Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dubai, UAE (March 2011)

Kristin and I stayed in Dubai for 2 days, March 26th and 27th, 2011. It was our first trip to the Arab world.

Dubai is full of contemporary architecture and unbelievably creative landmarks. It has the man-made islands, The Jumeira Palm and The World comprising numerous islands.

The Jumeirah Palm now has 30 5-star hotels under construction, a number of single family residences, apartments, condominiums and shopping centers. It even has Atlantis, the Green legendary lost city under water, copied from one in the Bahamas. It looks like a palm surrounded by wave breakers. They have another Palm project, even larger, to the right side of "The World."

The World is the world map made of numerous man-made islands. Each country was sold at different prices, ranging from $10 million to $100 million. People can access to The World only through helicopters or boats.
Burj al Arab is the world's only 7-star hotel. It shapes like a floating Dhow ship. They pick up their guests from the airport via a helicopter. When they go out, Rolls Royce limousine waits for you. How much does it cost you per night? I do not know. They do not publish that information intentionally.

Burj Dubai means the Dubai Tower and is the tallest building in the world at present. It is 800 meters high and more than twice as high as the Empire State Building. It looks like a drill that is poking the heaven. It just reminds me of the Babel Towner in the bible... How audacious we human beings are... Surprisingly, Dubai has 5 more super towers under plan to be built with one of them being even taller than Burj Dubai. It is called Al Burj, The Tower. How far more and how taller they should be...? I wonder...I wonder...

Dubai Creek was the mother's womb for Dubai. Water taxis still carry people cross the creek. One Dirham or 30 cents a ride.

Burjman Mall, City Center Mall, Mall of Emirates, Dubai Mall, Ikea Mall, Wafi Mall and on and on. There are bunch of malls where people are hustling and bustling. There is no sales tax or value added tax. So people buy stuffs that they really do not need. Mall of Emirates is the largest mall among them all.

Ski Dubai is located within the Mall of Emirates. Ski Dubai is the man-made indoor ski slope. Amazing, isn't it? You can get on the ski lifts and from the top you can run 400 meters. We have seen so many indoor skate rinks, but indoor ski slope was never thought of, particularly in the desert.

UAE consists of 7 emirates. Abudabi is the largest with almost 80% of the land and Dubai being the second largest emirate that provides the commercial center.

UAE national flag has four colors: red for security, green for prosperity, white for peace and black for national resource, meaning oil. I have learned that most Arab countries have these four colors or any combination there of in their national flags. It makes sense.

Fantastic beaches with white sands and emerald water were spectacular.

Jumeirah Beach Hotel is a 5-star hotel and substantially larger than nearby Burj al Arab, the 7-star hotel, but it is not as fascinating as Burj al Arab despite its wave looking shape that was quite interesting to me.

There are more than 500 mosques in Dubai alone. Mosques are the centers of life among all muslims. Many women are allowed to travel between home and mosque. Muslims pray 5 times a day. They believe that their religious activities will earn them salvation. Not a chance...It is by God's grace we are saved through our faith. To them, Jesus is at the same level as Moses and Muhammad, the prophets. Alas... how could they understand the profound meaning of incarnation and redemption.

In UAE, oil represents only 7% of the GDP, a surprise finding.

Dubai is building theme cities, like Media City, Business City, Sports City where they plan to attract world renowned companies to have offices in the cities.

One man's vision has made the current Dubai... but I am not sure if the legend will continue as the world economy continues to be ailing and the bubble once hit the area.

Dubai is knowns to be one of the lowest crime rate cities in the world.

We participated in the walking tour of the "souqs" Souq means a market. There are gold souq, old souq, spice souq, fish souq, textile souq etc.

It was a short but intensive two-day trip to Dubai. - Jeffrey

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