Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Date: Lodging: Distance: Total:
01/12/2000 Hyatt Regency 325 KM 111729 KM

Every roadside service station and truck stop in the Gulf countries has its own mosque. Here the sign even mentions the mosque (bottom right).

Segregated beaches for females are common in the Gulf area.

One would never know one is in the desert driving around Abu Dhabi since there are parks, trees and grass everywhere. Note how large these trees are compared to the ones on the highway to Saudi Arabia, which were planted recently (see photo 28 November 2000).

The ruler of UAE started pushing back the desert many years ago with massive irrigation projects. Note the size and density of the trees along the highway in Abu Dhabi.

Sultan Zayed’s new mosque in Abu Dhabi will rival Hassan II’s mosque in Casablanca as the largest outside of Mecca and Medinah.

1 December 2000 – The City of Gold, Dubai, offers a Gold Souk with street after street packed with enthusiastic vendors selling 18 to 24 karat white and yellow gold. Jim and I walked for a couple of hours window-shopping, but didn't even come close to seeing all the shops. Frankly, the vast quantity is overwhelming. Most serious gold buyers would need to review the shops in and near the souk, and return the next day to begin serious bargaining, which is expected here. Pieces are sold by weight, but intricate designs – many made by hand – can put a bracelet or necklace into expensive territory. And for anyone who cannot find something to her taste in this realm of decadence, designs and pieces can be made in a week or less.

Interestingly the gold is not mined in UAE, but the lack of import duties, tax-free shopping and the hundreds of vendors offering competitive rates make Dubai a paradise for gold lovers.