Friday, February 16, 2007


I'm hoping to swing another trip to the Gulf soon, this one in late March/early April aimed at Dubai, Ras al-Khaimah, the Musandam Peninsula, and hopefully a bit of Oman proper. The problem with travel in the Gulf, of course, is cost. Needless to say, I won't be staying in in this hotel:
"Well, there is the Burj Al Arab option. The world's first seven-star hotel, in the shape of a giant billowing sail and covered in Teflon, the Burj features in-room marble staircases, an underwater restaurant reachable by submarine, and white Rolls Royce taxi service to the airport. If you book on, you might get a steal at $2,156 for a simple room. Or, you can go for the rack rate of $13,900 for a suite. Either way, you get to keep the Hermès goodie bag. Andre Agassi and Roger Federer played an exhibition match on the hotel's helipad rooftop a couple of years ago. Apparently it was very nice."

It also sounds like Bahrain, with its largest candle and longest letter efforts, isn't the only Gulf state that likes trying for the record books:
"In fact, breaking records is a national pursuit here. Among those contested in Dubai this year were the world's largest gathering of people reading at one time, longest line of footprints, and largest buffet; also the world's biggest wallet, pillow, inflatable balloon, and spoon. Results were not yet in, but Hisham Nammour, owner of the feng shui stall at the Emirates mall was hopeful. 'We always win,' he said over a mug of hot chocolate at the après-ski bar. 'We excel at breaking records.'

"And indeed, last year, Dubai broke the record for the largest gathering of people sharing a name (2,500 Mohammads showed up) – leaving previous record-holder Spain (375 Marias) in the dust. Also Dubai put together the largest display of rice dumplings: 23,000 – trouncing dumpling doyen Singapore (13,192 in 1992). And, let's not forget to mention the 'Burj Dubai (u/c)' which aims to be the tallest skyscraper in the world. They had a little celebration here last month when the building hit the 100-floor mark – 67 more are apparently on the way."


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