Figureheads of the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are the epitome of ostentatious modernism in the heart of the desert. The artificial island of Palm Jumeirah at Dubai, the Abu Dhabi Louvre in the Emirate capital and the spectacular skyscrapers that seem to climb ever higher skywards bear witness to unbridled architectural imagination. This disregard for moderation is as blatant in the theme parks and the endless shopping malls, as it is in the horseraces, displays of falconry or the Formula One competitions. Yet the Emirates, located in the Persian Gulf between Saudi Arabia and Oman, has much more than first meets the eye. There are five other Emirates, whose development is less extravagant and whose traditions and culture are still strong. Pay a visit to the historic neighbourhood of Sharjah, taste the old-fashioned ambience of Umm al-Qaiwain and admire the still unspoiled landscapes of Ras al-Khaima. However, whatever you do, do not miss the chance to experience the unforgettable immensity and silence of a stay in the desert, in the company of a guide, of course!
Al Lisaili, in the desert of Dubai, is a camel racing mecca. The village surrounding the Al Marmoum Camel Race Track is home to camel farms owned by impassioned businessmen. One of them, Rashid Al Mansouri, invited us to visit his champions’ stables.
A star on the international scene, Dubai has left behind many remnants of its past. Still, its mercantile multiculturalism reveals the human diversity of an Emirate that is now one of the hubs of the Arab world. A world apart from the luxury hotels and insolent architecture of its triumphant economy.