Monday, November 26, 2012

Spires of Dubai

Supposedly the tallest structure in the world today... but the Chinese are planning on building on even taller at 220 stories very soon..
As mentioned in the previous post, I did visit the United Arab Emirates for the first time earlier this month.  Many shiny new buildings, rising out of the edge of the desert along the Persian Gulf in Dubai.  I taught a training class on a Sunday morning, while jet lagged, before heading off to India on Monday. 

It was my first trip to a majority Muslim country, and a but of a culture shock to hear the call to prayer while in the airport, and seeing many people simultaneously kneel down and begin praying as I walked silently by.  It was my first time seeing women in head-to-toe black burqa, 3 or 4 to each white robed male, walking through the airport.  It seems the "most favored" (or perhaps oldest?) wife has gold patterns embroidered on her black burqa, while the 'other wives' don't get this distinguishing insignia. 

Waited an hour to get through an incredibly slow immigration line where they required biometric data to be given to them (either facial recognition for men and westerners, or retina scans for the burqa clad).  The whole time, the white robed immigration officials glared and leered at every western dressed woman who walked past them. Yeah, welcome.

The Western hotel in which I stayed was nice, clean, and inordinately expensive, but the company made the reservation and was paying the tab, so I shouldn't be too shocked at a $30 glass of Jameson or a $75 breakfast. (the picture below was taken from my room, looking East, towards the Atlantis resort in the distance - and Iran another 100 miles beyond that)

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