Here we are, less than 25 years ago, yet a good deal of reorientation is needed to make sense of this aerial photograph.
It shows the Emirates Golf Course, which opened in 1987, the year this photo was taken. It was not just the first grass course in Dubai but the entire Middle East.
The aircraft is flying along the northern boundary of the course. A similar photograph taken today shows that the pilot is following the route of Sheikh Zayed Road in the direction of Abu Dhabi.
Instead of dunes as far as the eye can see, there is now the massive Emirates Hills housing project, with developments that include The Springs, The Meadows and Jumeirah Islands.
Off to the right, the aircraft has just flown over Dubai's most popular beach resort, the Chicago Beach Hotel, still over a decade away from being demolished and replaced by the Burj Al Arab and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel. Instead of the Palm Jumeirah spreading out from the coast, the pilot and photographer can see only the waters of the Gulf.
As a statement of intent, the opening of the course signals that Dubai is ready to market itself as an international destination. The original Majlis championship course and the Dubai Desert Course now attract some of the biggest names in golf, while the city's boundaries have grown so far and fast that the course, once deep in the desert, now marks almost exactly the half way point between the Creek and Jebel Ali.