One of the astounding features of the Dubai Mall is the aquarium, which is located in the centre of the mall and is on two floors. The first time you see the aquarium, it seems an offence to your senses i.e. a huge aquarium situated in a shopping mall doesn’t seem at all right. You can stand outside the aquarium – with many others – and watch the sharks, sting rays and human divers inside, but paying to visit is a hugely better experience. You firstly walk along the outside of the huge tank and watch the amazing variety of fish, then you are in a tunnel where you get up close – but fortunately not and personal – with big sharks, whose life-destroying teeth are only the thickness of the glass away from, and when you look up, stingrays float majestically above your head. I think that only watching a catch stretch and relax can match the calm ease displayed by the stingrays. See photos below.
You then go upstairs to what is known as the underwater zoo and it is a series of tanks with many varieties of fish but also other sea creatures. One of the most impressive features of this part of the aquarium is the range of colours of the fish. What I should have done was take a pen and paper and write down the species I was photographing, but I didn’t, so I don’t have names for the fish below – just enjoy the colours.
The final section of the aquarium is given over to other species such as huge crabs, dwarf crocodiles and penguins. What I did feel in this section – more than with the fish – was that these creatures were even more confined, and that I felt uncomfortable watching them being very still – the giant crab and dwarf crocodile below – or being very active, but in a small space – the penguins below.
Another highlight of our visit, was having season tickets to the Dubai Masters Tennis tournament, which took place at the impressive stadium, attached to which is the Irish Village, a collection of pubs and a shop selling Irish souvenirs. The tennis, featuring many of the world’s top players, was amazing to watch. These players hit the ball with ferocity but also control and have the ability to return balls which are practically on the ground. The top match which we saw was the semi final between Roger Federer (1st photo) and Novak Djokovic (2nd photo) and it was an intriguing 3 setter with Federer, who appeared to the more motivated of the two players, winning, and this delighted the full house, most of whom were supporting the Swiss player. Federer also won the final against Tomas Berdych. One cultural anomaly that I noticed each day, was that, while in the stadium, men and women were in T shirts and shorts, and some were drinking beer or wine, and in the background, you could hear the Imam calling from the mosque. An anomaly certainly, but also and example of tolerance.
Note: This is the 400th posting on this blog since it started.