Sunday, March 29, 2009

Here and there

But mostly there.

Internet access has been rare over the last few days. I had Internet in Abu Dhabi but the local company filter seemed to block everything that I wanted to do. What exactly is wrong with insulting Islam and watching Lolita porn?

Anyway, the week started on Dubai. The city seemed ok but did not really grab me. The famous Burj al Arab hotel was nice but not jaw-dropping; I'm not sure how iconic a piece of architecture it will be seen as in the future. The major surprise was the Burj Dubai, the new tallest building in the world. It is sleek and elegant, delicate even, like a shard of glass or wood stuck in the desert. Pictures don't really do it justice, but suffice to say it's a much better tallest building than the fairly ugly Taipei 101. My picture below us terrible (taken from a taxi and I couldn't get the right angle when we were closer) but it's the sliver between the trees. Is it talk though. It absolutely dominates the landscape and is easily higher than anything else in the world.

And so to Abu Dhabi. A taxi journey down from Dubai showed me the desert and Gulf coast. Let's just say it was not particularly dramatic. Abu Dhabi then rears out of nowhere on a Manhatten-esque island. Dense with buildings, none are particularly tall but (in contrast to Dubai) at least there is a feeling of design consistency and planning. I didn't really find the soul of the place (more if that in a future post) but spent a pleasant 4 days there and had a bunch if beers. No alocohol ban on the hotels there... On one day I met one of the Sheiks belonging to the ruling family. Did you know that the average wealth of the Abu Dhabi citizen (not resident, an important distinction) is over $17 million?

And so to Saudi. Lovely Saudi Arabia. To be fair, my hotel this time is excellent, and I only have to stay 3 nights... Tonight is BBQ night at the hotel, and tomorrow I work all day then head back home on the night flight.

Gutted to have missed the GP today, which sounded excellent. Hopefully my Sky+ recorded it for me.


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