Before heading off to Dubai of course I had checked online concerning the touristry places over there in other to get myself acquainted with the place. Nothing I saw online prepared me for the beauty I was presented with at the Dubai Marina.
We arrived at the Dubai Marina Yacht Club area at about 7 pm (Dubai time) but our cruise/dinner wasn’t to start until about 8 pm.
Since I had time on my hands, I decided to loiter around and see what there is to see.
The place was more beautiful than I had expected. The sight was breathtaking. Beautiful and glittering colored lights everywhere on the buildings.
From coffee shops to mini stores and mighty skyscrapers, lights abound. Even uncompleted buildings and their cranes were also lighted up. “This is a photographers paradise” I exclaimed. A delight of a place.
I saw boats/yachts of various sizes and types all lighted up.
There was music of all sorts playing in the air and this mixed up with the Muslim call to prayer from a well-decorated Mosque nearby. People of all nations were here. Some jogging, some walking, a good number just sitting and chatting and enjoying the view. Tourists, photographers, families just to mention a few. Some just sat in family groups eating and having fun/family time. Others breaking their fast as this was the Ramadan period.
I saw lovers walking and talking here and there. Their romance seemed to mix well with the colorful glitter from the Marina.“This is a happy atmosphere” I mused . No one disturbed the other yet everyone seems to be doing his own thing. I saw people who chose to be alone. Meditating as they stared into space. Name it, the young, the old, the weak, the strong, everyone, every religion, all the people groups blended into one human happy family.
Though already overwhelmed by the beauty of the place, I noticed as it got darker, the landscape, buildings, colors/lights became more intense (contrasty). Sparkling colors on the waters (liquid beauty I called it). Colors on the buildings. Everywhere became a medley of sweet colors. Boats with colorful lightning and decorations conveying various people around the Marina were sailing everywhere.
This is a place of joy.
People were eating, singing and dancing on these boats. It’s like every boat, building, (just like most places in Dubai) was determined to outdo each other in decorations, colorful lightings, displays just to mention a few.
“I have to document all this quickly” the thought struck me. “As who knows when I would be here again” .
I was getting confused. Which should I do first? Video or taking pictures? Suddenly, it dawned on me that I didn’t bring my Tripod stand with me. I left it behind at the hotel and now, I wouldn’t be able to do the long exposure shots I had planned to do. Why, why….? Panic, anger…
I started taking pictures and noticed I was doing it in haste. Also, my shutter speed was too slow and my Tamron 10-24mm lens wasn’t living up to expectation at all in this low light situation. It had performed well at the Dubai Desert. I quickly changed lenses/panic mode reloaded. Out came the 10-24 and in went my 50mm prime. My D5100 Nikon was now happy with the faster glass on it.
I joined the other photo enthusiasts and photographers and went snap, snap till I asked myself “what is this hurry for” ? ( I had to deliberately calm myself down) “These buildings are going nowhere, so stop hurrying. Set your camera well and take worthy shots. (I was into deep soliloquy). If you are a photographer, maybe you will understand why I went into that frenzy feeding mode. Snap, snap, snap I went on with other photographers like me. One minute I was cool and calm, next minute feeding frenzy mode. I took good shots, bad shots, perfect shots. Then, retake it again. By the time we were asked to board our boat, I was already fulfilled. I remember saying to myself that “if this was all I came to Dubai to see, the mission is already accomplished“.
What of my wife?
At this time she was also doing her thing. Having her fun with some Ugandan friends that we met on the tour bus. They were talking about marriage, children, as this two were newlyweds on their honeymoon. (Warning, traveling with a man who has been bitten by the “photography bug” is not wise if you don’t know what to do with yourself). She was actually having fun taking her own shots on her smartphone whilst chatting with her new buddies.
Did I have time to enjoy the scenery apart from taking photographs? The truth is this-Photography is the reason I came here. Many may not understand it like that. This is just me. My sweetheart (Wife) understands this. Photography is my holiday. It’s my fix. If I can’t get the photographs, then the holiday has failed and the money wasted. I am happy my wife understands that so our holiday was not ruined. She was the one who later started pointing out shots I should not miss/video footages I should take.
On board the tour boat, another set of beauty unraveled. The view from being on top of the water facing shore was overwhelmingly. I felt like throwing myself into the water and bathing in its colorful blackness. We were served dinner (buffet style) but I couldn’t settle down to eat it as I grabbed mouthfuls and ran back to taking shots from all angles.
Sailing on the Marina is an indescribable experience. If I had one month, it will not be enough to satisfy my photo desires. Even now, having had time to review my shots, I have regrets. Some shots didn’t turn out right as I had expected.
Why didn’t I travel with my laptop so that I could review those shots in the hotel room? Thoughts and questions? Should have, could have thoughts bombarded my soul every time I reviewed the pictures I had taken. I still see shots I missed on the Marina even till now. “Could have gone a little to the left on this one” . Ah, going a little to the left could have landed me into the water”.
“The Aperture setting was not right on that one….This shot would have been better if I had taken it from a different perspective. Issues, self judgments, inconclusive matters.
If I live in Dubai, I would be at the Marina every evening to unwind and just drink in the beauty. This would be where I would take walks, meditate and be inspired during seasons of discouragement or when I just want to be alone or get inspired.
It’s not just a place for photography enthusiasts. I have only written this from a narrow point of view and that is photography.
This is a place to go to and discover yourself. Its beautiful distractions are much but if you take time to blend in and not be in a hurry like I did at the beginning, you will get more joy from the Marina.
This is a place where lovers and families can go to without being molested. This is a safe place. No “area boy”, no kidnapping, no “wetin you carry”, no harassment. I didn’t see a single Policeman but you can sense they were around as CCTV is everywhere. If you have nothing to do in the evenings just come and walk around. There are also places to sit and rest when you are tired of walking.
Next time I am privileged to come to Dubai again, (God willing), the Marina alone will receive my attention (photo wise) for at least three days. I will return with my Tripod stand and do deeper things blah, blah, blah.
Dubai Marina, you didn’t disappoint me. Indeed, no part of Dubai disappointed me.
If man can make the earth this beautiful, what will the Righteous Heaven look like?
To read another Dubai blog follow this link Lessons from the Dubai Desert
To read one of my poems click on this link Masked men everywhere
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I remain Ovyay, your Traveling Poet.