, even the quarter mile from hotel to shopping centre necessitates a cab ride. Taxis are cheap and abundant. Unless you're in a hurry, in which case they are nowhere to be found.
Building work, which has slowed dramatically since 2008, still continues apace.
The staggering Burj Khalifa is the world's tallest building. By some distance.
Out hotel was attached to Dubai Mall, the world's largest shopping centre. In one of the numerous vast atria, thousands of paper butterflies dangled from the ceiling, accentuating the gigantic airy volume.
Crowds gather at dusk to shop, eat, watch the dancing fountains, and compare designer handbags
The Burj Khalifa is mind-bogglingly tall, but it is an undeniably elegant design, turning and twisting its way sinuously towards the heavens.
That said, Dubai doesn't really go for boring skyscrapers in the traditional sense - the skyline reflects a more innovative and creative vision, with twists, curves, scoops, deep dramatic slashes and generally wild architectural abandon.
Bling is everywhere. The cars are ridiculous. Jeremy Clarkson would love it.
As night falls, the city becomes ever busier, traffic haring around, and backing up.
Things we didn't see:
Anyone praying or appearing remotely devout (garb aside)
Police or any other uniformed service, including the military
Homeless people or beggars
Public arguments, or even mild disagreement
Nudity or pornography
Museums, galleries, exhibitions, shows, or other signs of creative or artistic endeavour
Bit weird and sterile then...?
Disneyland for grown-ups
But that building - it's hard to drag your eyes away.