Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dubai!

This is our third visit to Dubai. The first was about ten years ago when about a quarter of all the cranes in the world were located here. Thousands of workers crawled all over rising skyscrapers like ants and the desert was literally blooming with creative new architecture.

Our second visit was about three years ago. Many cranes were still there but they had stopped. Immigrant workers were living, 40 in a room, waiting for the cranes to start again. Interestingly we were told that 20% of the population living in Dubai are the people in business, architects and education and 80% are the worker bees who are the builders ,fixers and domestic helpers.

Now, though there are still cranes in sight, much of the work is finished! The crazily creative buildings are monuments to man’s resilience and ingenuity!  The following is just a tiny fraction of what we saw. The buildings are truly incredible. I didn’t see one “ordinary” building in the entire bunch!

Snapping pictures as we flew along the highway with buildings forming a canyon, we were amazed at what we saw. Starting with the Birj Khalifah (translation: tower of the sultan of Abu Dhabi who funded the completion of this tallest building in the world), look how it towers over the skyscrapers around it!

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Our new friends Rob and Cindy Bateman who kindly offered to let us stay with them took us on a boat ride down “The Creek” and here’s a little of what we saw:

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They like their crown prince:

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Nice Yacht! How do you suppose they get those two speed boats off of there and in the water?

What fun we had with all our new friends. Thanks to Candy we got to see “The Palm”, known as the eight wonder of the world. It is a truly incredible housing development created on reclaimed land in the middle of the sea. It is beyond belief!

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At the top of “The Palm” is a giant hotel which is the re-creation of Atlantis.

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When you’re on the road (the frond) to Atlantis, you can’t tell it’s reclaimed land. It just looks like another highway. Amazing!

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Rob and Candy also introduced us to their home which is the amazing The American University at Sharjah.  We were equally amazing as they showed us around their amazing “stomping grounds”!  Among other things, Rob is the head of the Executive Training Program at the Business school at this prestigious University, and has been a professor there for 7 years.

The campus has about 5000 students and is about 5 times bigger than the BYU or U of U campus.

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Here is Rob’s beautiful new office area:

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As well as a fun new sign in their gorgeous new library with three story dome to die for!

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The Batemans were so kind to feed us, show us anything we wished to see and Candy even took us to a wonderful Indian imports store, which was a mistake….new lanterns and a great antique camel saddle are on their way to our house as we speak! These are not the lanterns but this is the unique shop. 

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They showed us beautiful beaches, plentiful oil wells, gorgeous mosques and spectacular sunsets.

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But one of the most fun parts….meeting members of the church at a meeting set up by Rob who was also the Stake President of our church in the area. What fun it was to see so many lovely friends and families who were expats from all over the world:

Shawni this was Mrs. Florida from the American Mothers convention in DC. She was helping her daughter and husband move from Abu Dhabi to Dubai. Small world!

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Best of all…our co-grandparent Scott Monson was there!  We delivered a little bag of Halloween candy from our co-grandchildren whom we had just left in CA! What fun to see him. He has been living there for about a year!

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And the “ice cream on the cake”….Cold Stone! A mall has just opened up by the Batemans and we had so much fun talking with fellow professors at the University after the event.

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The woman on the right was a serene doula who had just delivered a baby that morning! Every person we met was so interesting and doing such amazing things. What a world!!!