Recent trip to Dubai

I just got back from Dubai.  My initial reaction was that it looked very much like a larger scale Las Vegas.  There are a tremendous amount of new buildings that have been built.  There are even MORE new buildings being built (apparently, I heard that by next year, there will be 40% more building/capacity or another 10,500 rooms). 

I also went to neighboring Abu Dhabi as well and its easy to see many differences even though they are part of the same UAE.

Some comments, the city of Abu Dhabi “feels” more mature.  It is greener, but if I had to think what made it more “mature”, it was the age of the trees.  The trees were obviously older and larger.  It was interesting to see how it made the city feel different.

Coming back to Dubai, the city looks like it is trying very hard to become modern.  Therefore, the architecture has no consistency and the buildings all look like they are trying to out do each other in terms of grandeur and shock value.

Unfortunately, I could not climb the worlds tallest building (at least of this writing) Burj Dubai (aka Burj Khalifa) because of some electrical/mechanical failure in the elevator system.  This happened a month ago and would have hoped it would have been fixed by now.  Unfortunately, no go.  I also couldn’t go to the new Giorgio Armani hotel housed in the skyscraper.  Apparently, it has 160 guest rooms, 144 private residences and 8 restaurants.

The mall next to Burj Dubai called the “Mall of Dubai” (also where you enter to take the elevator to the top of Burj Dubai) is HUGE.  Since it probably just opened, about 1/4 of the shops were empty or under construction.

In fact, the whole city of Dubai seems to be “under construction” and all the tourist guides/books label various attractions “under construction” when some of them have clearly been abandoned.

Anyway, I have several hundred random pictures that I took of Dubai here.  Sorry for too many pictures of the Burj Dubai as it was REALLY difficult to get the whole building in one frame.  I was even using a 35mm lens on my Leica from several blocks away and still failed.

By the way, here is a great 45-gigapixel panorama (not by me) of Dubai. http://gigapan.org/gigapans/48492/

Your comments are always welcome.

William Saito
Special Advisor at Cabinet Office (Govt. of Japan)
Named by Nikkei as one of the “100 Most Influential People for Japan,” Saito began software programming in elementary school and started his own company while still in high school and was named Entrepreneur of the Year in 1998 (by Ernst & Young, NASDAQ and USA Today). As one of the world’s leading authorities on cybersecurity.

After selling his business to Microsoft, he moved to Tokyo in 2005 and founded InTecur, a venture capital firm. In 2011, he served as the Chief Technology Officer of the National Diet’s (Parliament) Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. Later that year, he was named as both a Young Global Leader and Global Agenda Council member for World Economic Forum (WEF) and subsequently been named to its Foundation Board. In 2012, Saito was appointed to a council on national strategy and policy that reported directly to the Prime Minister of Japan.

Saito also advises several national governments around the globe. In Japan, he has served as an advisor to Japanese ministries; the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST); the Information Technology Promotion Agency (IPAS); the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, among others. He is currently the Special Advisor to the Ministry of Economic Trade and Industry (METI) and the Cabinet Office for the Government of Japan.

He went to medical school at UCLA and Harvard Kennedy School; serves on various boards of Global 2000 companies; frequently appears as a commentator on TV and is the author of seven books in addition to writing several weekly newspaper columns. His management book, The Team: Solving the Biggest Problem in Japan, was published by Nikkei BP and became a best-seller in 2012. In 2016, Saito received the Medal of Honor from the Government of Japan for his work in the field of education.

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