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.
Coming from Silicon Valley, I’ve always been of the mindset that America is ahead of the curve with both the creation and use of technology applications. My assumption may or may not be correct, but I can say with certainty that I’ve been very impressed with several of the applications I’ve had the opportunity to utilize during my time in Asia. In addition to the availability of advanced applications, the usage and broad range of capabilities have greatly improved my time traveling. I’ve been able to book trips, hotels, transport on the go in even the remotest of locations.
Trip and travel booking in general can be both cumbersome and difficult when utilizing the more traditional methods. Waiting to hear back from agents via phone and even email can be frustrating at times – especially when policies dictate a 24 hour turn around time. Sometimes when you are planning on the fly, you need to make things happen quickly and may not have access to the traditional phone system.
In comes Viber, a leading communication app that allows you to call or text in app any other Viber user at no cost.
The App Store boasts so many chat applications, I often wonder what the differentiating factors are. Why so many apps for the same purpose, isn’t that segment of the market already flooded? How can they be successful?
I didn’t ever determine the answers to my questions until now.
While David and I travel across the less traveled roads in China, English speakers are pretty much non-existent. We’ve made do with charades and the use of sounds (moo – to ask if something is beef or baaaa – to ask if something is sheep, etc.). Some things however are not as easy to communicate (no picture readily available or gesture to reference) and in those cases, we’ve found our greatest allies to be two of these communications applications: Wechat and Waygo.
Branding is a beautiful thing. I’m not just saying that because I was a marketing director for the vast majority of my career, but because you can simply show the Wechat icon here to nearly any Chinese local and they understand the meaning. Wechat is a brilliant application and has been a lifesaver for us on more than one occasion.
How does it work and why is it different?