DUBAI (April 2001) my last roll of film: These images were taken in the beautiful Emirate City of Dubai. I first visited Dubai in the fall of 1996, and I fell in love with the manner in which the Islamic traditions and culture exist side-by-side with more international cultures - all in the name of business and tourism. It is, in my opinion, the model city for all of the Middle East, and an enviable one at that. I went back to Dubai six more times in the next five years. Each time, I was more impressed than the last. I was fortunate enough to witness the changes in Jumeirah Beach, allowing it to become the developed area that it is now, and the creation of these aesthetically wondrous luxury hotels. In these photos, the magnificent and opulent Burj-Al-Arab and the beautiful blue Jumeirah Beach Resorts are showcased. By design, from the sea the Burj-Al-Arab appears as a giant sail, with the shore-based Jumeirah Beach Resorts resembling a cresting wave. Both of these are already landmarks of the modern Middle East marvel that is....DUBAI!!
Located on the beach side of the Jumeirah Beach Resorts is the amazing water park called "Wild Wadi". Designed by the top water slide designer in the US (responsible for the famous Schlitterbahn slides in Texas), this park features multitudes of water slides going both UP and DOWN, along with more relaxed "river tubing" and two versions of the world-renowned Swatch Wave, allowing for a perfect, rideable wave
Unlike Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), women are allowed to drive here, they hold positions of employment in all aspects of life, and are not bound by the same strict religious constrictions forbidding freedom of expression by manner of clothing or social activity. You can also find alcohol here. However, it is not sold in the stores. You can only partake by going out to the multitudes of restaurants and bars that are found in most all of the hotels. In Dubai, the shops do not close for prayer five times a day, and the call to prayer is not omnipresent. Tolerance seems to be the theme here.
ALL of the Middle East could take a lesson from this small jewel on the Arabian Sea (Persian Gulf)
The latter photos in this album include photos of the sleek Emirates Towers. I was also privy to observing the various phases of it's construction (along with a host of other buildings along Sheikh Zayed Road). The buildings along this one small stretch of Middle Eastern desert make up a feast for the skyscraper architectural palette. Such contrasts in design, yet all of them seem to belong here. There will be more photos of this grand stretch of roadway in future albums (coming soon).
The last of the photos were of leaving the Dubai International Airport, perhaps for the last time in my lifetime. From there, it was back to Riyadh for two more months and then HOME......the end of a 6-year worldwide odyssey.
These are also the last photos I shot using my Nikon EM FILM camera. It's been ALL DIGITAL ever since!!
THE LAST PHOTO SHOOT in RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA: These images were the last ones I shot in Riyadh, where photography of any kind can land you in jail on any given day. Having been there for almost 6 years, I wasn't about to leave without taking my daughter out with me and dedicating one last day to snapping the images that would later become little gifts of a lifetime (for both of us). The day was an absolute success, and after the last photo was taken, we almost DID go to jail (for taking a picture of a shopping mall). What a story that is!!
DIEGO GARCIA (1982):On the way to meet up with the USS Ranger in the summer of 1982, I had the fortune, or misfortune [depending on how you look at things], of spending two days and one night on this tiny "footprint" of an atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Having never been out of the United States before, and having just spent two weeks in the Philipines, this was just another amazing scene in a rush of culture shock for this American surfer boy. I hadn't been in the US Navy nine months, and already I was seeing and doing more than I had ever dreamed. This issue of SURFER Magazine came out the month after I went to Diego Garcia. In fact, during this WESPAC cruise, I hit two of these "Outrageous Adventure"places. The Navy WAS letting me "see the world" after all.....just like the advertising promised. We had a symbiotic relationship, I worked my ass off and kept the VF-2 F-14 radar weapon system working at it's optimum....and they took me surfing around the world. It was a good deal at the time. Looking back.... it was the BEST decision I made in my younger days.
For a more detailed account of my adventure on Diego Garcia, please check out the story HERE. You can also find this story on Ted Morris' website, which is devoted to life on this unique spot on this big blue marble. My story is about half-way down the page on that site.