My sister and her family are currently living in Ethiopia. She has an awesome husband and three beautiful kids (two boys and a girl). I get these great emails from them fairly regularly discussing their adventures as a family, as parents and as young kids growing up in Ethiopia.
Recently, two of them went on a trip to Dubai for some fairly routine medical testing and sent me an email expressing how amazing Dubai was. Now, if you know my sister, you know she wasn’t caught up in the consumerism of the whole deal, but purely amazed at the engineering and wealth around a city smack dab in the middle of unsettled nations in the Middle East.
Here is an excerpt from her letter to me, and for the kids, cause hopefully they will go to this page and read this entry, I am going to post pictures of some of the amazing structures the witnessed from the ground.
What an interesting place–although it is set on the Gulf in and amidst nations which have difficulty”, it is a sea of “westernized” consumption. I have NEVER in my life seen anything quite like it–a beautiful skyline on a fine sand shoreline–yet more traffic and fine cars than I have ever seen. The population is roughly 20% Emiratee, and the rest are immigrant. It’s insane how much wealth exists. They are building the world’s tallest building, nearby one of the supermalls with an indoor ski slope (which I saw and gawked at mostly), as well as the 7 star hotel (whose name I can’t pronounce but is Al something), which sits out on the Gulf in the water, designed in the shape of a sailboat. Apparently, there are two stories of “underwater” rooms and each room has its own butler, etc. There are a minimum of 8 supermalls in Dubai itself with oil money bringing in names like, Saks etc. There are even a series of islands that have been built offshore in crazy shapes, like Palm trees, where you can buy your own island. . . Wow, overwhelming. Even a visit to the grocery store was a bit overwhelming after leaving our market selection of veggies in Bahir Dar. The types of clothing worn were amazing, and beautiful, many representing both different countries and religions (lots of women in full black garb–burqas, some across the whole face with a veil over the eyes, some with just a head scarf. The men varied in their dress from extreme western to full head to toe white pants and dress, with checkered head cloths, etc. Very odd to see the women trailing behind the men (several wives often to one man).
The Hotel you couldnt pronounce is called “Burj Al Arab”…here is the picture as well as pictures of The World, Palm Jebel and the Ski Resort so you can show everyone that wasn’t there what you guys saw!.
Picture of Burj Al Arab
This building, whose name literally translates to “Tower of the Arabs” and boasts being the tallest building in the world that is used exclusively as a hotel. Construction of this hotel began in 1994 and took 5 years to build finishing its construction in 1999. The hotel stands over 900 feet tall. The architect of this “symbol” was WS Atkins PLC.
Picture of Palm Jebel
This area is currently being developed and upon completion will be one of the worlds 3 largest artificial islands. It was a project created to help with Dubai’s growing tourist industry that will take 100′s of millions of cubic meters of rock and sand to complete. There is still room for development on these islands…
Picture of The World in Dubai
The world is large group of islands that from above will appear to be shaped like the world. It will consist, upon completion in 2008, of over 250 small islands for sale to private investors ranging in size from 5-20 acres each.
Picture of the Indoor Ski Slope
Picture of lift line at the Dubai Ski Area
This Ski area smack dab in the middle of the desert is in the Dubai Emerates Mall. It is currently the worlds largest indoor ski slope measuring 1200 feet long (400 meters) using upwards of 600 tons of snow!
Alright kids, enough of the geography and engineering lesson for the day…I hope you all enjoyed all this being in one spot. These really are amazing…