Sunday, November 23, 2008

Abu Dhabi and Dubai

We pulled into the port at Abu Dhabi as the sun was beginning to rise. The skyline was astounding compared to anything else I’ve seen on this trip. While Bahrain and Qatar have impressive structures, Abu Dhabi, the first emirate we visited was marvelous. Skyscraper after skyscraper lined the view which made our approach from the water, and from a distance, a unique image. I’ve been quite enthralled by the architecture of the areas I’ve visited on this trip for many different reasons and today was extraordinary in yet another way. There are 19 princes of Abu Dhabi, all of which have a palace. Not just the princes, but other members of the royal family as well. Abu Dhabi is also at work bringing in the Guggenheim, designed by Frank Gehry and the Louvre. The Gulf is really shaping up to offer cultural centers and opportunities in the Middle East.

Next was Dubai. It truly is a spectacular city. Dubai has really focused on tourism with the ski slopes (attached to and extends high above a huge shopping mall and is visible from the freeway), the major shopping malls, the tallest building in the world (no one really knows how tall it will be when finished), and the luxurious hotels and resorts (the
Burj al Arab, the hotel in the shape of a sail complete with its own heliopad, is truly a fantastic structure). There was construction everywhere in Dubai, but so much has already been completed. The buildings really do appear to go up overnight and new projects are constantly sprouting up.

I have one more day in Dubai but from my quick visit, this really has been an interesting glimpse into an Arab society working at earth-shattering speed to develop modern structures and constantly work to out perform the previous project.

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