Friday, September 12, 2008
Dubai: Sept. 3- Sept. 7
When my dad had to go to Dubai for business, he discovered that if we extended our trip and he took me along, it would be half the price in plane tickets than if he kept the same return dates and went alone. So, I got the amazing chance to see Dubai.
Dubai is a part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The primary economy there revolves around the oil industry, which is a finite income. So, the sheik ruler decided that Dubai had to become a top world destination for tourism. In a few short years, Dubai has gone from the photo above to the photos below. It's amazing what an infinite amount of money can produce.
The sheik demanded that the new Dubai have a skyline like that of Manhattan.
I've heard that approximately 30% of the world's cranes are located in Dubai. I believe that... They're EVERYWHERE!
One of the sheik's newest projects: an expansion of Dubai's available coastline by digging out extra waterways.
Another plan to increase Dubai's coastline is to build multiple large completely manmade islands in various shapes. To the left is the Palm Jumeirah. We drove out on it and saw all of the amazing homes and hotels on the palm. More islands such as this will be completed soon.
Dad and I noticed that the city seems to have one general goal: find the best things of the Western world and then one up them. On the left is the world's tallest building, which is still being built.
The colorful hotel in the background is the Burj Al Arab, also known as the sail. The exterior changes color constantly. One night in the cheapest room costs $1,000 and the most expensive room starts at $28,000 a night! I wanted to go in, but it cost about $50 simply to walk in the front door. Whew.
Perched on the top of the hotel is a helicopter pad, tennis court, and golf range.
This is one of three pools at our hotel at about 5:00 am. The two fresh water pools had swim-up bars. I spent most of my time in the water at the bar, reading my book in the shade. Dubai is SO hot and humid!
My hotel room... Dad and I each had our own room and the beds were MASSIVE, larger than a California king! The room service goes into the rooms many times a day to remake the beds, deliver fresh fruit and wine, and turn down the sheets at bedtime. It's nuts!
My bathroom. Notice, it came with a personal rubber ducky.
Robes and a bidet! I didn't use the bidet, but the robe was comfortable.
While we were in Dubai, they were going through the holy month of Ramadan. The Qaran says that they are not allowed to eat between sunup and sundown, so finding food outside of the resort was difficult before sunset. After sunset could be just as hard though, since at that time everyone floods into the restaurants to gorge on food and drink.
The view of the Persian Gulf from my hotel balcony. The ocean water is over 90*F and isn't refreshing at all. However, I still swam out to one of two swimming platforms in the gulf. I had to wait until almost sundown so that I could stand the heat!
The hotel had multiple lounges like the one in the photo. Each lounge has couches on thick rugs and a table with giant hookas in the middle.
The brand-new Atlantis Hotel on one of the palm tree islands. At the time of this photo, the hotel hadn't opened yet, but should be open now. I'm not sure that I have ever seen a hotel built on this scale before. In this photo is only a very small portion of the hotel.
The mall in Dubai is now the largest in the world. It supposedly has the largest indoor amusement park, but Dad and I weren't impressed... It was more like an arcade with a couple carnival rides and a bowling alley. The mall itself was impressive, but not unlike our malls here....
Except that our malls do not typically have built-in ski slopes and toboggan runs. Just imagine, over 100 degrees outside and snowboarding inside!
Believe it or not, this beautiful building with water, light, and fire shows is just the parking garage for the mall.
This is the ski slope from the outside. That strip of light changes colors continuously like the Burj Al Arab.
The whole of Dubai is a lavish display of wealth. In the mall, all of the stores are insanely expensive and most are designers: Gucci, Armani, Valentino, Burberry, Chanel, etc. Also, the cars that are valet parked are Ferrari and Lamborghini and cars in a similar class.
The culture is a strange mix of modesty and immodesty. Many women wear the traditional burkas, which cover most of their bodies except their hands, eyes, and feet. Many men wear the traditional white robes with black cords around their heads. However, Dubai is also the new nightclub capital of the world, so I also saw a fair share of mini skirts and 4" heels. Also, even the women who show such modesty by covering their skin have gold embroidered burkas and head wraps that carry the labels of "Valentino" or "Gucci."