Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo at the Dubai Mall and the Ajmal perfume factory.

Who would have thought of putting an aquarium in a Mall.
Or was the Mall built around the aquarium?
It does not really matter...
What does matter is that this viewing window is 68m long and 11m tall,
making it the largest sheet of acrylic in the world.
The tank holds 10 million litres of sea water.
Yet another record for Dubai

When I was there, this group of children was on a tour of the facility.
Why is it that little hands want to touch fish through glass?
Come to think of it, adults will tap or bang on the "enclosure" as well.
Both have the same outcome...being ignored.

There are some spectacular specimens on display.
And all in sparking clean enviroments.

I thought that these were beavers,
turns out they are water rats.

This is the weirdest turtle I have ever seen.
I have tried to find out what species it is, but without success.

This is the way that swimmers want to encounter a Portuguese-man-of-war.
Behind glass!

This is home to the largest croc I have ever seen...6m!
And it weighs in at 750kg.
Truly awesome to watch, but these two were not keen on any sort of
display of behaviour...they just floated while I looked on.

The penguin on the edge of the rock was the most frustrating creature.
I must have stood here for almost 20 minutes
waiting for it to plunge into the water.
On several occasions, it ALMOST fell in...
but never actually did.
I have a feeling that it was waiting for me to leave
and would then dive into the water and frolic!

Many years ago, this was my job at the Oceanarium in Port Elizabeth.
These divers were busy cleaning the sand as well as rearranging corals
in the display.

How many Mall publicity shots can boast THIS?
There is a 48m long, 270 degree acrylic walk-through tunnel,
allowing visitors to have the inhabitants swim above them.

From the cool of the Dubai Mall,
to the heat of  the old Ajmal perfume factory.
It is here that I was introduced to the mystical Oudh wood
and its perfume properties.

An oil is extracted from the wood and that is used as the basis
for the perfume industry.
The wood is more expensive than gold as is treated as if is WAS bullion.

When burned, the Oudh wood gives off an incense-like fragrance.
I was told that although all of the wood can be utilized,
the quality of the product determines how it will be processed.
Incense is a "by-product"

In the old portion of their operation,
these bottles are hand filled.
A tedious job to say the least.
For the untrained nose, the scent is intense.

A short bus ride away is the new production facility

Here, everything is automated.
But there is still a labour component required

As tedious as putting oil in a bottle?
This worker is placing the nozzles in by hand.

The finished product.
Or one of them, as Ajmal makes a range of fragrances
for both men and women.

And I thought I could bring this recipe home
and start to manufacture my own brand from home...
I can find Ethyl Alcohol, Purified water and Denaturant,
but the FRAGRANCE component is the "trade secret"...

This is where the magic happens and new fragrances are born.
I was sceptical about visiting, but I came away with a new perspective
on this age old industry.
Most people believe that the French "invented" perfume.
Not originally came from the East.
And that centuries old tradition is continued at Ajmal
to this very day.
To find out more about their product,
visit their website:


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