Dubai is the ultimate size queen’s dream.  Cranes abound and concrete is everywhere.  The new 2300-ft high Burj Dubai skyscraper (not to be confused with the Burj Al Arab – Dubai’s landmark 6-, no make that 7-star (or is it now 8?) hotel) was slated to be the tallest in the world, until the Saudis recently announced a new project Tower on the Red Sea near Jeddah (which will purportedly be over a mile high).

Land reclamation is plentiful – witness the new Aladdin, Palm Island and “The World” developments.  The World is a man-made archipelago of 300 islands constructed in the shape of a world map and located 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) off the coast of Dubai.

Highlights of our trip in early May included:

a fascinating tour of Dubai’s history (oil was discovered in the early 1960s and the city went from a small Bedouin encampment on the creek to a bold and brash metropolis in no time flat) that included Dubai’s Museum, its varied gold and spice souks and a fascinating lecture by an Islamic scholar in a mosque.

Skiing in a shopping mall for those so-inclined

a fabulous desert safari – quite the rollercoaster ride in 4WD jeeps, a
champagne-and-strawberries stop in the middle of the desert, a few
chance encounters with blooming desert flowers and a camel or two.

a cocktail party in the Burj al Arab – which was heaven to some and
Versace run amok to others, but on all accounts “over the top”

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