Every Saturday when the water is not too cold (and believe me, it does get cold in December and January), I go swimming with a group of people on a mile swim in the ocean on the other side of the Emirates palace. It's a good wake-up and even though getting up at 6:00 on my day off isn't great, I feel pretty glad I did it even though I might not feel great while I'm inching my way into it. It's a good location because it's the only place with open water and one of the few places where there aren't idiots on jet-skis tooling around.
It's also a good place to go snorkeling from what I've heard. Some friends of mine took their kids snorkeling around there and saw a pod of dolphins. Because all the other beaches are man-made with fine sand imported from Australia and behind a breakwater, it's the only place that you can look at coral and other aquatic wildlife.
There used to be a bunch of palm trees there but they were removed last July just before I arrived here. Little by little, there have been signs that things were changing. As it turns out, last Saturday was the last day that beach will be open to the public. The Sheik has decided to build another palace on that location. It's sad to say that only a select few will be able to access that area from now on and it's a sure bet that if they do, they'll only do so rarely.
It is a bit of a reminder that my fellow swimmers and I are only guests. Even the citizens of this country are only borrowing the land they live on. It all belongs to the Sheik to do with as he pleases. It's only by his grace that we have all the green space and beaches that we do. As many events that are put on here and as many great places there are to go around town, it's important to remember who runs the show.