Friday, December 20, 2013

Travel: United Arab Emerites

Everything the Emeratis do is on a grand scale. They have the tallest building in the world, the largest mall in the world, the world's most leaning building, the Grand Mosque, as well as fanciful-shaped, man-made landmasses. What they've built is awe-inspiring! Every architect-in-training should visit Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The U.A.E. just proudly celebrated its 42nd birthday, and it continues to grow at breakneck speed. Construction is visible most everywhere. From our hotel room in Abu Dhabi we could see land being made!

Many, if not all, of the buildings utilize heat control technology. Of course this makes sense, but it's amazing to see up close. Some buildings look like pineapples when the shades are closed.

And you've never been to a mall until you've been to Dubai Mall. It's a shopping palace, complete with an aquarium and souk. After all, shopping is said to be the Emerati pastime.

You'll find dates, spices, gold, textiles, and lanterns aplenty. We stocked up on dates and saffron, and I would have loved a lantern chandelier. U.A.E. is not an inexpensive country, however. Even gasoline costs as much as it does in the states, which isn't the case in other Middle Eastern countries. Grandness has its price, but the subsidies benefit citizens of the U.A.E.

This was a fascinating trip. Although I had to see most of Dubai and Abu Dhabi from a rental car and shopping malls, I wouldn't take back a single minute. And I'm very glad we visited in December, when Fahrenheit temperatures are in the 70s.

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