We ended up with layovers in the United Arab Emirates on our way to and from Jordan. Considering we only spent about 24 hours total in the country, and the first visit was pretty much spent sleeping, the UAE would hardly warrant its own post. Except our second visit – the one we spent awake during a long 12 hour layover – gave us a brief introduction to the over-the-top excess that the UAE is famous for.
We inquired at the tourist office to see what they suggested we see during our 12 hour layover. The woman behind the desk said, why, go to the Dubai Mall, of course. It is what everyone does!
She was right. The mall was packed. And quite a sight. Picture every upscale and luxury brand in the United States and Europe, and put them in the same mall with air conditioning blasting to make you forget you are in the steaming desert. Add a bunch of men and women in traditional Muslim garb shopping for said luxury brands. Throw in all of the restaurant chains you can think of. Don’t forget a giant aquarium, the grandest music-and-light show possible, and an ice rink in the center of it all. And, naturally, the world’s current tallest building built specifically with extra tallness thrown on top just because they could.
Fun, no doubt, but the most conspicuous display of spending money just to spend money I’ve ever seen.