UAE
ADB 02 - 25 - 2010

So far, Dubai and Abu Dhabi seem somewhat extravagant, almost like Milan, only a Middle-Eastern version. The mall by our hotel is ridiculously three floors, spanning in multiple directions, full of expensive, name-brand stores. Many of the stores and restaurants are American. I never dreamed that I would encounter a Chili's restaurant halfway around the world. Yet, there were actually many of my favorite stores at the mall - H&M, Forever21, Subway - and it was larger than several malls in Indiana, comparable perhaps to those found in or nearby Chicago. And, this one isn't even the largest mall in Dubai! From the itinerary today, we saw a modern mosque, which was equally, if not more, extravagant. On one half, A large courtyard in the pure white complex was surrounded by an arcade of double columns with Islamic, horseshoe arches, topped with domes and marked by four tall towers at the corners. On the other, the focal prayer hall was topped with several domes, the largest in the center, standing at a grand, attention-grabbing scale. The clean white of the structure was highlighted with a touch of gold and stood out majestically from the black dress of all the women. Yes, I was required to slip on a black cloak and head covering, given to me before entering. It was not flattering... for me anyway, but for the building, it worked wonders. We also went to an exhibit, showing future architecture projects along the waterfront. I thought it was odd, though, since a majority of buildings are still under construction or have halted construction. It is hard to take a decent picture of the skyline with cranes dominating the view. Although, it turned into a fun game to see how many we could find. Another negative aspect of the city is the lack of pedestrian accessibility. To get anywhere, a vehicle is needed. It was difficult for me to walk to the mall which was across the street from our hotel. I hope this isn't a sign that pedestrian movement is becoming obsolete. Did they forget about the concept of walkability??

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