31 Mar 2014
Visit to UAE.
Our group of 30 left Douala on March 10thwith Kenya Airways at about 1pm. We took roughly four hours to cover the 3035 kms to Nairobi. Another connecting flight then took us from Nairobi, flew over the horn of Africa, Yemen and Saudi Arabia before landing at the Dubai International airport. This last leg of the journey took us 4hours, 45 minutes to cover the 3700kms from Nairobi to Dubai. The massive Dubai International Airport is one of the busiest in the world. This has not still quenched the taste of the government of Dubai as she has embarked on building a much larger airport. The Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central (DWC) which was partially opened to flights in 2013, is projected to become the world’s largest airport with a capacity of 160 million passengers and 12 million tonnes of cargo per year.
Explaining the future development plans of Abu Dhabi. Visiting an ancient palace
The UAE is a federation of seven independent mostly city states and the most prominent of them being Abu Dhabi (also the federal capital) and Dubai (the largest city). The UAE had independence from Britain in 1971. Abu Dhabi is the wealthiest. Economic and social development and transformation has been taking place in the UAE at a breathtaking pace. Helped by visionary leaders these people have been able to use their oil wealth to catapult their economy and their people’s lifestyles from nowhere to the cutting age of development.
During our 9 days stay, we visited touristic sites in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. A smaller group of us had to use the services of an helicopter to view such of Dubai’s iconic landmarks like the palm islands, the world island, the Atlantis, Burj al Arab and burj Khalifa from the air.
With my elder sister at Burj Al Arab
Even though the UAE is basically arid desert, the government has made enormous investment to ensure the availability of water to her citizens. Part of the water is tapped from aquifers and the rest is obtained from desalination plants that convert sea water through evaporation into portable water. Elaborate water bearing tubes are laid to water lawn, flower beds and other plants that grow there.
UAE natives (called Emiratis) are Arabs. More than 80%% of those resident in the UAE are non natives mostly from Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Arabic is official language and English is widely spoken. Islam is the official religion (about 80% Sunni) but the constitution guarantees freedom of worship.
Citizens pay no taxes but instead receive welfare support including free health. Emiratis boasts one of the highest standards of living in the world with life expectancy at birth being 76 years.
This is one country in the world which is not only contented with doing things right but is somehow obsessed with being number one. The United Arab Emirates and Dubai in particular can be likened to a fairy tale. They dream about projects and transform their dreams into reality regardless of the challenges. They have built peculiarly shaped man made Islands, tallest building in the world, fully automated (with pilotless train) longest flyover metro system, biggest mall in the world, best fountain system and dozens of other mega projects.
Miracle garden: One of the most beautiful places for nature lovers to visit.
The UAE is a place to get practical lessons in extravagance, luxury and opulence. One experience we had as a group was having dinner at the Palm Atlantis Hotel situated at the tip of the man- made Island of Palm Jumeirah. This hotel complex has 1539 suites including underwater suites that are separated from aquarium with transparent glass. See palm Atlantis at this link The Palm Atlantis
Many Africans come to Dubai to purchase goods for sale. It is my wish that they take advantage of their stay in this place to study the other sides of Dubai and try to envision how they can export certain aspects of her positive lessons to their respective countries.
Other Links of Interest
Metro train in Dubai https://www.google.com/images?q=metro+train+in+dubai&hl=en&biw=&bih=&gbv=2&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ei=_E8sU-G-JYe0ywOUn4KwCw&ved=0CC0QsAQ
The story of Palm Jumeirah (video documentary)
The Dubai Mall (video documentary)
The World’s tallest building (video documentary)
The World Island (video documentary)
Our trip to UAE was coordinated by Ubipharm Cameroun.
Njei Moses Timah