Almost all flights leaving Asia heading west, must go through Dubai. The time of arrival is at some ridiculous hour and the layover is hours long, usually in the double digits. This was the main reason we decided to hang around for a couple of days and see Dubai, the commercial capital and Abu Dhabi, the political capital.
The UAE is an extremely wealthy country, so everything is extremely expensive and extremely clean - there isn't litter anywhere. We were told by a guide that the people of the UAE are so rich that they need to find new and extravagant ways to spend their money. They have the world's tallest building. The world's largest mall - a place so big it has 3 or 4 different zip codes. They make islands out in the bay to look like palm trees, a map of the UAE and a map of the world. They have Ferrari school buses, the servants have maids, they regularly travel into space - on the backs of unicorns - without the need for oxygen! All of this proving that you can do anything if you have enough money.
The entire country is made up entirely of desert, early settlements popping up around whatever fresh water source was available. These settlements are UAE's cities today and were only created in the last 25 years or so in an aggressive development plan that is a model for the rest of the world. Everything is built according to plan and the plan includes a vision of what will be needed 50 years from now. So it is more than what is needed now, but what will be needed later. It made me think of so many different things the US could do to be more responsible in developing, but I'm not going to go into that here.
It is an interesting, albeit expensive place, worthy of a visit of a couple of days. I can't comment enough on how clean the place is, especially given how much of a western, throwaway society they have become. If your travels bring you through the UAE as a layover, then definitely alter your plans to stay an extra day or two to check it out.
|The mall is so big, people have their own store. Here I am, heading to mine!
|6 lanes - they don't need them but they will! Now that's planning.
|Now they're just showing off - this is the Capital Gate - a leaning tower
|The world's furthest leaning man-made tower