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Published: March 25th 2009
It's not your average desert city! The city skyline is a marvel of modern buildings, all of which were built since the year 2000. The Burj al Arab, shaped like a giant dhow approaching the city, is the world's largest hotel. There's Burj Dubai, which will be the world's tallest building at 808 meters or 2626 feet. Then, don't forget the malls! The Mall of the Emirates has "Snow Village" with a ski slope, ski lifts, sled runs, and tons of snow. Over at the Dubai Mall there is an aquarium and an ice rink. Both malls have indoor versions of an Arabian Souq (market). The city's transportaion system includes 6 lane "flyovers" (over passes) and an elevated subway scheduled to be completed in 2010. All these aspects make Dubai a most attractive and futuristic city.
We spent a lot of time in the malls. This isn't something that we usually do, but it was convenient, cheap, and quite interesting. Most of the locals spend a great deal of time there strolling and shopping. The women in their Swarovski crystal-trimmed abayas (black robes) and the men in their starched white robes and elaborate head coverings add an element of black
and white elegance to the typical mall scene. The women were most interesting, revealing their stilletto heels and designer clothes under their beautiful abayas. These are not basic black robes, but beautifully styled and accented robes. I so wanted to get close-up photos of them, but didn't feel right invading their privacy. The majority of the people who work in the malls are immigrants from a variety of countries, since most of the Dubai citizens do not work.
On our last day there, we experienced the effects of a sandstorm. While we didn't feel the sand in the wind, its presence was quite evident. The city skyline disappeared from view and visibility was reduced to 500 meters in some areas of the city. It was like a bad fog had descended upon the city. We commented on the fact that we started the trip in Hong Kong with terrible smog and ended it in Dubai with a major sand storm.
We are back home adjusting to the daily routine and looking at all the photos that were taken. It was an awesome trip, probably one of our best. Ron is already planning and researching our next adventure!!
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