"Everything is made of ice: the walls, tables and chairs; cups, glasses and plates; the art on the wall, the sculptures depicting Dubai's skyline, the beaded curtains, the 7-foot-chandelier and the bar...
"The $17 cover charge gets you one drink and the rental of a hooded parka, woolen gloves and insulated shoes. Customers don them outside, then spend a few minutes in the Buffer Zone, a room set at 41 degrees to adjust before entering the restaurant.
"Sami al-Muhaideb, a 25-year-old Saudi travel agent, warned his friend Yousef Badr going in to expect a blast of cold air, like a freezer. Thirty minutes later, Badr emerged shivering, with a red nose.
"While the new, $3 million hangout, which opened in a Dubai mall in June, is expected to become a must-see tourist destination, it also is expected to raise questions about already high energy consumption in this desert land...
"The average person in the Emirates puts more demand on the global ecosystem than any other in the world, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
"Energy consumption in the Emirates runs high for many reasons, particularly because of the air conditioning that cools houses, malls, cars and public places not only during the furnace-hot summers but in the warm winters.
"Making matters worse are Dubai's audacious developments. The emirate has transformed itself into a financial and tourism center, building up its name with dramatic projects — the world's tallest skyscraper, island resorts in the shape of palm trees and maps of the world, even an indoor ski slope that still creates snow amid the inferno of summer."
Labels: United Arab Emirates