I’m currently visiting the United Arab Emirates to handle getting visas for a group departing to Singapore at the end of the week. I had the divine fate of showing up on the eve of Bush’s appearance in Dubai. They ended up declaring it a national public holiday and thus the Singapore consulate was closed. I thought I’d share my adventures in Dubai with a few tidbits I thought might be of interest.
The United Arab Emirates, in the eastern part of the Arabian Peninsula, extends along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf and is a very wealthy nation. UAE is the size of Maine but has a GDP of $74.67 billion; per capita $29,100.
After the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S., the UAE was identified as a major financial center used by al-Qaeda in transferring money to the hijackers (two of the 9/11 hijackers were UAE citizens). The nation immediately cooperated with the U.S., freezing accounts tied to suspected terrorists and strongly clamping down on money laundering.
Dubai, the financial center of the UAE, is known for it’s glitz and glam. They boast some of the largest malls in the world including the Mall of the Emirates, famous for the indoor ski slope (headed there after this post). You can find sections of town dripping in gold and plenty of sky scrapers. Dubai is littered with high class hotels. It was hard for me to find one under that government per diem rate of $362 a night.
Hunger is getting to my head. Enjoy your day while I enjoy dinner!
Further updates; post trip to the mall.
1) I found it interesting that there were many kiosks in the mall selling real estate.
2) They are building a mall here that has parking for 10,000 cars! Plus the line for the taxi at the mall last night was an hour wait if you wanted to leave before midnight.
3) The enormous mall was packed with folks of all ages at ten o’clock on a Monday night!