Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Dubai is quite a sight to behold. Coming into the city this morning from Abu Dhabi, I could see the tall buildings from 40 miles away in the flat desert. The place is like a huge construction zone. If you’ve been following my posts each day I have talked about how some places I’ve been to are like crane factories, well Dubai crushes all oncomers. The entire city is under construction and it seems like multiple cities are being built within the city itself. Included is the forthcoming world’s tallest building, the Burj Dubai, which technically would be the world’s tallest already although it isn’t finished yet. It is really, really high, over 2000 feet already and they won’t say how high it’ll end up being so nobody tries to beat them before they unveil it. This is kind of the theme of Dubai-what’s gonna be in the future.

After spending an entire day in this futuristic city of cities I have to say that I am not really a huge fan. If this is what the future looks like then I really don’t like it too much. First, traffic in Dubai is almost unbearable making Los Angeles look like a cakewalk. There are so many people here already and when they have finished building everything and millions more move here, I can’t even imagine what the traffic situation will look like.

Coming back from the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic at the gorgeous Emirates Golf Club where Tiger Woods did hold on to win over Ernie Els, it took me nearly two hours to get back to the hotel. The only cool thing about it was I was stuck in traffic right below the Burj Dubai and I could stare up at it towering height that makes the Empire State Building look like nothing at 1200 feet.

Second, the other thing about Dubai, like so many of these other Arab states is that the mall is their main outlet and seemingly their social bastion. Also, my cab driver was telling me that the governments of some of these Arab states actually send text messages to people to remind them to eat healthy and exercise because obesity is such a problem out here and trust me it is.

There are more fast food restaurants here than anywhere I’ve ever seen. I mean per mall, there are like 3 McDonalds, 2 Burger Kings and Pizza Huts, 6 Starbucks-it’s absolutely nuts and these people love it and eat/drink it like it’s candy. Also, the malls and the food courts especially, are dressed up for the 22nd century already where it’s like a party. In the mall I had lunch in today, they had a DJ and all these neon lights to show how cool it was to eat in their food court or whatever. The point is, if that’s the future of packratting people into fancy malls and killing them with fast food and crap, I don’t want anything to do with it.

Dubai is a fairly small city and does have some really cool stuff. They have a huge indoor skiing place-of course attached to a mall. They have all types of theme parks and are building all these islands in the Gulf as most of you know and plenty of other amazing real estate projects.

The iconic Burj Al Arab hotel doesn’t disappoint either, it really is gorgeous to see up close and in person. It towers over Dubai right on the Gulf and seemingly changes colors as the sun gets lower, it really is pretty cool and for only like $1500 a night you can stay there too in 7 star luxury-no thanks.

I am really glad I am seeing Dubai as it’s a really interesting place and certainly one that will attract people for many years to come. In 10 years, again, it will be even bigger and more crowded with endless amounts of gimmicks to be built-I am sure. For now though, I’ll pass to be honest.

I was really hoping I would love Dubai, but honestly this whole packrat mall culture really bothers me. For instance, if you take a Big Bus tour-yes, like the one in London, most of the stops are at malls throughout the city. I mean how many Starbucks can one person drink or how many lame stores can people go into. All of the Gulf is like this and it really is strange to me but I guess they love it and it is all new to them. I guess growing up in the US with malls all over and when you grow up in the suburbs you just go to the mall because there isn’t anything else to do-but soon it grows old and you get tired of it. But hey, to each their own I guess.

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  1. Head to Deira and wander both sides of the creek — to me, that was the most interesting part of Dubai. There are some interesting seafood restaurants that are tricky to find but are reached through the Bur Dubai souk, and excellent schwarma stands throughout Deira Dubai. And if you have extra cash, Al Mahara, the seafood restaurant in the Burj al Arab, is a sight to behold, with surprisingly good food (but its very expensive). You won’t forget your meal.

  2. I was staying in Deira and it was cool to see the areas around the Creek but I would agree that apart from the ostentatiousness of Dubai it doesn’t offer much for me, but I am sure that will be changing once the city is completed but they really have to do something about the traffic.

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