Monday, January 26, 2009

Random Dubai Tidbits

Dubai is the fastest-growing city in the world in terms of construction - a fourth of the world's cranes are located in Dubai.

Camel Racing is an (extremely awesome) past-time of the people who live there. Each camel costs millions and millions of dollars. They're raced by short Arabian men, obviously. Recently, however, the practice of abducting Asian children (prized for their short stature and light weight) and forcing them to become camel jockeys was prevalent. The UAE government just outlawed that practice about 5 years ago. Interesting fact: they only race camels in the UAE on Thursdays and Fridays, and only during the colder months of the year, out of respect for the animals' health.

All the vegetation in Dubai is imported - every single palm tree in the city needs to be watered and maintained, which costs about $5000 a year. Per tree.

There is a 0% income tax rate for residents of the UAE (things that would be paid for with public taxes, like creating/ maintenance of infrastructure and salaries of public workers, are provided by the Sheik. I'm not sure how that works). There are even more benefits for citizens, but it's very hard, almost impossible, to become a citizen unless you are born on UAE soil.

"Burj" means tower in Arabic. There are two famous towers in Dubai.

One famous tower is the Burj al Arab, which is a (self-proclaimed) 7-star hotel. It costs $3000 a night to stay there, and every room is a huge suite. The doors to each room are 20 feet high. You have to pay $100 per person just to get on the grounds to walk and look around at everything!

The other famous tower is the Burj Dubai, which was commissioned by the Sheik to be the tallest man-made structure in the world. The exact height of the building is being kept a secret, so that other buildings (whose owners want them to be the tallest) can't start being built until the Burj Dubai is finished. Right now it is 2,684 ft (about half a mile) tall.

UAE residents and citizens really like the term "unseemly flesh". And so do I.

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