A view from the observation deck of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.Heide Van Doren Betz | Jo Lee Magazine

A view from the observation deck of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

 

Dubai, Abu Dhabi: Wealth, Power And Contrasts

 

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a constitutional monarchy located on the Persian Gulf.  Four-fifths of the country is desert, yet it is one of the world’s great areas of contrasts.  Skyscrapers, shopping malls, car races, water sports, fine hotels and dining lure tourists from all over the world.  Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the largest cities and the centers of commercial activity.  The official language in UAE is Arabic and the religion is Islam, with visitors finding much English spoken.

Dubai, the main city of the UAE, is a modern city of world-class architectural design.

None gets as much attention as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world, with 163 floors.  From the observation deck one can see the entire city, much of it built on sand-filled islands called The Palm, and desert surroundings.  Extravagant malls boast of every store from the U.S. and Europe as well as the largest aquarium and an indoor ski run.  Separate souks, or stalls, invite the visitor to buy gold (weighed and price calculated by the ounce), exotic herbs and spices, and traditional handicrafts.  One of the world’s largest gold markets is in Dubai.

 

 

An entrance to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi – the largest mosque in the world.World On The Run | Jo Lee Magazine

An entrance to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi – the largest mosque in the world.

 

Abu Dhabi, the second largest city, is the capital of UAE.  Again, a completely man-made island, Yas Island, was created to house modern skyscrapers for pleasure and relaxation.  Favorite activities include visits to one of the ultra modern shopping malls, golf clubs, camel races, Ferrari car races, the ultra modern and impressive Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – the largest in the world.  One of my favorite activities was a wild jeep ride in the desert.

 

The gilded Mughal architectural columns of the Grand Mosque reflect in one of the many pools.Heide Van Doren Betz | Jo Lee Magazine

The gilded Mughal architectural columns of the Grand Mosque reflect in one of the many pools.

The contrasts are not only found in the landscape and architecture but also in the dress code. One encounters all types of dress, especially in Dubai, with visitors wearing anything from modest clothing to mini-skirts and shorts.  However, UAE men wear the dishdash, or thwab (long white robe) with a keffiyeh (white headscarf); others wear gellabiya with turbans.  Women wear the traditional abaya (long black robe) with a hijab (head scarf), some adding a niquab (covering the mouth and nose). Visitors entering the mosque must conform to this dress code, and are given a black robe courtesy of the visitor center.

 

Gilded Swarovski crystal chandeliers glisten amidst the splendour of ornately decorated ceilings and columns at the Grand Mosque.  The largest custom oriental carpet in the world adorns the floor. Heide Van Doren Betz | Jo Lee Magazine

Gilded Swarovski crystal chandeliers glisten amidst the splendour of ornately decorated ceilings and columns at the Grand Mosque. The largest custom oriental carpet in the world adorns the floor.

 

Shopping for gold in Dubai is sport.  Gold is essentially priced by the ounce, and is duty free. Heide Van Doren Betz | Jo Lee Magazine

Shopping for gold in Dubai is sport. Gold is essentially priced by the ounce, and is duty free.

 

The alluring Al Khatim desert is a treasure of the Emirates. World On The Run | Jo Lee Magazine

The alluring Al Khatim desert is a treasure of the Emirates.

 

Preparing for the camel races in the desert.  Visitors from around the world come to visit this event. Heide Van Doren Betz | Jo Lee Magazine

Preparing for the camel races in the desert. Visitors from around the world come to visit this event.

 

 





One Response to “THE RICH AND THE FAMOUS: Dubai, Abu Dhabi: Wealth, Power And Contrasts”

  1. Kay Clarke | 03.15.14 at 12:11 AM said…

    Great chance to see Dubai & Abu Dhabi in these picures an writings. Thanks Jo Lee and Heide Betz as unlikey I’ll get to ever see in person. Most appreciative. Kay Clarke

 

 


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