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I was particularly taken with a ring featuring a black and diamond crystal teddy bear holding a giant pearl.The hoards of young Indian and Pakistani migrant workers hanging out in the streets give a glimpse of everyday life in Dubai, where just 15 per cent of the population are UAE nationals.3.As night falls the drivers pull up to a Bedouin-style camp where plush Middle Eastern carpets and cushions provide seating while a barbecue sizzles.Alongside the Landcruisers camels wait to give the tourists a quick spin around the car park.So it's not surprising that one of the attractions at the sprawling Dubai Mall is an A380 simulator.For around NZ0, two people can have a go at taking off and landing the enormous aircraft.Despite their skill, the drivers get stuck – you'd think the problem would be the dips, but the real trap is bottoming out on the top of a dune.
Wander around the souks of Al Raffa Despite all its swish modernness, Dubai does have an old quarter.READ MORE:* Dubai's Burj Khalifa builder plans even taller tower* New Emirates Dubai-Auckland service a boon for Kiwis* Dubai pushes the pedal to the metal on driverless cars Dubai is a manufactured construct, but it is also an accessible and attractive city that, apart from the absence of rowdy bars and the advisability of dressing semi-respectably, is perfectly welcoming to Western visitors. There are no casinos or touts handing out girlie cards, but there are dancing fountains and streets lined with fairy light-encrusted palm trees. Its so-called towering monuments – such as the narrow office building designed with more than a nod to Big Ben, the tower on a lean, another which looks like a giant piece of orange peel – are architectural curiosities, not tacky replicas.With a population of 2.4 million, Dubai is not a great deal bigger than Auckland, and feels easy to get around.It's best to deal directly with Emirates here in New Zealand or use a travel agent.Dubai is set up for the stopover tourist, and easy entertainment abounds. Take a desert tour Despite its irrigated gardens, the fact is Dubai is built on a pile of sand, and you don't have to go far to experience its true desert environs.