The many faces of Dubai

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More photos that I took from Dubai. By now, you might have some misconception that Dubai is this really huge extravagant city with new construction projects everyday, one colossal skyscraper threatening to outdo the other. I was curious about the place, I wanted to explore more. What is the real Dubai? Or rather, is there a different Dubai aside from the luxurious hotels, beautiful private beaches, huge malls I've seen during the first few days of the film festival?



Things were too pricey, that's why I asked some volunteers of the festival to recommend me places where I can buy the cheapest stuff in the city. He immediately suggested the Diera City Center, which is downtown. One day, after breakfast, dad and I decided to take a bus to Diera. The journey was nearly 45 minutes, and the further we moved away from Madinat Jumeirah, which was obviously an upscale area of the city, with its numerous grand hotels and the like, the more I saw a different face of Dubai. I call it different, and not ugly, nor poor, because that would be condescending. After all, areas like this have its charms, it's like comparing the Starhill area and Petaling Street.

Diera City Center, Dubai

Diera City Center, Dubai 2

Old building at Diera, Dubai

Apartment building at Diera


Despite being a very common sight in Tokyo, I've only spotted one vending machine in Dubai. So it was important to take a photo of it too.

Vending machine in Diera


Ultimately, I realized I made a mistake when I asked the volunteer to recommend me a good place to buy cheap things. I should have rephrased my question, I wanted cheap SOUVENIRS, and Diera wasn't really a tourist spot. Clothes were sold at unbelievably cheap prices, but I was looking for T-shirts with the word 'Dubai' on it. No such luck!

A man cycling through Diera

A few people chillin' at Diera

People at Diera

Bus passing by Diera

Plane flying past Diera


Back in Madinat Jumeirah (translated as 'City of Jumeirah'), the place continued wowing me with its insane extravagance.

One day I decided to follow the other filmmakers, Richard Legaspi (from Philippines), Akjoltoy Bekbolotov (from Kyrgyzstan) and Adilkhan Yerzhanov (from Kazakhstan) to the Koubba Bar at Al Qasr hotel. One can choose to walk there from the film fest HQ, or even cooler, take the boat. Venice what?

Taking the boat to Al Qasr

A water taxi in the sunset

On the way to Al Qasr

With Filipino filmmaker Richard Legaspi
With Filipino filmmaker Richard Legaspi

Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan filmmakers Akjoltoy Bekbolotov and Adilkhan Yerzhanov, on the boat
Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan filmmakers, Akjoltoy Bekbolotov (on the left) and Adilkhan Yerzhanov (on the right)

Scenery at the waterway

Buildings of Madinat Jumeirah 2

Scenery at the waterway 2


The view from the Kouba Bar was pretty breathtaking.

The view from Koubba Bar

Me, Adilkhan Yerzhanovand Richard Legaspi


Spending most of the time watching movies in the cinema during the festival, I think that was the one and only day when I got to see the sunset in Dubai.

Sunset in Dubai


I went back to Al Qasr later in the night to have dinner with dad, when I crossed the bridge, a man asked whether I want to let him take a photo of us standing at the beach, with the night scenery behind us. I politely declined, after all, I could just snap the photo myself despite having a much inferior camera (though it was still quite blurry...).

Burj Al Arab at night


This is the Madinat Arena, the film festival headquarters. This is the place where most red carpet events and major screenings were held. Quite a grand sight. (note, two following photos were taken a night before we went off to Diera)

Madinat Arena at night

Dad and I, in front of the Madinat Arena at night


All right, the next posts will definitely be about the films I saw at the festival!