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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dubai


The freeways are dead straight in the Emirate of Dubai and as hot as an oven. There are records of the town of Dubai from 1799. Earlier in the 18th century the Al Abu Falasa lineage of Bani Yas clan established itself in Dubai which was a dependent of the settlement of Abu Dhabi until 1833. On 8 January 1820, the then sheikh of Dubai was a signatory to the British sponsored "General Treaty of Peace" (the General Maritime Treaty). To the east the land is bounded by mountains of bare rock and to the south by endless sand dunes. From here the route out of the desert leads to the Persian Gulf. To the northwest shrouded in a shimmering haze one sees strange shadowy outlines of parts of a pyramid-like or mussel-like object or perhaps even the Tower of Babel. A mirage perhaps?
This hallucination on the horizon proves on closer inspection to be constructed of steel, glass, and concrete. Tens of thousands of immigrant workers have constructed hundreds of ultra-modern buildings on the coast line of more than 40 miles (70 km) of the Emirate. There are barrel-like twin towers, pyramid shopping temples, giant office blocks, and towering hotels with curvilinear exteriors that remind one of a sail.

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