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27.04.2011, 20:00   ---   From poverty to luxury

When one can’t wait to finally arrive it usually takes forever… Gisela (my aunt), Mareike and Jenny (my cousins) and Björn (Mareike’s boyfriend) had come from home to celebrate my birthday with me and were awaiting me already – I was so happy to see them!!! But not enough: 10 minutes later there was also Nadine all of a sudden, one of my best friends. A great surprise and I still can’t believe that they managed the whole time not to tell me about it by accident! ;-)
For one week we explored Dubai together and this city is hard to describe with words… huge, bombastic and incredible might be best suitable. Only 50 years ago Dubai was still a small fishing town at the edge of the desert, then they found oil and with the new wealth came the desire for incredible constructions. On the first day we were about to explore the city on foot and some hours later we had to admit that we didn’t get all that far on the map. Obviously we had underestimated the city’s size a lot! But since fuel is dirt cheap in this oil state, taxis are very affordable as well and from that moment we took a ride wherever we wanted to go. Huge skyscrapers rise from the ground like weeds, the biggest and most luxury cars are cruising around, everything’s extremely clean, the entire city is extensively planted (1 Mrd. litres of water daily are needed only for its watering), there are loads of shopping malls and money seemingly just doesn’t matter. That’s absolutely jaw-dropping and especially in contrast to the poverty in Africa simply incredible. We went to the Dubai Mall, the world’s biggest shopping centre, right next to Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building (828m). There we took the world’s fastest elevator (more than 120 km/h, 18 levels per second) to the world’s highest observation platform (452m)… :-D
The view from Burj Khalifa was stunning, all the other huge skyscrapers look like small toys from up there and we could even roughly see “The Palm” and “The World” (two artificial archipelagos with the shapes of a palm and the world map). Unfortunately it was a little bit overcast, otherwise the view would’ve been even much better.
Dubai Mall is not only a shopping centre of course, but an entire experience! Extensive decorations, a big waterfall, an ice rink, a huge aquarium right in the middle and outside an extensive artificial pond with the awe-inspiring “dancing fountain”.
On my birthday we chartered a private chauffeur to Abu Dhabi , he took us to all the sights and we only had to give him a ring to be picked up straight-away. :-) We visited the world’s third largest mosque (after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia ) and it looked just like a palace from 1001 nights. The capital of the Emirates is also huge and beautiful, but definitely can’t keep up with Dubai . And to celebrate my 25th birthday with German traditions (back home your considered and “old box” at the age of 25, so everything gets decorated with old boxes) Gisela & Co even left some valuable space in their suitcases for a “Schachtelkranz” (a necklace of boxes) and alcohol. ;-)
Moreover the Burj al Arab (the world’s only 7-star hotel) was not to be missed, we spent one day under palm trees by the beach and last but not least went on a 4WD-Safari to the desert. Without any hesitation we ordered a fast driver and that was exactly what we got! :-D He cruised across the dunes with us and it was better than any rollercoaster!! At night we had some sort of cultural programme with Arabian food, belly dancing, henna and lots of camels and then our holidays in Dubai were already over.


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