Thursday, March 24, 2016
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
The last stop on the trip is Dubai, a logical choice since we are flying royal emirates, and in our early research we should also arrive in the windy season. But windy season here means you can fly your 18m2 foil kite as we soon discover. And when the wind is strong it is coming from the desert, creating a hazy fog of sand in the air, plus it is offshore. But on the first two days we do have enough wind to fly the 11m & 14m, although nothing spectacular. What is spectacular is the back drop as seen from the water: plenty of high-rise buildings in the middle of the desert, with iconic buildings like the Burj Al Arab (the building that looks like a sail boat) and the (currently) highest tower in the world, the Burj Khalifa. We drive daily in our small Chevrolet Spark to the beach, in between all the supercars left and right, to check the conditions. It is a very relaxed atmosphere on the small kite beach, it is mainly expats that are kiting here and the community is helpful and cozy. One of the remarks of a kiter sticks: Dubai is better to live in then to visit as a tourist. First of all it is super safe: kiters leave there phone and wallet on the beach when kiting. Everybody seams to be rich here in Dubai, so why steal, and maybe it is also because the chop of your hands. The infrastructure is excellent, the streets are clean, there are plenty of well-paid jobs, and the wintertime is nicely moderate. But I don't see myself here in summertime, jumping from airco-car to airco-office to airco-mall.

Anyhow, we do have a pretty nice time in Dubai. We of course visit the Burj Khalifa, the next door Dubai Mall (also the biggest in the world), the Dubai Marina with its long boulevard along the sea, the historical city center Deira with a few small remains of the trade city it used to be, like a (resurrected) fort. And the many souks: spice, gold, and a lot of fake handbags on offer. We have a tour of the Jumeirah Mosque, the only one open to non-muslims and for the remaining part just explore different areas in our tiny little vacuum cleaner.
To be honest, Dubai is a bit of a weird place. The good part is that the rulers/sheiks of Dubai also did something useful with the oil-dollars pouring in since the 80-ties, knowing it will end at some point finish. The somewhat crumbling trade city was turned into a financial-, trade- and transport hub of the region. They invested a lot in infrastructure and created with tremendous ambition and speed complete islands with villa's and hotels. And thereby creating a whole new industry, tourism. But what do you do in the middle of the desert. Everything here is created for entertainment, a lot similar like Las Vegas. Ski Dubai, an indoor skiing track, a wild water park, marina's, aquariums, 4WD tracks, and a lot of malls. Even the workers are imported from all over the world, in all the service jobs we only saw foreigners from Philippines, Vietnam, Morocco, Kenya, you name it. In the end it is all about consumption and it leaves a bit of a bad after taste.