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A trip to Dubai – A trip into the future

Dubai is an urban metropolis which sits on the southern shore of the Persian Gulf and is was built out of an unchained imagination, without the barriers of usual thinking and limited finances. Dubai is the second largest emirate of the United Arab Emirates and also the biggest city in the country – that’s right; Dubai is both a city and an emirate.

Although there are many traces of human habitation and settlements in the city, which are centuries old, the official founding of Dubai took place in the 19th century, the city continues to change every day, almost like it is still being built today, unlike any other place on Earth. Unlike the other emirates and its constant rival within UAE, Abu Dhabi, this global metropolis has a more Western approach to politics and economics – contrary to what would fly in most Arab nations, more than 30% of the upper level government officials are women. One reason which makes it one of the most open and developed places in the Middle East. Billions of dollars were and are still being spent on building and development in Dubai.

Dubai is a constitutional monarchy, there are no elections and the Al Maktoum family has run it ever since its modern beginnings almost two hundred years ago. The members of the family occupy the most important functions in the state and the emir ruler of Dubai is also the prime minister of UAE. One of the most unbelievable features of the emirate of Dubai is that only 10-15% of the inhabitants are actual nationals, the rest being made up by expats, a grand part of them being foreign workers involved in the many projects sprawling everywhere. Building the city of Dubai is a constant fact, each new project being more impressive and imaginative than the previous. This innovation and lack of boundaries is thanks to a no-limit spending mentality, mostly fed by money that was earned from oil. Now Dubai is depending on tourism and other industries to keep fueling its thriving economy.

With so many foreigners working and living in Dubai, it has become a very international city. Travelers can find some traces of the old Dubai and the authentic Arab heritage, but you’ll have to search for it. Dubai has become world famous for its awe-inspiring skyline, filled by majestic and spectacular buildings, many of them breaching the limits of human limits, with several that were developed exceptionally big or tall, breaking records. One example of the grand scale of things that Dubai is harboring include the Burj Khalifa tower, the biggest building in the world at over 800 meters, without any contenders at this dreadful height, the Burj al-Arab hotel, promoting itself as the only 7 stars hotel in the world, the Palm Islands that appeared in the middle of the ocean, the Dubai Fountain and so many other wonders. It is like Dubai is challenging the entire world and trying to be the best at everything, becoming sort of a dream city, a futuristic tourist destination, almost entirely built in the last few decades, from nothing. Although it is the pinnacle of luxury and high-end tourism, travelers can also find an overwhelming amount of interesting things to see and do in Dubai, including part of the old city that show how life used to be in this modern oasis.

Dubai is a wonderful and inspiring place to visit, even for people who are not impressed by the sky breaching engineering marvels that spring out like mushrooms. Dubai is a testament to the power of the will of mankind, transformed from a city in the desert, to one of the biggest and fastest growing hubs of the world, filled with people from around the world and challenging the boundaries of understanding.

 

Dubai – A trip into the future.

Adventure, Art, Culture

Koyasan Temple Stay – Rengejoin

The day started off in a panic, we woke up at 7:20am, when we were supposed to be out of the hotel by 7. Danielle and I were ready and out by 7:40, we stopped downstairs to check out, and made coffee as I took a picture of the directions to the airport. It was going to be a long day of travel.

We got on the train, by 8, but didn’t get to the transfer in time to catch the 8:03am train… So we had to wait for the 8:30am. It was a rough start to the day. By the time we got to the airport we were 3 minutes late to check into our flight, they told us our bags wouldn’t make it on the plane with us, and they’d have to change our flight. The fee for that was $52.

We made our new flight, but when we got to Osaka, we knew we were quite a bit behind schedule. The plane didn’t make it as quickly as it should have, and we quickly figured out we’d need to catch a train, to make another transfer. After 6 different modes of transportation (bus, subway, car, train, plane, and tram) we end up in Koyasan. The last mode was a tram up the mountain, which picks you up right where the train drops you off.  It doesn’t seem like more than 1000 people live in Koya (Mount Koya), but, as we discovered, there are over 30 temples located within the small town. We finally get to the information office and they tell us all but 2 of the temples are booked for the night – and that dinner time is upon us (which means we would miss eating if we didn’t get to a temple soon).

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