World Travels: United Arab Emirates
Our next stop is the United Arab Emirate which until about a century ago was just an impoverished Bedouin backwater and Dubai and Abu Dhabi were quiet little villages on the water’s edge. Now the UAE is a mixture of Arabian tradition and race-for-the-future innovation.
Fortunately for the UAE, they discovered oil in 1958 in Abu Dhabi and now they have the third-largest oil reserves in the world. Because of this the UAE has been built up to a true desert oasis ranging from tours of the desert on camel back to the buildings in Dubai that will make your head spin.
The UAE is located in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asian on the Persian Gulf. It borders Oman and Saudi Arabia and it shares sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran. The capital of the UAE is Abu Dhabi and that is also the center of political, industrial, and cultural activities.
Abu Dhabi is one of the richest cities on earth and it has one of the most extravagant modern skylines you’ll ever see. Other things to do here include checking out the early-morning camel races, diving and snorkeling at world-class sites off Badiyah, eating khuzi (a stuffed whole roast lamb) and Umm Ali (a pudding with raisins and nuts), as well as drinking the mint tea that they call shay na’ana and dark muddy coffee called qahwa.
The United Arab Emirates is home to the Emirates Palace Hotel which is the only 6 star hotel on the planet. It is also the second most expensive hotel ever built (it was only surpassed by the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore). Check out the picture of it below:
Islam is the official religion of the United Arab Emirates and Arabic is the official language as well. The population in 2010 was estimated at over 8 million people and the amazing thing is that fewer than 20% of them are actually UAE nationals. 23% of the population are non-UAE Arabs and Iranians. The rest are ex patriots with over 50% of them coming from India. (Source Wikipedia)
If you’d like to get a little flavor of the music from the UAE check out the music of Ahlam who is considered to be the UAE’s ‘first lady of song’ .
Check back with me next week when we move on to our next stop which is Qatar.