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Tales from old Arabia
In the early days of the modern age of prosperity in the Arab world, the UK embassy in Saudi Arabia was in Jeddah, and moderate amounts of alcohol for consumption on "foreign soil" were permitted to enter through the harbour. The condition was that the cases were labelled "Grand Piano" as an unlikely disguise, but more as code. On a particularly hot day a crate was accidentally swung with some force into a building, causing general consternation. The harbour-master phoned the UK Embassy with the request:  "Please send someone to the harbour. Your grand piano is leaking."
Anyone who has visited the traditional Middle East (ie other than Dubai) will know that a sense of urgency is not a strong point. A recent traveller to Egypt became so frustrated that his patience was exhausted and he angrily told his agent:  "The trouble with this place is that you've all got the manana  mentality". Manana is Spanish for "tomorrow". Through an inscrutable Arab smile, his host replied:  "Oh, mister, in Egypt, nothing is that serious."
Perhaps the visitor was staying at the old Sheraton in Cairo. Unlike the swish new round tower, the old one was square and antiquated. It was so creaky that the elevators were programmed to terminate and park at the maintenance workshop on the topmost floor, above all the residential floors. So on arrival, a guest signed in, the "boy" (about 93) was called and the lift taken to the designated floor. That floor was, perfectly naturally, one floor above the normal room number, because there were no rooms on the ground floor. So for example room 611 was on the 7th floor. However the lift had first to be called from its top floor parking place, and when floor 7 was selected, it naturally returned to the maintenance workshop before descending to floor 7, for room 611.
The venerable internal telephone system, with the old twisted wires, benefited from a new ground-floor switchboard. However the original room dials, with graphic icons for the services, had not been changed so there was an elaborate translation table for which one to use. If you wanted to book a table at the restaurant, quite naturally you rang the linen room. If you wanted the desk reception quite naturally you rang the laundry and for outside telephone calls you rang the restaurant. The in-house movie was never changed - very fittingly entitled: Heaven Help Us.
Thanks for that. Reverting to old Arabia I remember Dubai from about 1970, when it was little more than a beach station for unloading dhows in the creek. There were some small "suqs" (open air markets) trading gold, silk, cloth and spices, but now there are "malls" which specialise in particular categories, and the gold suq is world-famous. As you say, it is now fantastically built-up, even with a metro (!) with incredible buildings like the Burj-Khalifa and the Grand Mosque.  For anyone who doesn't know, the Burj-Khalifa ("burj" is "tower" in Arabic) is the world's tallest residential and hotel building
.[Image: 240px-Burj_Khalifa.jpg]
Good to know you found a nice welcome, and please tell us more of your travel experiences.
A young British businessman made his first trip to Saudi Arabia, and as advised, registered his presence with his Embassy in Jeddah. On leaving the building, it was midday and the temperature was 39deg. He was wearing a London business suit and carrying a brief-case. and was clearly suffering from the heat. He needed a taxi back to his hotel urgently. A local man approached him and asked "Taxi?" "Yes, yes", the visitor replied, with some anxiety in his voice. "25 Riyals" the man demanded, holding out a hand to receive the cash. Almost at melting point now he handed over the money and looked around for the taxi. Instead, another man joined them and handed the visitor the end of a short rope. There was a goat on the other end. "His name is Taxi" the seller explained and the two locals burst into laughter. But they had also alerted a real taxi driver, who pulled up and asked where the visitor wanted to go.. The destination settled, the driver asked for 25 Riyals.....plus an extra 10 for the goat. The visitor tied the goat to a tree and boarded an air-conditioned taxi with great relief. On return to London the "purchase of goat" was not allowed on his expenses form and he lost £5. Sometimes you just have to learn the herd way.....
I must say that all of you have shared great information about Dubai. All of you have shared great information about it which will be prove helpful for me. I never know about Dubai and never visited in life. After know that it is a home of plenty of things which are perfect for the tourist. I am thinking to go there in the future.
Your shared information could benefit to others. Really, Dubai is a nice city of UAE. A few years ago, I visited there and really enjoyed different places. My favourite Dubai's destinations are: Burj Khalifa, Dubai Museum, Jumeirah Mosque and Deira Souks. These places are perfect for visitors.
You are quite correct about Dubai, Jaukan. The gold suq (market) is especially fascinating and the whole new city is dazzling with its lights and luxury. My idea is to combine a trip to the futuristic world of Dubai with some of the most ancient places on earth, nearby. The distances are short to the Pyramids of Egypt and Petra (Jordan) which any traveller will wish to see. These three locations can be easily visited in 10 - 14 days, but the memories will last for life.
[Image: 250px-Petra_Jordan_BW_21.JPG] 
The Treasury House at Petra, all cut from the rock.
Yeah! Egypt is the most famous and historical country of Middle East. Petro is the most popular historical place for visitors attention. Here I am going to share some images of the Petro from my album:
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[Image: 32_The-Gate-Petra-Jordan.jpg]
Jaukan, I must say you have shared really gorgeous images of Egypt. No doubt that Egypt is a home of great things and Memorials which are attract the tourist attention. Anyway, I want to know some names of famous attractions of Egypt. Jaukan, Can you share with me?
Jaukan, thank you for these wonderful photos of Petra (which is in Jordan). I've been there 5 times and I have over 300  colour slides of this amazing place. Along with the Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China this is one of the places everyone should see in their lifetime.

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