Friday, September 9, 2011

Dubai: City of Excess

From the scores of Ferraris and Bentleys out driving the streets to the $1500 handbags carried by nearly every local Emirati woman, I've never seen a city that flaunts its wealth and excess as much as Dubai. It makes Vegas seem restrained.
This little guy was parked outside our hotel for two days
We were in a jewelry store at one of the hotels. There was a garish champagne-colored diamond ring in a case. Curious, our friend Matt asked the salesperson how much the ring cost. The answer, "30". As in 30,000,000 AED (United Arab Emirate dirham). Now granted, the exchange rate is 3.5 AED to 1 USD, but that's still over $8,000,000 for a ring. We quickly exitedt the store.

It's not just the wealth that makes Dubai extreme. When faced with the need for more prime real estate, they built islands. In fact, we stayed on the Palm Jumeirah, which is the famous palm tree-shaped set of islands just off the coast. In addition to creating more waterfront property, since it's not technically on Emirati soil, foreigners are allowed to own real estate, which isn't the case on the mainland. The "trunk" of the island is filled with high rise apartments, most of which I assume are empty either based on the economy or because they're investment properties; however, I couldn't help but thinking, "with as organized as this looks, this might just be what the developers had in mind with Gurgaon."

Another of Dubai's more famous sites is Ski Dubai which is a man made ski hill inside the Mall of the Emirates. It's a fully enclosed ski slope, complete with "real" fake snow. I can't even imagine how much energy it takes to keep a space that size below freezing in a desert climate. I kind of wanted to slap on a pair of skis but wasn't sure it would be worth it for a run down what amounts to a bunny hill. Still, it's one of those things you hear about but doesn't really make sense until you see it.
This is what an indoor ski run looks like
Perhaps the most excessive thing about Dubai is its skyline. The latest addition to the skyline is the mammoth Burj Khalifa, which stands at a very slight 2,717 feet. That's nearly twice as tall as the Sears, er, Willis Tower in Chicago. Bottom line, it's one of the more awe inspiring man made structures I've seen.

Dubai isn't my typical type of travel destination and had I gone to Dubai directly from the states and not ventured into the desert, I may have left a little disappointed after the 11 hour flight. From Delhi, with a quick 3.5 hour flight, it's absolutely worth seeing this unique culture. Plus, with the added bonus of a couple days in the desert (much more on that later), it made the trip an amazing and diverse experience.


  1. wow. i have no words. i wonder if i can get a stopover here on my way know, to see it for myself.

  2. DUBAI CITY TOUR,You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the issue.