The Arabian New York

The contrast could not have been more extreme. We just left Africa and saw what real poverty is. Now we are in Dubai between an indoor ski slope and a 10-million-gallon aquarium in the middle of the Arabian desert. Including the world’s tallest building, a 7-star hotel and a huge, habitable palm tree in the sea. Obviously, the people of Dubai managed to turn sand into money. Of course, the oil lying under the sand may have helped that this former Bedouin village on a bay of the Persian Gulf grew to the bustling metropolis in only half a century. 

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That means, Dubai is a place, you should have seen once in your life. Therefore, we used our way back from Africa to Germany for a stopover. And is also fit into the budget thanks to CouchSurfing. Also helpful was the very well-developed public transport network, including air-conditioned bus stops. As their is air conditioning everywhere, you just have comfortable 22 °Cin almost all buildings. But when you go outside, your scalp gets burnded at a maximum of 50 °C. Accordingly, we gladly accepted to move around more insides than outsides, like in the Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall, and marveled there at the aquarium with up to 2.5 meters large sharks. Even more exciting was the the evening there, when the water fountain show began in front of the shopping center. Like many things in Dubai, this is also the largest in the world, with its high walls of water up to 150 meters.

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Right next to the Mall you find the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. This skyscraper is nearly 830 meters high and has 163 stories. A breathtaking sight and a testament to what men can do. We did not want to afford the visit of the observation deck, as you would just look at the desert from above.Instead, we made a little loop along the marina and saw many more, but smaller skyscrapers. Lots of them hardly less spectacular than the Burj Khalifa.
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You can find more traditional things in the Dubai Old Town. Some buildings from the times before the oil boom can be admired there. Most however, have been specially built, to give the tourists at least somewhat authentic culture. Original is the old souk (market) on the banks of the Dubai Creek. Nowadays it also has more touristic nature, yet we looked at the gold jewelry and camel hair blankets as well as the wide range of exotic spices.

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At the end of our stay, our host organized a small couch surfer meeting and we went into an open-air cinema on the roof of an Egyptian-themed shopping temple. Then our short visit was already over and we got into the next plane towards London. And unlike most other Dubai visitors the luggage scales at departure showed less weight than on arrival. 

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