So... Dubai. You know, every time I think I'm starting to get a handle on this region, something happens and it all gets blown out of the water. Although, given the scale of the stuff going down in Dubai, its hard not to reevaluate a number of things. This city is like living in SimCity 2000. You literally see entire blocks of a city going up at once. And not just neighborhoods. A few years ago, the city decided that it needed a proper downtown. So, they're building a downtown, with about fifty odd skyscrapers going up at once. Then there's the Burj Dubai area. They're calling it the most expensive square kilometer in the Middle East. Luxury condos, the tallest towers in the Middle East. a waterfront community with gondolas, just the most ridiculous stuff that you can think of. This is in addition to the three Palm islands that they're constructing off the coast, the manmade island in the shape of the globe, and the Dubai Pearl, another luxury resort/living community with waterfront properties cut into it. I'm seriously beginning to think that there are a bunch of people sitting around in a room somewhere in Dubai going "Alright, what's the craziest thing you can think, nothing's off the table, don't worry about money, let's just build it." If there was any place on earth that might eventually build a Jetson-like community, it's Dubai. We went to a couple of malls yesterday, and the malls are pretty interesting. They designed an entire mall around the voyages of Ibn Butttuta, the Arab explorer that covered three times as much ground as Marco Polo. The mall consists of six pavillions, each one designed around a different part of his journey; Andalusia, Tunisia, Egypt, Persia, India, and China. Each one had it's own design, and it was like a conglomeration of six Vegas malls all rolled into one. The other mall, the Mall of the Emirates, has an indoor ski area. There's nothing as interesting as watching women in abayas, and men in dishdashas, just learning how to ski, while it's 80 degrees outside. Anyways, American cultural hegemony is on full display in Dubai. It's almost worthless being here, since it's pretty much just like being in New York, but with even worse traffic. While focusing on pretty projects like the Burj al-Arab, the city planners forgot the basic stuff, like a metro. And it's even more expensive, so I'm going out a bit, but not much. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to Muscat, if only for the reason that I'm expecting to hear back about going to Yemen around that time.