Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dune Bashing in Dubai

On my way to Paris I had a very long layover in Dubai due to a series of flight delays that resulted in a missed connection. Let's hope my trip home goes more smoothly!

This reminded me that I hadn't posted photos from the last time I was there in October. I'm a bit behind on my travel blogging and Dubai is really spectacular.

It's home to some really amazing man made marvels. From the huge man-made Palm Island, to the Burj Dubai, the modern engineering that's going on is really impressive. Sort of a modern day Atlantis!

The Burj Dubai (pictured at the top of this post) is the tallest building in the world, stacking in at nearly a kilometer high (roughly 850m)! Putting that in perspective, if you stacked the Sears Tower in Chicago on top of the Empire State building in New York, the Burj Dubai would still be taller by about 50m!

You can see from the photo just how much it dwarfs the other huge high rises around it. It's estimated to be fully completed this year. I was impressed to see a window washer way way up near the top. That's one heck of a big job!

Contrary to popular belief, Dubai does NOT have oil money. There was a time that it did, however, the reserves have long since dried up and now the city is sustained on tourism alone. The economic crisis has really hit them hard and most new construction projects are currently on hold. It was odd to see so many half-completed high rise buildings, especially so many very uniquely designed ones.

The Palm Island, more impressive by air, is a massive land-reclaimation project in the shape of a palm tree. The next big project is "the World" island, shaped like a giant globe.

After a bit of city touring, we went out into the desert for some good old fashioned DUNE BASHING! This was incredibly fun, even if we weren't allowed to drive. Our group even had to rotate through the front seat to handle the odd queasy stomach. Quite the ride!

Dune bashing!

More dune bashing!

After diving over the edge of the huge dunes in our Toyota Landcruiser we went deeper into the desert where we had a huge meal and were painted with henna tattoos.

Mike getting tattooed.

The famous Burj Al Arab. To get a room here, you need a minimum of $2000 USD. The most expensive room goes for $28,000 per night!

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