A few photos of Dubai. Although our stay was brief a few things struck us about Dubai. Yes there is wealth but there are also tens of thousands of people from Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand working in substandard working conditions to keep the whole economy moving. What was most apparent was the disparity of wealth.

Also for example our tour guide’s parents immigrated from Pakistan decades ago. Our guide was born in Dubai, but carried a Pakistani passport with no hope of U.A.E. citizenship. Every two years he would have his passport stamped. That’s okay for now, but conditions change. What happens when they tell his children to go back to Pakistan – a country they have never seen.

Heather – The Burj Khalifa Sunrise
The Burj Khalifa – Tallest Building in the World

154 stories plus nine stories for maintenance.  7,500 skilled workers were employed at the construction site.  Press reports indicated in 2006 that skilled carpenters at the site earned £4.34 a day, and labourers earned £2.84. According to a BBC investigation and a Human Rights Watch report, the workers were housed in abysmal conditions, and worked long hours for low pay.  During construction, only one construction-related death was reported. However, workplace injuries and fatalities in the UAE are “poorly documented”, according to Human Rights Watch. [from Wikipedia]

So – proud of the tallest building in the world?

more photos

Covid 19 & Our Trip to Europe and the Middle East

March 2, 2020 was our departure date from Canada. The next six weeks were to be spent travelling to visit family; son, daughter-in-law and brand new grandson. The plan included London, Cologne, Dubai, Jordan, Oman, the Suez Canal, Greece with a friend, then back to family visiting & home. It looked like a wonderful holiday. Books packed for the time on board ship and ready to go.

In the background the Covid 19 virus was on the move.

Alas most of the trip was not to be.

Completing our family visit in Cologne to see our much awaited grandchild and his parents, on March 11, we headed to Frankfurt to catch our Middle East Airlines [MEA] flight to Dubai via Beirut. From the time of our booking in December the Covid 19 virus had grown steadily.

Uncertain whether to go, I contacted the cruise’s agent. Would they consider a refund given the state of the world in relation to the Covid 19 virus. The answer was a firm no, in spite of the fact that many cruise lines were offering postponements, refunds etc. Given the response of other cruise lines we found their response irresponsible. They were clearly placing money ahead of their guests’ well being.

Whether the cruise was cancelled or not we committed ourselves to visiting Dubai and if need be flying back to Frankfurt if the situation got completely out of hand. So off we went.

We chose Middle East Airlines [MEA] because they offered a reasonable fare and we did not have to fuss around with annoying baggage fees, paying to sit together, pretzels as a meal etc. They have a very generous baggage allowances, allowing two checked bags for the price of each ticket. They did not disappoint. The meal was good, the service was good, the flight was comfortable. And so it was after changing planes in Beirut, we arrived in Dubai about 0200 hours.

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