Tuesday, December 04, 2007

UAE National Day wrap

The two Gulf News photos above weren't available yesterday, which is logical due to the fact that I was posting exactly at the moment the band and camels passed my window.

Also (of interest perhaps to nobody other than myself) the Gulf News photographer must have been stationed exactly opposite my window! Nice to be able to see better the bagpipes used by the band; they are, indeed, the Scottish version and thus a relic of colonial administration rather than a re-discovery of one of the original musical instruments of ancient Araby.

From the ancient to the modern. I'm happy to have in the background a view of one of the very few tower blocks in Abu Dhabi (on the left) which, in my opinion, has true architectural merit. I think it is occupied by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the deep pocketed entities getting increasing world wide attention.

When I arrived in the Sandlands five years ago I had to explain what Dubai was to friends and colleagues I'd left behind in Europe, although some were aware of the Burj Al Arab hotel (opened in 1999, which was when it first appeared on my own radar, the result of a story telling how, when the air conditioning was first switched on it rained inside the high atrium as the humid air cooled and became precipitation). Then, after the Dubai Ports hoo-hah in the United States, Dubai suddenly no longer need explanation.

The announcement of the Formula One coming to Abu Dhabi had the 'Burj Al Arab' effect for the nation's capital earlier in the year. But now the CitiGroup investment ensures a global high profile.Has the UAE currency ever before been cited by a cartoonist (as below, in The Times last week)?

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